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Google's Android: Is this what "fragmentation" means?

04.09.2008
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I missed this news from CTIA the other day, but The Register reported that Sanjay Jha, COO of Qualcomm's chipset division, had strong words about Google's open source Android platform. According to Jha, Google's Android is designed to drive fragmentation and ensure that there's no equivalent of Microsoft Office in the mobile phone world.

OMG, Sanjay, what will we do without the equivalent of Microsoft Office in the mobile phone world? How will we handle all that innovative variety, and the absence of a monopolist at the center of the technology ecosystem. It's a dreadful thought, indeed! It reminds me of a touching scene from HBO's current "John Adams" series where King George of England tells Adams he hopes the American people won't suffer too greatly for lack of a monarch!

Qualcomm, you may remember, is also the company that delivered Brew: a not-quite-Java-but-wishes-it-was proprietary product that helped contribute to the lameness of opportunities for third party developers in the US mobile market. Compared to many other markets, the US might as well be using technology that King George himself could have designed. If Qualcomm and their carrier cronies had their way, then we probably wouldn't be bothered by pesky open source platforms like Android for many years to come.

Google's own Dan Morrill was pretty clear in his disavowal of Jha's statements. In this piece on Google Groups, Morrill says:

Jha is not a Google employee, and does not speak for Google; at best, he might be speaking for his own company.  His statements as quoted are obviously way out of step with the real objectives of Android, and are his personal speculation insofar as they mention Google. The sole goal of the Android project is to produce a high-quality, fully open platform designed from top to bottom for mobile.  Google is involved because we want to help build the kind of platform we want to use. 

 "A high-quality, fully open platform" is a long way from designed to drive fragmentation. Even though Qualcomm is involved in helping several manufacturers deliver Android-powered handsets, at least one of their top managers seems to have a dim view of openness. Perhaps that should come as no surprise when we consider that Qualcomm has made boatloads of money with proprietary IP in countless millions of handsets. Say bye-bye to that cash cow, Qualcomm, that's what Android will fragment.

Designed to drive fragmentation! How could he even say it with a straight face?

 

Comments

Fred Barney replied on Wed, 2008/04/09 - 10:49pm

Android looks to be better than Brew and J2ME, so it doesn't surprise me that Qualcomm would be FUDding it.  But Brew isn't a wish-it-was-Java product.  It was an attempt to provide an end-to-end solution, from developer APIs to provisioning, with good performance and decent access to phone features, all things that J2ME failed at miserably.

Rick Ross replied on Thu, 2008/04/10 - 5:04am in response to: Fred Barney

[quote=fb43282]Android looks to be better than Brew and J2ME, so it doesn't surprise me that Qualcomm would be FUDding it.  But Brew isn't a wish-it-was-Java product.  It was an attempt to provide an end-to-end solution, from developer APIs to provisioning, with good performance and decent access to phone features, all things that J2ME failed at miserably.[/quote]

Your points about Brew are fair and welltaken, Fred. I hadn't thought of it that way, but on consideration you seem to be correct. To me, it seemed an awful lot like Java, bit not quite - a "close, but no cigar" situation. That's not to say that J2ME was a paradigm of excellence :)

Mark Thornton replied on Thu, 2008/04/10 - 5:44am in response to: Fred Barney

In my limited experience, most of the limitations with use of J2ME are not imposed by J2ME but by carriers and manufacturers., and most of those can be removed if you get the cooperation of the carrier.

Jeroen Wenting replied on Fri, 2008/04/11 - 12:27am

Google's intent to fracture the market and next use their position of power to force their will on that market has been known for years.

After all, they've been doing it for years in every market they operate in. Search engines, online advertising, blogging,  'social networking', etc. etc., they get big by buying up some small players and then start pushing their technology through their other channels, forcing everyone else to submit and adapt or be left a fringe player at best.

Were they called "Microsoft" they'd have been dragged into courst for it by some activist judge or politician, but they're the fair haired boys of the US 'democratic' party (Google's bosses are rather extreme leftists) so they're left alone.

Fred Barney replied on Fri, 2008/04/11 - 12:45am

LLLLLIIIIIIIIIIBBBBRRRRRRRUUUULLLLLSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

Michael O'Keeffe replied on Tue, 2008/04/15 - 8:14pm in response to: Jeroen Wenting

[quote=jwenting]

Google's intent to fracture the market and next use their position of power to force their will on that market has been known for years.[/quote]

+1. Yeah, this is the divide and conquer strategy used by a heavyweight like MSFT, or Google.

[quote=jwenting]

 

Were they called "Microsoft" they'd have been dragged into courst for it by some activist judge or politician, but they're the fair haired boys of the US 'democratic' party (Google's bosses are rather extreme leftists) so they're left alone.

[/quote]

-1

To paraphrase Kramer, you're *way* *way* off. Not sure where you're from but the states has tilted to the extreme right, just past McCarthyism recently. Except replace commies with islamofascists or some other Fauxism.

Let's refresh: MSFT got off on it's antitrust case some years back with a shift in the political winds with a slap on the wrist. The judge that was cutting them to shreds and embarrassingeven Gates the whiz, was replaced IIRC. They were about to be checked like IBM. But this administration is very business friendly. Tax breaks for oil companies making billion dollar profits? No problem.

As far as "activist" judges, let's check the facts on that, starting fromthe supreme court:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/opinion/14mon3.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

So Google shouldn't worry, and neither should you.

 

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