Google has made a habit of releasing the source code for each version of its Android operating system within days or weeks of the day when the first products start shipping with the OS. But while the Motorola XOOM tablet with Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb has been available for weeks, the Honeycomb source code has been missing in action. And according to Business Week, we should probably get used to that.
Business Week reports that Google will delay the distribution of the source code because the company’s not ready to let third party developers alter the source. Apparently some companies haven’t gotten the memo — Samsung has already announced plans to offer two tablets with a customized version of Android 3.0 called TouchWiz 4.0.
The good news is that the reason Google wants to hold the source code tight for now is because the company knows that Honeycomb isn’t well designed for smartphones, and Andy Rubin tells Business Week that the goal is to prevent carriers from putting the tablet OS on phones “creating a really bad user experience.”
The bad news is that Google has been a long-time champion of the open source ethos, and this move is going to make it harder for phone makers, wireless carriers, and independent developers to dig into the code to find ways to make the OS better, make it fit their needs, or do new or unusual things with the app or with third party apps that tightly integrate with the operating syste,.