Google has typically offered just one device manufacturer the latest version of Android each time it announces an update to the operating system. The company first teamed with HTC for the G1 and the Nexus and then employed Samsung for its Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus products. That’s all about to change, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
Google will work with multiple phone manufacturers and will provide each of them with the latest operating system; the next version, Android Jelly Bean, is expected in the third quarter of this year. Google’s change of heart is a good step towards eliminating Android fragmentation: If more manufacturers have the latest build early enough they will be able to produce and sell a larger number of handsets with the newest operating system. Consumers currently need to wait for phone makers to issue an update, which can often be delayed by carriers. Google’s is also reportedly making the push to help tablet makers better compete with Apple’s iPad, but that’s not the only reason.
The company’s change of path is also effort to ensure phone makers that Motorola Mobility, which it is in the process of acquiring for $12.5 billion, will not have a leg up as the only phone and tablet maker to gain early access to new Android builds. Google is already selling the Galaxy Nexus directly through its website, a practice it stopped doing after the Nexus made its debut, and will reportedly sell its next batch of devices directly, too.
[via The Wall Street Journal]