I am known for sometimes glancing over important details (or worse, misinterpreting certain things), and I’m afraid I am having such moment with Andy Rubin’s post in which he tries to dispel FUD about Android Honeycomb, transparency and Google’s policies. Because I can’t understand how is his response a response.
Specifically, as I understand, people are complaining that Google is keeping Android Honeycomb “too close to the chest”. A few manufacturers have access to it, but regular developers do not, source code is not released, and generally there are some body movements along the line of “it’s not ready yet” and “we don’t want it to be used for phones”.
Yes, Google is free to not release anything. It’s their code, they’ve spent tremendous amount of resources to get the Android up and running and present at least some kind of competition to Apple/WindowsPhone/Symbian (RIP). But excuses for current situation, where Honeycomb does exist but is not out of the development grinder, is at least puzzling.
If it’s not ready, just keep it as beta. Let other developers and UI specialists poke at it and run custom builds and make it better. Unless code is so ugly, the development team is extra ashamed of it, and pretty much declared an ultimatum — don’t release it until we make it pretty inside.
The whole “not for phones” thing also seems to be quite odd. Yes, your stated minimal requirements are probably too big for any handsets on the market. But gurus from XDA Developers already know how to port Honeycomb. Heck, they ported it on HTC HD2. So also, highly suspicious.
Or maybe all of my worries and suspicions are unwarranted, and Google simply wants to avoid beta escaping into the wild (even with a beta moniker ) and that in a bit, the source code will be out in the wild, developers will start hacking it onto older devices and advanced users will have yet another software toy to play with. Basically, a utopia.
I hope so! Especially as Motorola’s Xoom pretty much bombed in retail for now (100,000 units sold is respectable as long as you don’t glance at Apple, whose iPad Xoom was supposedly replacing in the eyes of the users). And unless Moto will release a very cheap version there’s almost no chance of having broad market appeal for a Honeycomb device.