While Google has traditionally touted the open-source nature of the Android OS, the company is preparing to veer in the opposite direction for Honeycomb, the latest version of the operating system.
Instead of opening up the operating system to developers both large in small, Google will restrict Honeycomb to specific manufacturers and developers. Google vice president Andy Rubin said that the move is the result of Google’s hesitation about developers porting Honeycomb to smartphones, which the OS wasn’t designed for.
This is in direct opposition to the company’s previous practices, which included giving developers access to the source code months ahead of everyone else. Instead, Google will now privilege large companies like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola, all of which have already gained access to the Honeycomb code.
Rubin said that design concessions also fueled Google’s decision to restrict Honeycomb to tablets. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable,” Rubin said of making the latest version of Android compatible with smartphones.
However, Rubin did emphasize that Android remains an open-source project in spite of the shift in policy.