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Motorola Takes Android To China, With Or Without Google

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the alternative-paths dept.

Cellphones 42

An anonymous reader writes "Google's spat with China could affect Motorola as it vies to crawl back into the mobile market, but recent partnerships will allow it to pursue the Chinese mobile market alone. Circumventing the fallout, Motorola on Thursday introduced its own Android app store for China and a deal with Baidu, the leading search provider in China."

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Competition is good, Dell is already playing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857438)

Competition with Android in the Chinese marketplace is always a good thing. So far, even if Google doesn't play, Dell is already on the field, and I'm pretty sure HTC is in the game as well.

What does this mean for Android? Good and bad. The good is that it gains exposure in the most up and coming nation in the world, with a lot of people climbing the career ladder from rice paddy to corner office. The bad is that the Android platform ends up more fragmented. Windows Mobile's weakness for a long time was no central app store where one could buy items for the phone, on the phone.

Time will tell though. If Android fragments so much that apps have to be designed to deal with multiple Dalvik VMs, many hardware configurations, and many phones before the app can run, this will hamstring this platform's future. However, if Android apps are compatible to an extent, where it is almost certain that an app downloaded will run, then this might propel Android into a front runner smartphone platform.

Android's competition isn't stopping. Apple's app store "just works" on all iPhone models (unless there is a specific feature like GPS or 3G an older model lacks.) RIM, Nokia, and Microsoft are not standing still either.

Re:Competition is good, Dell is already playing (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857528)

The issue is: Dell and Moto's smartphone business in Asia is dependent on Android, and a big untapped market in China. Android is dependent in a big way on Google. If China decides they don't want the Big G playing within their borders, Android phones are unlikely to get sold. The phone manufacturers work to an incredibly tight schedule for build and release - even if China just delays things it'll put massive pressure on Dell/Moto and of course Google. If I were China, I'd be likely to use this as a strongarm tactic to pressure Google into doing things my way.

Re:Competition is good, Dell is already playing (2, Informative)

sabernet (751826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857968)

However, Android being an open source Linux based OS, they'll just take it, change it and call it "Red Robot" or something with different PIMs then default(though, being China, likely direct ripoffs with the G logo changed to a Chinese flag). This won't affect its ability to be marketed in China at all.

Re:Competition is good, Dell is already playing (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859668)

I used to be a Dell employee. I can assure you, they do not have the engineering prowess to work on Android.

Android without Google (4, Interesting)

asdir (1195869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857574)

Does this mean, we might possibly see a version of Android that does not build on Google services? I was wondering for quite a time now, why handset-makers do not partner up with competitors of Google and make their own version of Android; or even better: let the consumer choose the services they activate for apps like maps, calendar, or e-mail. Or is there a technical obstacle I do not see here?

Re:Android without Google (2, Interesting)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857602)

Google would be able to "diverge" its Android OS from the modifications made by the mobile phone operators - this would force them to rewrite their modifications from a version of Android to another, or to start back-porting into the version of Android they started with any change Google made.
      As for the simple solution "make our modifications available to any competitor by open sourcing them", good luck with that.

Re:Android without Google (3, Informative)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857664)

Google would be able to "diverge" its Android OS from the modifications made by the mobile phone operators - this would force them to rewrite their modifications from a version of Android to another, or to start back-porting into the version of Android they started with any change Google made.

Why would handset makers care about google "diverging" it's modifications? It's not like handset makers have exactly been known to care about keeping users up to date with the latest version. They could just take a snap shot of the Android code base make all the modifications they need and then run with it.

Re:Android without Google (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30862396)

Why would handset makers care about google "diverging" it's modifications?

The same reason that corporations using Linux worry about "diverging/forking" from the main branch... the future promise of things like Linux and Android is what's exciting, not exactly what currently exists (ie, Android without Google services isn't that much better than Symbian or Mobile OSX, but next years or next decade's Android certainly might be).

Keeping up with software innovation is not free or cheap.

Re:Android without Google (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858156)

Why should they it is very convenient to partner with google, it does not cost them a dime, and you get the added services, like search, maps, mail etc... on the phone.
No one else so far has those services written for Android.

Re:Android without Google (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858372)

it does not cost them a dime, and you get the added services, like search, maps, mail etc... on the phone

Not costing them a dime is one thing. Not making them a dime is another.

Re:Android without Google (1)

cl0s (1322587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858734)

Verizon & T-mobile also make money from Google ads that I guess come from their networks. I imagine this would include Apps that use Ad mob also.

How much money that actually is though... no idea.

Re:Android without Google (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30863110)

Besides that google is paying the phone companies part of the ad revenue back, not costing a dime is a big deal compared to 50$ per phone Microsoft charges for WinCE

Re:Android without Google (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858424)

No deep technical obstacle, just a matter of time and convenience and development cost. Also, google has some leverage.

Handset makers can already make fairly significant cosmetic changes on top of more or less stock android(Motorola's "blur", HTC's "sense", etc) and handset makers or carriers can pre-install their own applications easily enough. Since they can already do that, the motives for hostile forking, which requires time and money, would be fairly weak. Easier and cheaper to stay close to mainline, and have your customizations designed to fit neatly on top.

There is also the matter of Google's "carrot". While Android is OSS, and there is nothing stopping anybody from taking their ball, going home, and making their own Android, with blackjack and hookers, several of the applications that are pretty central to the "android" that customers expect are proprietary google binaries. The app market and the navigation application are probably the most notable. Anybody who just wants to use Android on their LCD photo frame or similar gadget, because it is cheaper than WinCE and more legal than pirated WinCE, probably doesn't care and can just ignore this. If you want to ship a phone or a MID or similar, though, you want to be really confident in the strength of your alternatives before you pass up these applications.

Re:Android without Google (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30863596)

the AOSP (android open source project) doesn't depend on google services. google services are added to phones whose manufacturers license them through google.

there are already many android devices that do not license from google. the b&n nook is one example.

Where's the bloody decency (-1, Offtopic)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857710)

With news about human rights prevailing profit still being hot you'd expect the decency of Motorola to bloody well refrain from commenting.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857746)

You know, the rest of the world is saying "what with their idiotic stance on personal rights and global war mongering, we really shouldn't be exporting to the US". And if we, the people of the rest of the world, had anything to say about it, we'd stop our governments from pandering to your corrupt crony-capitalist bribe issuing regime.

Get off your fucking high horse.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857766)

This horse bleeds red, white and blue sir.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (2, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857768)

+1, thanks for AGAIN bringing up the USA in a totally unrelated thread about China.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30858110)

It was the OP who brought up China's human rights record about an article in an article about Motorola selling Android handsets there.

What I mean to say is: He started it. So ner.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (-1, Offtopic)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858366)

freedom of speech dude, as in 1991, we can do what the F we like.

Off topic is THE topic.!

Re:Where's the bloody decency (1)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860654)

U. S. totally unrelated? Motorola and Google are both U.S. companies. Motorola is in Schaumburg, Illinois and Google is in Mountainview, California. I didn't notice either of them moving corporate headquarters to China. Until they do, get over it. BTW: If you don't like it, there is a Japanese version of Slashdot in Kanji: http://slashdot.jp/ [slashdot.jp] Use it.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30857788)

Chuck Fina for President!

Re:Where's the bloody decency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30858348)

The US pwns your obsolete continent, assuming you are European. If you are Canadian, then can I have some maple syrup please.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (1)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30862516)

You make a very valid point. Our record of inserting our armies into other countries orifices is well documented. Our history of using money as a carrot and stick to get other countries to tow the party line is also well documented. Our government has initiated assassinations of legally elected leaders in more than one country in South America (and likely elsewhere). Our corporations are well know for murdering thousands of members of indigenous populations who get in the way of the corporations "development" of the areas natural resources, often with the support of our military who are directed by our elected officials. But, at least for now, I can still write this in my country (which I love) without fear of going to prison. Sadly, after yesterdays Supreme Court decision, our government will look much more like the Chinese government within 4 years, operated exclusively (instead of just mostly) for the benefit of those people with money, lots of money.

Re:Where's the bloody decency (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858438)

Assuming that it isn't a simple matter of Motorola wanting to sell more stuff and try not to go out of business, this could be a "Hey Google, thanks a whole fucking lot for getting together with HTC and releasing an even cooler phone, just when you and I and the Droid were looking like a happy family..." thing.

One man's crisis is another man's opportunity (4, Insightful)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857748)

Motorola should send Google flowers, or something.

Would Google leave if they were winning the game? (1)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859832)

Would Google leave if they were winning the game? Surely not, Communist Party support to Baidu is working as expected.

Re:One man's crisis is another man's opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859920)

Lisa: Look on the bright side, Dad. Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for 'crisis' as they do for 'opportunity'?
Homer: Yes! Crisi-tunity!

Re:One man's crisis is another man's opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859976)

I recommend a cake [wikipedia.org] , instead.

Android != Google (4, Informative)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30857830)

Analysts still don't get that Android is no longer owned by Google. It is now owned by the Open Handset Alliance [openhandsetalliance.com] .

Re:Android != Google (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858118)

Yes thanks for the clarification analysts (anal is in front of the word) are not the brightest people on the planet, and I wonder if any of those really ever had a look who was behind android.
Google does most of the grunt work but the code base is basically written under the umbrella of the OHSA Google just provides additionally to that the programs which hook into their services.

Re:Android != Google (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860352)

So what? Its open source. They cant dictate things like where it can be used. They cant apply their current corporate issues onto it. Its software outside their control. They are free to quit maintaining it if they like.

Im sure there are lots of weapon systems linux is running on. Im sure Linus isnt too fond of that, but none of that makes any difference.

Android Community (1)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858014)

I would like to see a distro of Android with Apt, and a repository for Open Source apps.

Gnometris, Kpatience, ScummVM, Pidgin (or something similar), Tango GPS, GPsDrive, the ability to sync with your Linux Desktop, or OSS apps running on another Platform (TB/FF) and a whole plethora of other apps. Use a selector like Add/Remove programs in Ubuntu.

Re:Android Community (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858456)

Android doesn't use X, and its provision for execution of native code isn't really optimal for running straight ports of standard Linux software.

There are some hacks [hackaday.com] that involve running stock applications on top of the same linux layer that Android's VM uses, with Xvnc as an X server and an Android VNC viewer; but that doesn't exactly scream "elegant".

Re:Android Community (1)

the ReviveR (1106541) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859438)

Sounds a lot more like you would like to see Maemo.

Motorola is taking it to china? (1)

Nyall (646782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858074)

And here I thought it would get there by being open source.

Errr, aren't these paragraphs backwards? (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30858190)

Let's see, late in the TFA it says this:

Motorola stood to lose a significant amount of business if the issue had it waited for Google to enter the country.

(Hey, I didn't edit the thing.) Anyway, that was preceded immediately by this:

Android, developed originally by Google, is open source, meaning partners are free to use it even if Google decides not to support it.

And so this is a story how? I propose a new headline: "Motorola Not Stupid (full story page B13)"

Well, that is the last Motorola that I buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30858334)

I see no reason to buy another Motorola. Right now, Google has the right attitude towards China. China's attitude is one of a cold war setting. [cnn.com] And Western companies are supporting it.

I guess I won't consider the Droid (1)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860640)

I was looking at the Droid, but now I have to reconsider. Sadly, with the size of the Chinese market Motorola doesn't care what I or any other American consumer thinks about their business practices. There is so much money to be made and corporations are inherently amoral.

They can do whatever they want with Android (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30863492)

Google is not the sole owner of Android. The Open Handset Alliance is in control and Motorola is part of that alliance there. This is also the great thing about it being open source. Whether you agree or not with China's activities (I don't), each company should be able to decide what to do and hopefully if western consumers don't agree either they will use their free will to vote against Motorola by not buying from them.
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