The big story for Google and Android in 2012 is going to be “forking,” says a plugged-in mobile industry source.”Forking” is what Amazon did with Android. It took the base level of Android, and then built its own features on top of it, making it a completely different feeling operating system.
According to our source, “Amazon is not the last” company that will be forking Android to build it own operating system. Our source says a lot of Chinese phone makers are looking at it, and a really big device maker recently completed work on a forked version of the operating system.
Handset makers are sick of Google. They “don’t want to be dictated to as harshly,” says our source. Thus, they’re jumping ship to build their own operating system.
Further, building your own version of Android is a way to stand out from the crowd. Right now, all Android phones pretty much look alike, and all pretty much run the same operating system. If a handset maker can build its own proprietary operating system to stand out, it’s a competitive advantage.
Especially since Google is about to own Motorola. Handset makers are nervous that they’re going to be treated as second rate customers.
Our source says these plans have been in the works for a while, but the “Motorola decision accelerated their plans.” Google’s decision to take on its own handset company was a “big F-U to everybody.”
When Google says its going to keep Motorola at an arm’s length, handset makers just laugh, says our source.
As a result, companies are preparing to build their own versions of Android. The already messy and fragmented world of Android is going to get even worse.