Google Keeps Cards Close to Chest with Honeycomb Source Code

By Michelle Amodio March 25, 2011

Google is just not ready to share its Honeycomb source code. The latest in its Android OS offering, Honeycomb 3.0’s source code is behind closed doors to developers because Google doesn’t feel it’s quite ready.

The company, whose open-source philosophy distinguishes it from proprietary software vendors such as Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion, said that it has more work to do before the mobile operating system is ready for certain types of devices, including smartphones.

"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," a Google spokesperson said to

"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."

Google’s Andy Rubin told BusinessWeek that Google has made the decision to keep the Honeycomb source code under wraps because it doesn't want hardware vendors to adapt it to run on other form factors where it might not function properly. Rubin says that Google cut corners during Honeycomb's development in an effort to rush it to market. He believes that widespread adoption at this stage in usage scenarios that Google didn't anticipate would lead to a very negative user experience.

"Android is an open-source project," he said. "We have not changed our strategy."

Earlier this month, free software activist Richard Stallman warned that Google would apply proprietary practices to Android.

“The source code of Android is free as Google releases it, but they use a non-copyleft licence, except in the case of Linux,” he said. “This doesn’t protect users from lockdown, or Google-isation, which is the practice of making a program non-free by stopping the user from installing his own version.”

Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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