Questions about Android licening by Google

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iOSWriter, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. iOSWriter macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2011
    When people say Android is a free or open source system does that mean Google doesnt charge licening fees to vendors/manufacturers that use it in their hardware devices? Like do these vendirs get to ask Google for the source code and approval without contracts or fees of any kind? Or when th say an open and free platform are hey only talking about customization of the UI and software by vendors? (Like them being qble to move stuff around or change stuff without agoogle's approval and any can have it.)

    Because I know that even some really cheap tablets or phones use it that couldnt possibly have much profit margins to oay Google. Does anyone know how it works and what kidn of cut agoogle gets if at all?
  2. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Google makes their money when people use Search on their mobile devices.
  3. wvphysics macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2010
    Open source by definition means the source code is open to all for use or for alteration. It is like the linux base code. I am sure google makes its money from the added stuff like apps and such.
  4. goosnarrggh, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

    goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    Some components that people consider central to the Android experience (such as the Android Marketplace App, the Google Maps App, the Gmail App, the YouTube App, the Google Talk App, the Navigation App, etc) are not actually integral parts of the open source Android project as such. They are closed-source, proprietary apps. Any manufacturer who wanted to include these apps in their product would have to negotiate a license deal with Google.

    You'll find that several of the really cheap tablets don't include these apps, most likely because the manufacturer either didn't try to get Google's permission, or else they tried and failed to arrive at agreeable terms.

    As said above, Google also makes money from advertising revenue when people use their mobile phones to search the web. (If these people bypass Google's built-in search capabilities and go with Bing or some other competitor, Google misses out on that potential revenue.)

    And make no mistake: Google's open source software, like the vast majority of open source software in the world, does come with a license. And like any other copyright license, it does constitute a legally binding contract between the copyright holder and the person or company making copies and derivative works based on the software. The difference from proprietary software is: this contract doesn't necessarily require any money to change hands.

    Part of this contract, for example, is a covenant that every licensee who consents to the license, freely grants every other licensee royalty-free permission to make use of all of the patents they may own which are shown to be necessary to make the Android system work. In this case, clearly, even though no money has changed hands, there is still the potential for the mutual exchange of a significant amount of economic collateral value in such an agreement.

    If a licensee refuses to grant such a royalty-free license to any patent shown to be necessary for the Android system to work, then they are in violation of the Android open-source license, and they do not have permission to make use of any of the Android source code -- and they could be sued for copyright infringement if they attempted to do so without permission.
  5. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Many of your questions are answered in the:

    Android Open Source FAQs

    Basically, the main source is free. That's why you see so many third world inexpensive tablets. You could even modify and use it in any kind of device, from gas meters to rocket ships.

    However, you cannot call it "Android" unless the device passes compatibility tests for the version it supports.

    As mentioned above, you have to license the Market and Google Apps, although it's usually not hard to find a hacked version of those that will run even on the cheapest tablets.

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