Honeycomb (Android 3.0) source code unavailable to developers

Google’s version of Android made specifically for tablets, Honeycomb has been out for sometime now, even though it’s currently available only on one tablet, the Motorola Xoom (and it’s wifi only version). Well, Business Week now reports that the distribution of the source code to developers will be delayed.

Android is (supposed to be) based on on an open source model, wherein the source code for its OS and each update is availabe to the General Public. Google’s reason for delaying the release is that it believes that this version is not yet ready to be altered by outside developers, and also that it’s afraid that honeycomb will get shoehorned into phones, for which it is not optimized. This would lead to a bad user experience of the OS (and the device in use of course).

Andy Rubin, head of the Android Divison of Google had this to say:

“To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs. We didn’t want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut.”

What that means is that apart from the Big Guns who have announced their Honeycomb based devices (such as the aforemention Xoom and Samsung’s Galaxy tab), smaller manufacturers will not be able to bring honeycomb to their existing or newer products soon. It also means that developers, who have been optimizing their applications for honeycomb based on emulators, will not be able to develop the killer applications that one would expect for tablets, since they have no access to the source! So, the number of apps for Honeycomb aren’t going to increase anytime soon.

Well done El Goog.


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Source: Businessweek, ZDnet

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Raghu Kannan

Drummer, Car enthusiast and wanna be rally driver, between jobs and loving it! @raghukannan

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