Google Inc. (GOOG)
VP of Engineering Andy Rubin, better known as the
Android team leader, posted a blog to the Android Developers site, entitled "I
think I’m having a Gene Amdahl moment". In the article he seemed
quite upset about the reaction to Honeycomb in the press.
He accuses the press of spreading
"misinformation...about Android and Google’s role in supporting the
On the issue of customization, he says that
reports of Google blocking Android from going on certain devices are
inaccurate/incomplete. He says that Google does have basic
compatibility requirements that device makers must meet to be
But he says that basic restriction is necessary
to fight fragmentation and that there are no further restrictions on the
source. He writes, "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, he turns to perhaps the most contentious
issue of all -- the decision to temporarily close Android
("Honeycomb") 3.0's source. He writes:
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.
It's unclear how this differs from story that we
and other sites related to readers, based on Mr. Rubin's Bloomberg
Businessweek interview in which
he revealed the source is temporarily closing. We write:
The company states that the code isn't
ready yet for external
modification, despite the fact that products are being sold with it installed,
today...Despite that the decision to temporarily close the source may benefit Google
and its customers experience, not everyone is happy with it.
As for the question of devices, it seems that
Mr. Rubin is tiptoeing around the issue that Android Honeycomb in its current form is not allowed
on smartphones. Google may eventually allow it to go on smartphones,
but for now the law of the land appears to be that Honeycomb is exclusively for
tablets. Smartphones currently are relegated Android
"Gingerbread" 2.3, assuming their makers and carriers are kind enough
to roll out updates from Android "Froyo" 2.2.
quote: you can't get involved in development and you can't modify your phone's OS. You can't even legally upgrade it if the manufacturer doesn't approve first.