In essence, is Android open source because it is a Trojan Horse? Is it because Google can leverage its "services" on pocketable devices better, and reap the adsense dollars?
There is an ethics discussion here, which may prove his beardedness Mr Stallman was right all along. A question of Honesty.
So, the term "Open Source" does not carry the political baggage that goes along with the term "Free Software".
If Android has closed key components, it is not Open. Not all the way.
Now we know the Draconian iphone OS(X) is tightly closed, and jealously guarded. Another "closed" handheld OS, the Windows Mobile, is also protected by copyrights, but practically is as open and extensible as can be, provided that the core is paid for. They are very dissimilar in essence (I am not talking about kludginess, user interface zen, control freakishness or reality distortion fields) : I can legally have a home-made app/python script running on one, and not the other. But both operating systems, for better or worse, are proprietary.
Now these two are honest. They make no pretense of being "Open". You can't -at your whim- disassemble, modify and redistribute them legally.
Operating systems are much like political systems. You live "under" them, use their services, pay their dues, obey their rules, try to live with their idiosyncracies. On the scale of freedom of action, the (according to the users anyway) nirvana of iphone is a fascist dictatorship, windows mobile is a red-tape bound bureucratic but mostly benign monarcy.
Free Software is akin to a democracy -bordering on polite political anarchy- where the individual has all the options (but one - turn it into a totalitarian one), also including unwise choices.
So now it turns out Android was not as Open as was promised. Cease-and-desist is a bad way to point this out, especially for a company that has such a wonderful "Do No Evil" motto. I am sure many a workable solution was possible. Anything that wasn't as litigously trigger happy as a C&D.
But at the end of the day the fact I wrote this and you have read it proves only we are Geeks. People largely don't care for such issues. So they will buy iphones for the fart jokes and the games and the occasional cool/useful/slick app and mostly for the image/me too factor; Crackberries for the battery life and the thumbboard and actually the company e-mail tethered leash; windows mobile for exchange and windows compatibility and the tinkering; palm pre for the cool factor/Saab owner creds; Android for Google geekery; and finally Nokia/Samsung/LG/SE "dumbphone" as the smart choice: maybe the camera and walkman - but actually the phone. You know, to talk to people and stuff.