Saturday, April 4, 2009

AT&T May Use Own Version of Android OS

Google's Android is an open OS platform - so open, in fact, that carrier clients can alter it and lock it down any way they want. Today AT&T Mobility's president Ralph de la Vega said that customizability has attracted him to Android.

De La Vega said he went to the MWC trade show in Barcelona in February to scope out the Android OS, and recently met with Google executives who tried to convince him to include Android in AT&T's OS portfolio. He was encouraged by the idea that an Android phone could host AT&T branded apps, not just Google apps, he said.

"We in fact will be able to take the Android open-source code and put our own apps and features on an Android device," he said. "They're going to open it up and allow us to be able to customize what an Android device looks like to our customers."

"One of the things we were looking for was that it was truly open and that you could put other features and applications on it," he added. "Now, I'm in the camp where I'm positive that I think it's going to be something we would want in our portfolio."

So yes, it's true: an AT&T Android phone may look completely different from an Android phone on other carriers. Now, that might not imperil Android's cross-compatibility, but you have to wonder how much they plan to customize these devices. What does this mean for Android's open source nature and for application developers' abilities to program for all Android devices at once? Stay tuned.


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