A parallel effort, named Tapas OS, is also derived from Android but similarly does nothing to benefit Google or other users of the Android platform. Launched by Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China, Tapas is also modified to support Chinese social networks, ebooks, video sites, search and other services that are not connected to Google.
Calling Tapas a version of Android is like calling Baidu a version of Google or Youku a version of YouTube. Like OMS, Tapas is an Android competitor. Speaking of Chinese efforts to replicate Western technologies, Lee said in a Wall Street Journal profile, “American companies often have a technology lead, as Google did. However Baidu evolved and became good enough.”
Lee announced deals with Sharp, Haier and Tianyu to license Tapas OS for phones aimed at China.
Macro-fragmentation of “Android”
How many of the 33 million “Android” handsets are actually benefitting Google and the users of Android platform (who benefit from a larger installed base for apps only if the installed base is actually made up of compatible devices) was not split out by Canalys. Clearly however, such a disclaimer would not need to have been made if the addition of those Chinese rivals had not been necessary to beat Nokia’s Symbian.
It’s also curious why OMS was not also counted as a Nokia or Microsoft platform if OPhone can claim API compatibility with those platforms in contrast to its inability to run Android apps, including Google’s. Doing so would have had an impact on the 615 percent growth reported for “Android.”
Gartner similarly counted blockbuster growth for Android in the third quarter of 2011, but relegated most of this growth into a bucket of “other” manufacturers. The top tier of recognizable Android makers, including HTC, Motorola and Samsung, all of which Google has partnered with to release new versions of Android, have all experienced far more moderate growth in sales numbers (or in the case of Motorola, shrinking sales).
That suggests most the growth in “Android” numbers is coming from no-name vendors selling devices in countries such as China, using devices that don’t support Google’s development of the OS (via ads or search services) nor even expand the platform in any meaningful way that could benefit Android users.