The head of Google’s mobile division has attacked a Chinese rival, accusing it of pirating apps and violating rules designed to discourage incompatible versions of Android.
The intervention by Andy Rubin, Google’s senior vice president of mobile and digital content, follows a bizarre incident last week when Acer, the Taiwanese manufacturer, invited journalists to a news conference to demonstrate a new smartphone for the booming Chinese market, only to tell them the event been blocked by Google.
The handset was due to be the first to run Aliyun, a mobile operating system developed by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.
It emerged that Acer pulled out when Google threatened to revoke its membership of the Open Handset Alliance, the group of Android manufacturers that guides development of the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
Although Android is free and open source, allowing anyone to copy and adapt it, a condition of membership of the OHA is that handsets based on elements of the software must be cross-compatible and able to run the same apps. If Acer was kicked out, its future products could not carry the Android logo and would not have access to the Google Play app store.
“While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem,” Google said.