While Google pride itself in its Android operating system for the level of openness without any limitations for the consumer’s benefit, there are other parties out there who beg to differ. This group would agree that Android is more open compared to iOS or Windows Phone, but when you place it alongside other open-source software such as Linux, Android falls behind. Right now, Google allows the Android operating system source code to be made available for any company or individual, where they can customize it according to their whims and fancies, but Google’s mobile suite — Gmail, the Android Market, and Google Maps amongst others remain closed sourced.
This might lead to the issue of fragmentation, where customers get confused whenever they pick up an Android-powered device that does not have access to the Android Market. Not only that, with custom skins and fragmentation, carriers as well as manufacturers could end up causing more harm than good to Google and Android brand names if they churn out some sub-par products. I guess you cannot really have the best of both worlds, and perhaps Google is still trying to achieve a careful balance here. Hopefully they succeed at it, too.