The emerging threat (to Google) of modified Android phones

The Next Web:

Android is available in two different flavors. There’s the Google-endorsed Android, which is used by companies that agree to the terms and conditions of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). Essentially, OHA members include the Google services that are baked into Android, and agree to limitations on how they can customize the software on their devices.

The other side is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), a far-freer version that lets device makers tinker with all manner of elements of the software. Often that means ripping out Google services, and customizing the handset to run other software and services. Google apps are still accessible, but are not central to the experience as they are in OHA Android devices.

Amazon’s Kindles run AOSP, replacing Google’s services with their own. The AOSP market is growing quickly.

Even though developing markets will likely be the main focus for AOSP device makers, more sophisticated ones like Xiaomi are opening non-Google Android to a new tier of more-affluent customers.

Google’s response? Android One, a low end OS with interface and Google services baked in, but tweakable to accommodate the needs and skins of the low end OEMs.