Google is failing to make good on that whole “we’re open” thing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google has decided to hold off on releasing Honeycomb code for developers because it isn’t “yet ready to be altered.” Google is usually generous with its Android source code, opening it up to developers and manufacturers early on, but things are apparently different when it comes to its tablet-optimized OS.
In an e-mail statement, Google claims that “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 public the source as soon as it’s ready.”
Fortunately, the decision to keep the code to itself a little while longer won’t affect the production and release of current manufacturing partners’ products. App builders as well can rest easy, as they don’t require Honeycomb’s code for their purposes.
There was some concern that this moved implied Google was attempting to keep a uniform Honeycomb branding throughout, and maybe head off some of that fragmentation name-calling. This would mean that Google would prevent tablet manufacturers from laying their own customs UIs on top of Honeycomb, which plenty currently do. Androinica got in touch with a Google rep who completely dismissed the idea, saying, “That rumor is inaccurate, there are no restrictions on custom UIs for Honeycomb whatsoever.” So at least for the moment, tablet-makers are free to layer away. But UI aside, Google isn’t giving any indication of when it plans to offer up Honeycomb’s code.