Android Honeycomb isn’t designed for smartphones. Andy Rubin and the Android Team have made that perfectly clear, but in case there was still any confusion, the man overseeing Google’s mobile OS has clarified why developers have yet to see the source code for the tablet-specific version of Android. While the Motorola XOOM is already available with Honeycomb on board and developers have already managed to squeeze out builds of the operating system for all sorts of Android devices out of an SDK preview, Google is not releasing the full Honeycomb source out of fears that developers may attempt to code Android 3.0 onto phones, resulting in a “really bad user experience.”
“Rubin says that if Google were to open-source the Honeycomb code now, as it has with other versions of Android at similar periods in their development, it couldn’t prevent developers from putting the software on phones “and creating a really bad user experience. We have no idea if it will even work on phones.”
“Android is an open-source project,” he adds. “We have not changed our strategy.”
The quick turnaround of Honeycomb is the reason cited, with Rubin clarifying that the Android Team had no time to worry about any implementation of the new OS version other than the one headed to tablets. The withholding of Honeycomb from the public is sure to once again raise questions as to whether or not Google is really playing the open source game fairly, or if they are choosing to play by their own rules.
UPDATE: Here’s what a Google spokesperson had to say on the matter.
“Android 3.0, Honeycomb, was designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes and improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization. While we’re excited to offer these new features to Android tablets, we have more work to do before we can deliver them to other device types including phones. Until then, we’ve decided not to release Honeycomb to open source. We’re committed to providing Android as an open platform across many device types and will publish the source as soon as it’s ready.”