Google defends Android openness

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Google defends Android openness

Google says it is still open after critics questioned its handling of Honeycomb source code.

Google has defended its open reputation after claims the tech giant had adopted a more closed approach over the development of Android 3.0.

Andy Rubin, Google vice president of engineering, said the firm had “remained committed to fostering the development of an open platform for the mobile industry and beyond.”

Last week, Google came under fire after it told mobile manufacturers and providers they had to go through Rubin before any changes could be made to Android.

The Silicon Valley giant said it didn’t want the platform to become too “fragmented.”

Open software advocates and mobile firms bemoaned the decision, with some complaining to the US Justice Department, according to a Business Week report citing a source familiar with the matter.

“Our ‘anti-fragmentation’ programme has been in place since Android 1.0 and remains a priority for us to provide a great user experience for consumers and a consistent platform for developers,” Rubin said yesterday in a blog post.

“In fact, all of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance agreed not to fragment Android when we first announced it in 2007. Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customising UIs. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardise the platform on any single chipset architecture.”

Last week, Google also delayed handing out the source code for Android 3.0, otherwise known as Honeycomb, an OS designed with tablets in mind.

The company claimed it did not want to release the code until it was ready for different kinds of devices, not just tablets.

“We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready,” Rubin added.

“As I write this the Android team is still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones. As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code. This temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy.”

This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk

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