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Open Source Cloud: Article

Google Finds Open Source Has Its Limits, Rations Android

The proprietary decision reportedly won’t affect companies about to put out an Android 3.0 tablet

Contrary to its supposed open source belief system, Google is rationing Honeycomb, the tablet-optimized version of Android, ostensibly to keep it out of the hands of people who might customize it.

Supposedly the widgetry isn't ready to be messed with.

The proprietary decision reportedly won't affect companies about to put out an Android 3.0 tablet like Dell, HTC, Acer and Samsung. It won't affect games makers either since they don't need the source code.

IDC told Dow Jones the brand-protecting, user experience-guarding move seems to be directed at "low-cost hardware makers that might try to push aggressively into the tablet market by cutting corners and lowering prices."

Google is quoted as saying, "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. 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 publish the source as soon as it's ready."

When that will be exactly is unclear. BusinessWeek, which broke the story, suspects it's several months. And that doesn't exactly explain how come the Open Handset Alliance reportedly has access to the stuff even though it's not supposed to work on phones because of what Google called design tradeoffs or shortcuts.

Meanwhile, RIM Thursday confirmed that it's going to support Android 2.3 and earlier apps as well as Java apps on its QNX-based Playbook tablet complements of so-called "app players." The dingus goes on sale April 19. The apps will be supplied by RIM's BlackBerry App World online store.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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