Why is Google withholding Android 3.0 from Developers?

Paul Lilly

Google became an open source champion of sorts when it introduced its Android platform to the world. The search giant then took it a step further by mostly turning a blind eye to third party developers who saw fit to hack the OS and build their own custom ROMs. Now we're hearing that Google is restricting access to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), shunning developers who don't have a special agreement in place to build tablets around Honeycomb. The ones that get the nod are mostly large corporations, like Motorola. What gives?

According to MobileBurn.com , the reason for this is that Google doesn't feel Android 3.0 is quite ready for outside developers to play with. Because Honeycomb was built from the ground up for tablets, Google also doesn't feel it should be hacked and molded for smartphones, which third party developers would surely try and do.

"To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs," explains Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google. "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."

The shortcut means smaller developers and low-key manufacturers will have to wait, lest Google make the code public. If it did that, Google would have no way of stopping developers from putting Honeycomb on a number of devices, including smartphones, and the concern there is that it could translate into a bad user experience, Rubin says.

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