Honeycomb has been out for awhile now, about a month or so, and yet the source code has not been released to the public. As of late, rumors of Google tightening it’s control over the Android OS have been floating around, mostly directed at manufacturers and their user interface overlays that they stick on their devices most of the time.
Finally, the main man himself, Andy Rubin, has come forth to defend the delay of Honeycomb’s source being released. The reason? They rushed the tablet optimized version for the XOOM release. In his statement, Andy Rubin addresses the whole open source issue (via Android Dev Blog) and whether they are closing that off to manufacturers and why is hasn’t been released yet.
According to the statement, the rush release of Honeycomb was for the XOOM tablet and while it runs great, they are working on a non-tablet optimized version of Honeycomb for phones which is the reason it isn’t released yet. The code isn’t ready for release.
“We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready.” he said.
“As I write this the Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code. This temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy.”
He goes on to say this regarding custom user interfaces:
Currently there is debate going on whether these defenses regarding the lack of Honeycomb source being released just yet are strong enough. The fact that Rubin has come out to address this though is a good sign. You can read Rubin’s full response below.
Website Referenced: AllThingD
Recently, there’s been a lot of misinformation in the press about Android and Google’s role in supporting the ecosystem. I’m writing in the spirit of transparency and in an attempt to set the record straight. The Android community has grown tremendously since the launch of the first Android device in October 2008, but throughout we’ve remained committed to fostering the development of an open platform for the mobile industry and beyond.
We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” solution. The Android platform has already spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices – many of which were not originally contemplated when the platform was first created. What amazes me is that the even though the quantity and breadth of Android products being built has grown tremendously, it’s clear that quality and consistency continue to be top priorities. Miraculously, we are seeing the platform take on new use cases, features and form factors as it’s being introduced in new categories and regions while still remaining consistent and compatible for third party applications.
As always, device makers are free to modify Android to customize any range of features for Android devices. This enables device makers to support the unique and differentiating functionality of their products. If someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, we do require the device to conform with some basic compatibility requirements. (After all, it would not be realistic to expect Google applications – or any applications for that matter – to operate flawlessly across incompatible devices). Our “anti-fragmentation” program has been in place since Android 1.0 and remains a priority for us to provide a great user experience for consumers and a consistent platform for developers. In fact, all of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance agreed not to fragment Android when we first announced it in 2007. Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset architecture.
Finally, we continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready. As I write this the Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code. This temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy. We remain firmly committed to providing Android as an open source platform across many device types.
The volume and variety of Android devices in the market continues to exceed even our most optimistic expectations. We will continue to work toward an open and healthy ecosystem because we truly believe this is best for the industry and best for consumers.