May, 10 2011

We’re here at the Q&A session that followed Google’s exciting keynote at I/O in San Francisco and the very first question was something I wanted to hear about – where’s the Honeycomb source? If you don’t remember, Google came under scrutiny when rumors alleged they’d be holding Honeycomb’s source back to prevent fragmentation. They were accused of only offering the operating system to premier hardware partners.

They laid those rumors to rest, though, as they have confirmed that Honeycomb’s source was held back because they didn’t want users trying to squeeze it onto a phone. Ice Cream Sandwich – which was officially announced earlier today – brings the phone and tablet into one package and Google plans to publish source code for that as soon as they can after it’s launched.

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. I know people will say “if Android is truly open we should decide whether or not we want to squeeze a tablet OS onto a phone!” That’s a good argument, but Google is NEVER legally obligated to open source anything. There is obviously some loophole that is letting them hold back the Honeycomb source. Spin it anyway you want – it’s their decision. You can’t really be mad at them because they never once said they wouldn’t be controlling the ecosystem a little bit. Put those pitchforks down and just wait for Ice Cream Sandwich, folks.

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