We also talked about OEMs’ perennial press to skin the operating system â€” a trend that looks poised to continue in Android 4.0 â€” which developed into a full-blown conversation about the conflict between the mythical “stock Android device” and the realities of business between manufacturers like Motorola and carriers. “Verizon and AT&T don’t want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves,” he said, insisting that he “has to make money” and that there simply isn’t a way to profit on a device that isn’t differentiated. “The vast majority of the changes we make to the OS are to meet the requirements that carriers have.”
Carriers might be responsible, but OEMs are to blame as well, for lacking balls. A nobody in the smartphone space completely eradicated carrier crapware, banished ridiculous carrier logos, and took complete control over OS updates, back in 2007.
Update: In an interview with Lauren Goode, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt:
We absolutely allow our partners to change the interface, as long as they donâ€™t change user compatibility.
Update 2: Speaking of no logos, here’s Watts Martin:
Go into an AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint store and set out a few Android models along with an iPhone and maybe a couple â€œnone of the aboveâ€ smartphones they sell. One and only one of those phones is going to be entirely free of the carrier logo. Donâ€™t be under the illusion thatâ€™s merely an aesthetic issue.