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Google keeping Honeycomb source code on ice, says it's not ready for other devices

Sean Hollister
03.24.11
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Itching to put some sweet, crunchy AOSP Honeycomb on your hardware of choice? You might have quite a wait, as BusinessWeek reports that Google will not release the Android 3.0 source code in the near future, and we just received confirmation of the same. Google forwarded us the following statement, which pretty much says it all:
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.
It's fairly clear that the company's motivation here is the same as it's been all along -- Google wants to restrict Android to the devices it was designed for. Though the company long insisted that earlier versions of Android were not for tablets, manufacturers quickly adapted the source code to slates anyhow, and we can imagine the company wasn't thrilled some of the middling results. At that time, Google's only weapon was to deny access to Gmail, Maps and Android Market, which it did liberally (with a few exceptions to the rule) but this time it sounds like it's simply withholding the "entirely for tablet" source code instead of sending cease-and-desist letters out. Another explanation, however, could just be that Honeycomb's not ready for primetime without some OEM help -- last we checked, smartphone support was a far cry from final, and even the finished Motorola Xoom still has a few software kinks to work out. Here's hoping a nice cold bowl of Ice Cream will smooth things over with the open source community before long.

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