The Elephant in the Room: Who Really Owns Android

Elephant in the Room
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Google’s Android operating system is the most popular in the world, powering more than one billion devices. But who really owns Android? This question has been hotly debated for years, and it seems like no one can come to a clear answer. Many people believe that Google is behind Android because they provide many of the services on top of it (such as Gmail). Others claim that companies such as Samsung are able to modify certain aspects of Android without penalty from Google. In this blog post we’ll discuss who really controls what you see when you sign into your phone or tablet!

So who really owns Android? Google, Samsung, or the user themselves?”

Hopefully this blog post is helpful. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @BrianTamanaha!

The Elephant in the Room: Who Really Owns Android [post] By Brian Tamanaha (last updated December 29th 2015)  Adam and Eve created Apple’s iOS; it was a paradise until they were kicked out of Eden by their jealous son Lucifer. Of course that never happened but one thing remains true – there are many layers between an app developer and end-user with each layer demanding a cut. In today’s world where apps can make money without actually selling anything, developers should be weary of who they sign with.

So who really owns Android?Google, Samsung, or the user themselves?”

The “ownership” of an operating system is a complicated beast because there are many layers between end-user and developer. This blog post will explore some of these issues specifically as it pertains to Google’s Android platform in particular – but it can also apply to other platforms like iOS! In this post we’ll cover:  The various players that might lay claim to your phone OS;  How each party benefits from having users on their respective ecosystems; and finally, how you should feel about being part of such agreements if you’re a developer looking for success (or a user who wants to keep some semblance of privacy).

Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system and has been for several years. It claims a whopping 78% share of global sales in 2016, with iOS at 17%. While both Android and Apple provide solid choices for developers, there are a few key differences between these two platforms that could make or break your app success depending on what you’re looking to do.

For sake of clarity we’ll use “Google” as shorthand term when discussing Google-owned Android here – mainly because Samsung (who produces nearly half of all smartphones worldwide) also uses this platform! But it should be noted that there are plenty other players vying for control over this valuable market – with Apple, Microsoft and Huawei being the three biggest challengers.

Let’s take a closer look at who owns android.

Android: 88% of phones in use today (2016) run on Android software – making it by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide with iOS coming in second place at 17%. Google is currently responsible for both designing and developing Android as well as providing updates to its partners such as Samsung or Sony when an update becomes available. One advantage here is that they will always be first to market with new features like multi-window mode which recently rolled out this year but not yet on other platforms.

However, some developers may prefer working exclusively with one platform because if you’re building a mobile app, it’s easier to get users if you’re developing for iOS or Android exclusively rather than building on both platforms.

Apple: Apple inc designs and develops its own operating system called iOS which powers iPhones as well as iPads. This means that they have full control over the software design and features of their products – but this also makes them less flexible in terms of who can use their phones (they are locked down). You need an iPhone developer account with Apple to build apps for iOS so unless you meet these requirements then any potential customers will be limited to those who purchase from the App Store.

Microsoft: Microsoft has a different approach by making Windows Phone available at no cost for phone manufacturers allowing anyone license the software and use it on their devices. This means they are more flexible with who can create apps for Windows Phone, but limits what software features the customer will have available to them because if a company doesn’t license the operating system then there won’t be any access to things like Cortana or Office 365 etc.

Google: Google is in an interesting position as they don’t own either Android or iOS so rely heavily on phone manufacturers signing up to distribute Apps through Google Play Store which allows customers access to all of these third party applications without restriction – this also makes it easy for developers as you don’t need an account with Google’s developer team and just submit your app into the store (no approval process). However, by not owning OSs Google are not able to control how much data is taken up by the software and there have been a few occasions where Google Play Store has had some major bugs which could potentially give an attacker access to private information such as contacts, emails etc.

 

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By Ethan Devid

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