Yes, Android has a forking problem. Google forked its mobile, open-source operating system into two versions: Android 2.x for smartphones and Android 3.x for tablets earlier this year. It also doesn’t help Android any that there are so many different supported versions out in the market. But, what Amazon and Baidu are doing with their forthcoming tablets has nothing to do with forking Android.
Let’s take a closer look at these so-called “forks” shall we? From what we know of the forthcoming Android Kindle tablet, it’s going to be running Android. I expect it to be running Android 3.x Honeycomb, but since the initial model will be a 7? display tablet it could run say Android 2.3.3 or 2.3.4.
Let me underline that, the Amazon Kindle, despite what you may read elsewhere, is going to be running Android. The interface, however, will be different from the ones we currently see on other Android smartphones and tablets. Specifically, it’s going to be designed to work well with Amazon’s Web site and Amazon-branded applications.
That doesn’t make it a fork. Indeed, that’s no more a “fork” of Android than using KDE 4.x, GNOME 3, or Unity as your desktop GUI forks Linux. You’re simply choosing to use a different desktop. Under the surface, it’s still Linux.