updated 01:45 am EDT, Fri March 25, 2011
Google not sharing Android 3 source to public yet
Google in an interview saidthat it wasn't giving out the source code to Android 3.0 for well after the launch. Engineering VP Andy Rubin claimed to BusinessWeek that it could be months away as the code had been rushed to make the Xoom launch date. The design was optimized almost exclusively for tablets and would likely work very poorly on phones, but with few controls to developers to prevent them from working it in
"We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones," he explained. "It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."
Rubin insisted that the company had "not changed [its] strategy" and was committed to open-source code, but critics have argued that Google's approach has been insincere and usually favored itself. Most Android releases have followed a pattern of handing out source code only months after its use in a shipping device and only for certain milestone releases. The approach gives Google's major hardware partners like LG, Motorola, and Samsung unfair advantages by letting them develop early while punishing smaller companies that are depending on the source code to get started.
In filtering the release, however, Google is also showing an instance of monitoring the quality of the experience on Android instead of hoping developers provide it themselves. Rubin at one point celebrated unwanted apps as a positive because they were allegedly proof the OS was open, even though users were blocked from removing the apps. Android 3.0 is Google's key play in tablets and likely has the search giant eager to preserve the core experience as much as possible early on before allowing others; the first customizations won't arrive until the summer and the new Galaxy Tab line. Apple has often pushed its at times limited but more consistent approach to a high level of success.
It isn't until the next version of Android, Ice Cream, that Google might start to truly unify its phone and tablet platforms.