The Information has some details, summarized here by TechCrunch on a new program which will give Google greater control over the way Android is implemented by third parties. By the sounds of it — and I’m sure we’ll know more after I/O — this program will be entirely optional, but will carry with it some major promotional benefits.
Now, a more cynical version of me would suggest that this is Google’s way of buying its way out of the more uncontrollable aspects of making open source software. Or, perhaps, this is Google’s way of continuing to be able to brag about the “openness” of “Android” when, in truth, the open source version of Android continues to get shafted. Or, maybe Google was getting spooked by Samsung’s continued development and promotion of Tizen, their in-house operating system, and Samsung’s overall leverage and control of the Android ecosystem.
But I am not that cynical. I’m trying to see this as simply a way for Google to reduce the fragmentation of its platform. That other stuff is somewhere in the back of my mind.