Android 3.0 Honeycomb: more lockdowns coming

Android 3.0 Honeycomb: more lockdowns comingThere's definitely a change of mood going on over in Mountain View, where Google bakes up the latest Android treats for a public increasingly hungry for phones and tablets with the OS on board.

Once the symbol of open-source, Android is now being locked down to a tighter spec dictated by Google itself. Last week it was Android 3.0 Honeycomb being locked down to OEMs, and it seems there may be a lot more coming.

Google's big problem with Android is fragmentation. The speedy release cycle of new versions has left the market swamped with several different version of Android active at the same time, and with Honeycomb's introduction as a tablet-specific OS, the problem has only become worse.

According to DigiTimes, however, Google is debating the introduction of far tighter specs aimed at cutting down on fragmentation. The measures include the further standardisation of the Honeycomb software, as well as working with ARM on a single standardised Android 3.0 chipset.

Worse still, BusinessWeek quotes several sources in reporting that Google is getting increasingly picky about device makers using its software changing the code or applying their own visual interfaces on top.

We already know that the version of Honeycomb that's currently on duty doesn't allow for OEM customisation, but we believed that this was just until Android become settled enough on the tablet stage to open the doors. Now it seems that might not be the case at all.

Read more about: Android

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JanSt / MOD  Mar. 31, 2011 at 11:30

Yep... many open source advocates becried this last weeks. Especially in light of the fact that Google have frequently criticised competitors for being so locked down. Schmidt only recently told off handset makers for making it so difficult to gain root access...and that is just one tiny aspect. But, hey...Google are ad-space salesmen. What's 'a' today is 'b' tomorrow. Next?

traceline  Mar. 31, 2011 at 11:42

there's a world of difference between being open and "free for all" - I for one am happy about this (being a .net / java / android developer / android consumer) - as far as I'm concerned it can only be a good thing - how many times have we heard the community whinging about not getting the latest version of android / the manufacturer UI's being garbage... you can't have it both ways.

Google will retain enough control (which is their right to) to make sure the dross keeps out and the platform moves forward. The general users will only see good, the developers will have a more stable platform. I can't see why this is such a problem.

Also - just because they're bringing it back in house for now doesn't mean it'll stay there.

Frankly, if you dont like it there are other "open" alternatives.... iOS and RIM being great examples *chortle*

Johnmcl7  Mar. 31, 2011 at 13:03

I think you're misquoting Digitimes rather badly and misunderstood what they were saying. ARM do not design or license chipsets, they design and license the processor architectures which companies can then license to produce themselves. Companies can then license the processor as an off the shelf implementation and build their own chipset around it which is what Nvidia, TI and Samsung have done as all offer Cortex A9 SoC's mixed with different GPU's and other parts to produce the chipset. Other companies such as Qualcomm and Marvell have licensed the architecture and derived their own processors such as the Scorpion core in the Snapdragon which uses the same ARMv7 architecture as the Cortex A8/A9 but is significantly different in implementation again mixed with other parts to produce the final SoC.

From that point of view I don't see what Google aim to achieve with ARM themselves as they have a variety of different processors available, it's up to Google if they want to standardise around a certain platform such as the Tegra 2 system which Honeycomb was developed on.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 31, 2011 at 15:31

@traceline what about Maemo and Meego?
And I think 'whoever throws the first stone...' and all that does apply a bit to Google, eh? Of course they are all just scoundrels! You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a dodgy OS :p


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