Originally Posted by PatNY
But how would a small fee have stopped its growth? They could have started out charging a small fee for each handset with android sold, and then dropped the fee if sales weren't strong.
For most brand-name devices, they do get a small fee per device sold. [Or at least could, they might negotiate a flat fee instead.]
For off-brand devices, they don't.
Now with the rise of devices like the Kindle Fire, that don't include the full 'Android experience', the 'not' proportion has grown to include 'prestige' devices, rather than just cheap ones.
And what are the non-free portions of android that the OEMs put on their phones?
Google Play and the other Google apps.
The OS is open-source and free, the apps are not.