Google apparently has changed its approval process for devices to use its software (that'd be Android), cracking down on the way the software is changed and how third-party partnerships will be handled, according to the folks at Bloomberg.  Now, companies that want access to the latest version of Android will need approval of the things they want to do to it. And that approval will come from none other than Andy Rubin.

Google says it is going to tighten and enforce "non-fragmentation clauses," that intend to limit things like customization of the interface, and how manufacturers can partner with other services like Facebook or Microsoft.  Bloomberg tells us that things have already gotten heated, with complaints to the U.S. Justice Department being lodged.  There's also mention that Google has tried to hold back the release of devices on Verizon because they make use of the Bing services. Hello, HTC Merge, maybe that's why you disappeared for a while.

While I'm all for keeping crappy software away from hot, new devices like the Evo 3D, I'm certain that this doesn't mean the end of manufacturer skins.  And it shouldn't -- many enjoy the extras that come with manufacturer enhanced user interfaces, and a bit of curation by Google should make for an easier upgrade path.  But I fear this is going to greatly affect the release cycle of the source code for the AOSP project, and not for the better.  We'll just have to wait and see how this develops. [Bloomberg BusinessWeek] Thanks, everyone who sent this in!