What's the Difference Between Android and Google? And Why Does it Matter?

In the same article where Samsung revealed their plans for Android, they dropped a very interesting nugget regarding the status of Android. Samsung gave a clear distinction between the Android OS and "Google Experience" devices, lining themselves more with Android than with Google.

To quote:

[Samsung] drew a distinction between devices built on the Android platform and "Google Experience" devices, which not only use Android but are also Google-centric, packed with the search giant's own applications. "Our commitment is more to the Android phone than the Google Experience device,".

This whole time, we've been lumping Android and Google together, believing that they were one and the same. Android was Google and Google was Android, the lines were blurred, there was no difference. Could we have been wrong?

Read on to see what Android Central thinks the phone industry thinks about Android and Google!

Samsung's Stance

Could it be possible that the phone manufacturers weren't as eager to work with Google as they were excited to work with Android?

Think about it for a second. Imagine you're Samsung (or any phone manufacturer) and you hear about this new smartphone Operating System--Android, they call it. It's open source, it's free, and it's good. People are excited about this mobile operating system because it represents openness and change. You're excited about this operating system because it's free of course, and because it's open--you're no longer forced into doing what Microsoft wants you to do, you're no longer forced into cooking up your own software. Absolutely no question, you are on board with Android. Where do I sign up?

Then when developing your Android devices, the ginormously big and ridiculously powerful Google stomps on by and starts snooping around. Poking turns to prodding, asking turns to demanding, and slowly openness becomes closed. They want you to add a Google logo, they want a dedicated search button, they want this and they want that. They want more Google and less Android.

Now you're confused. Weren't you supposed to be able to have free reign and create your own device? Weren't you just working with the carriers and offering a fresh new device? Isn't the point of open source to have it however you want? Why is Google so involved?

Take a look at the first Android Device: the T-Mobile G1. Automatically, the name tips the user off. G1. Google 1. Googlephone. And if it's not the name, the branding certainly would. The T-Mobile G1 with Google. Yep, it's on the back of every G1. Watch a G1 commercial and try not to think of Google. Samsung (et al) couldn't have that. They needed their devices to be recognized as Samsung. Omnia. Instinct. And so on. So they waited.

Google's Stance

But was having Google involved a bad thing? Android needed a name, a face, a brand. And what better brand to give it than the most friendly, most used technology in the world? Google. The first batch of Android phones needed to be directly tied with Google because in the world of Apple iPhones, Blackberrys, and Windows Mobile, no one would know what an Android was. They would certainly know Google though.

So Google needed to be hands on. It's not that Google personally wanted Googlephones in existence, but they knew customers wanted a Google phone. So they needed partners that would take a back seat to Google and allow Google to call the shots. Insert HTC. While Samsung (and LG and Motorola and Sony Ericsson) wanted to create their own brand of Android devices, HTC was willing to play Google's game. Let it be called the Google phone, let it be marketed however Google wanted to, let it be Google's baby.

Google was right in that in order to build a brand name out of Android, Google needed to be in the conversation. Other manufacturers outside of HTC couldn't risk being second fiddle so they delayed their phones until they could do it their way. According to Samsung, they claimed that "some operators were concerned about the vision Google has [and] that affected [timing],". Could we have finally found the reason why there are so few Android devices? Is it because Google's current motive is to put the Google in Android?

What It Means For Us

Do you guys remember the Kogan Agora? That was supposed to be the world's Second Android Device. Well, does anyone have an Agora? No, it was delayed by Google for screen issues. Could it be that Google wasn't done branding Android enough that it needed another HTC built 'Googlephone' out first? Did Google encourage and nudge all these phone manufacturers to take their time in building their Android Devices? Were the phone manufacturers ready for Android but Android not ready for them?

Honestly, we don't know. But there has to be a real reason why there are no Android Devices other than HTC built, Google branded ones. There has to be a reason why everyone is staying quiet on actual Android hardware, why every release date is slated for the second half of 2009. It's been too long, the phone manufacturers should have put out an Android device by now. We should've had multiple form factors, different carriers, and countless options by now. There has to be a reason.

What do you guys think? Do you think this speculation is feasible? Any theories of your own? Tell us in the comments!

Casey Chan