Sort of. As Nathan Olivarez-Giles notes in Wired:

Google isn’t taking the step of asking developers to make separate phone and tablet versions of their apps, as Apple has done, but this effort is still notable and long overdue. While Apple proudly touts that more than 250,000 apps have been built specifically for the iPad, Google has declined to say just how many tablet-specific apps exist for Android and has instead boasted about its ecosystem of apps built to run on both phones and tablets. But the result of that has mostly been a lot of Android phone apps awkwardly stretched to fit larger tablet screens. Big-name apps such as Twitter, Facebook and Rdio all exhibit these problems.

This is so obvious, so why hasn’t Google been doing this all along? Hard to know for sure. Perhaps Google just bet that consumers would be just as happy with scaled-up smartphone apps as tablet-specific apps. (And bet poorly, of course.)

Or, perhaps more likely, they didn’t want to add to their own fragmentation nightmare. With the iPad, there is only one screen size (9.7”) with two possible resolutions (Retina and non-Retina). That is likely to change soon with a 7.85” iPad “Mini”, but the resolution will be the same as the non-Retina bigger iPad. In other words, developers won’t have to do any more work than they already have been doing to target the older iPads.

The Android tablet situation — big surprise — is much more of a clusterfuck. There are already a wide-range of screen sizes. And resolutions. And machines of varying speed/power. Some of these are Google-supported (Nexus 7), some are not (Kindle Fire).

Perhaps Google is lucky that none of them have sold particularly well (at least compared to the iPad) just yet. That gives them an easy excuse for the complete and utter lack of tablet apps.

Casey Johnson:

Motorola Atrix 4G owners will not get the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update the company promised them, according to a newly revised upgrade chart. The phones will continue to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, dealing another blow to the integrity of Google’s upgrade program.

This would be pathetic if Google didn’t own this company. But they do. So it’s dually jackassified.

Anil Dash:

To see Android make the leap from being the default option that comes with a service plan to actually becoming the platform that defines smartphones in the public’s imagination, Google needs to take on not just Apple but everyone in the Android hardware space too. Motorola has said it’s going to streamline its offerings. I’d push that even further. Go with a single model. And it shouldn’t have a name that reads like a license plate. Instead of the Atrix HD MB886, it should just be the Nexus Phone, with a marketing campaign that focuses on the phone, rather than Android. (When’s the last time you saw an iPhone commercial that talked about iOS?) Make it clear that this is the Google Phone.

Agreed. And I do think it will happen. But it will take time because it means going directly against what Android was supposed to be all about.

Right now, Google will never admit to this reality. To be honest, I’m not sure most people on the Android team even realize this reality. But at the end of the day, this comes down to making money. Microsoft is currently making more money off of Android than Google is. iOS is providing more mobile revenue when it comes to Google searches. The model is already broken and it runs the risk of cracking wide open unless there’s a product that can keep it together.

The true Google Phone.

Dieter Bohn last week on Google’s “New Motorola”:

But the simple fact remains: neither Google’s flagship Galaxy Nexus nor the new devices from its subsidiary Motorola are running Google’s latest software on Verizon’s network, and they won’t until Verizon says they can.

There’s nothing “new” about that.

If it weren’t for Verizon, I’d bet that basically no one would have bought any Motorola phones the past few years. And the company would have been even more of a money pit. And Google still probably would have paid over $10 billion for that money pit.

Dow Jones:

Alibaba said that Acer “was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android- related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner….We regret Google’s action.”

So much to say on this. For now, let’s just say that the words “terminate” and “open” should never go together.

Well, it may not exactly be the Kindle Phone some were hoping for, but this Verizon/Amazon partnership could end up being a big deal.


Recognizing this trend, Verizon and Amazon will offer a suite of Amazon-owned shopping apps directly to customers on certain Verizon Wireless Android smartphones. Amazon’s Shopping, MP3, Zappos, Kindle, and Audible apps, will be preloaded to offer quick access to the online stores, one-click ordering and access to Amazon Prime free two-day shipping.

That’s a round-about way of saying they’re going to start pre-loading all those Amazon apps on some of their Android phones.

And while Verizon don’t specifically mention the Amazon Appstore, The Verge says that will be a part of the suite as well. That’s huge news because it’s still way too much of a pain in the ass for a regular consumer to install it right now — which is a big reason why Amazon would want to build their own phone.

Nilay Patel:

Multiple sources have confirmed to The Verge that Amazon is working on a smartphone that runs a variant of the Kindle Fire’s Android-based operating system, and we’re now hearing that the device will be shown to the press tomorrow.

Looks like the Android situation is about the get even more complicated…

Update: And recall that Bloomberg reported on this back in July.

Update 9/6: Nope.