Skyhook wireless CEO claims that a non-Google Android phone is coming this year from a major brand. According to Technology Review, the device will run Android operating system but it wonâ€™t be controlled by Google. Who is that major brand, it could be Amazon of Facebook, both are rumored to launch phones from past few years.
Amazon forked Android for itâ€™s Kindle Fire tablet, with the success of Kindle Fire other device makers want to go the same route. Kindle Fire runs on modified Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Amazon has an appstore of its own. Since Android is open source any one can take the code and modify it to their needs.
“I’m spending a lot of time with companies forking Android,” says Morgan (Skyhook CEO). “Nobody wants to just be a manufacturer for Google. You see that with what Amazon has done, where they made it their own, and you also see a whole host of manufacturers taking Android down their own path.”
More fragmentation of Android leads to headache for Android app developers. If each device maker tries to customize the OS, then app developers have to develop apps that are compatible with all these fragmentations, which is not good for the Android as a whole. Device makers are already customizing the user interface of the Android to some extent currently, the only device that runs Android with out device maker customizations is Galaxy Nexus.
Amazon has a successful Android device and appstore associated with it, it is a matter of time they release a smartphone. Facebook is also associated with rumors that it is developing a smartphone for years now. It is a possibility that any of these two will release a smartphone this year, perhaps for the holiday season.