Google sued for secret deals that may have increased the cost of Android phones

In today's open source roundup: Did Google force Android users to pay more for their phones? Plus: Google is working on Android Silver, and the controversy over Firefox 29

PC World reports that Google is being sued for badgering Android device manufacturers into giving its services prominent screen real estate and driving up the cost of Android phones.

According to PC World:

A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses Google of strong-arming device manufacturers into making its search engine the default on Android devices, driving up the cost of those devices and hurting consumers.

Android devices would be cheaper if Google’s rivals could compete for the same status on devices by paying device manufacturers for such positioning, the lawsuit argues.

It also says the plaintiffs would have experienced better search options without such agreements. Consumers, the lawsuit contends, “do not know how to switch, nor will they go to the trouble of switching, the default search engine on their devices.”

More at PC World
Google Sued for Increasing Cost of Android Devices
Image credit: Business Insider

It's no secret that Google created Android to promote its services, so this lawsuit isn't exactly shocking. It will be interesting to see how it turns out though, and if it will change Google's behavior in any significant way.

Google will launch Android Silver

The Register reports that Google is working on Android Silver in an attempt to regain control of the Android platform.

According to The Register:

Details of the thing have been corroborated by multiple sources – and it looks like a declaration of war on Samsung and wannabe top-tier gadget manufacturers.

Along the same lines as its Nexus range, Google will design and subsidise Silver-branded handsets, handpick the manufacturers, and manage production. The new devices will be first in line for Android updates – today's manufacturers are notoriously slow at pushing out upgrades – and there will be plenty of help advertising the devices. The gear must meet Google's strict specifications to gain a Silver badge.

The handhelds must run Google's flavour of Android – the open-source-ish OS it bought in 2005 – rather than customised, bloatware-ridden versions cooked up by some hardware makers. In all, it leaves little room for manoeuvre.

More at The Register

I don't blame Google for doing this. Android's fragmentation has always been a problem, particularly with users not getting prompt updates. Silver looks like it might help fix that, but I do wonder how Samsung is going to react to it. There's certainly no love lost between Samsung and Google, and this is liable to make that relationship even more difficult.

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