I stumbled across a press release the other day from AT&T stating that “we’re happy where we are with Android compared to Verizon.” Okay, it’s not a terrible sentiment and if I didn’t read more into it I would have just let it go. But! since I did read more into it here is what I gather. AT&T currently has only two Android phones in their lineup, those being the Motorola Backflip and the HTC Aria which only recently released. Randall Stephenson who is “AT&T’s controversy-riddled CEO” (Phandroid.com, 2010) went on record saying AT&T’s business with Google and Android is fine where it is and continuing to grow. Admittedly I have heard they are releasing the Dell Streak which I wrote an article about, but I don’t know how much truth is in that. In any case with the plethora of new Android devices now out there AT&T could easily include more handsets in there lineup, but I believe choose not to. AT&T has never really been in support of the open source movement and it shows in their business decisions. Actions like the capping of their network download despite claiming they have tons of capacity or selling their soul to have an exclusive contract for the iPhone with the least open company in the world, Apple. I could go on but I read a piece by Quentyn Kennemer that I felt summarized my feelings quite well:
Randall also comments on their desire to push Yahoo! Search on most of their devices, stating they don’t like Google’s decision on keeping their own search engine as the operating system’s default. The reason? It’s anti-open-source. I’m not going to go too deep with trying to argue Randall’s statements, but how is being given the ability to change Android’s default search and services experience to whatever you want “anti-open-source”?
Wouldn’t it be more “anti-open” to flatout deny the customization of Android in any way you want? Isn’t it more “anti-open” to strip your devices of their natural ability to go above and beyond what an “app store” or the Android market provides? I’m not going to question Stephenson’s true stance in throwing these thoughts out in the air, but I will sign off of this story using one of my favorite quotes since I was a child: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Say what you will but I don’t see Android as evil especially coming from a company that has the motto of “Do no evil.” Open source is not the best thing since canned bread for everyone but it certainly makes quite a positive impact on the world.