'Quality and consistency continue to be top priorities,'
says Google's VP of Engineering

Andy Rubin

Andy Rubin -- the father of Android -- has taken to the Android Developer blog to shed a little light on what's happening regarding Honeycomb, any changes in Google's open-source policy, and fragmentation. The post is titled "I think I'm having a Gene Amdahl moment," referring to the former IBM exec who coined the phrase "fear, uncertainty and doubt" -- aka FUD.  You'll definitely want to read the entire post, but we'll break it down here:

  • "We don’t believe in a 'one size fits all' solution. ... Quality and consistency continue to be top priorities."
  • "As always, device makers are free to modify Android to customize any range of features for Android devices."
  • "Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset architecture."
  • "We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready."

Again, those are just bullet points cherry picked by us. Read the entire post. And then take a deep breath and read it again. And while you might not like the answers -- or maybe you don't think really Rubin answered anything at all -- Rubin, and by extension Android and Google, did one thing we called for in last week's Android Central Podcast: cast a little transparency on what's been a bit of a murky period for Android's "open" nature. [Android Developer Blog]


Reader comments

Andy Rubin: No 'one-size-fits-all solution'


"Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or restrictions against customizing UIs." have you heard of a company called motorola? or maybe a carrier called verizon?

I think you are confusing Google Android with manufacturers/carriers Android. The AOSP is not locked down which allows manufacturers/carriers do as they wish, which can include locking it down for one reason or another. Google has nothing to do with that.

1. That's motos doing. Not google.
2. Verizon? What phone aside from the moto devices are locked? Bolt is tough but not locked. Its alot like the g2. Which is t-mobile. If anything, what at&t does with blocking sideloading should is way worse than anything vzw has done and should be stopped.

Sorry. Replied to the wrong post. Obviously meant for goblue

He means no restrictions on what can and cannot be done to the OS.. Pay closer attention to what is going on.

I'm not by any means a 'neck beard' and wasn't all that upset/concerned with the Honeycomb happenings. But this post did make me feel better for some reason. I wouldn't be opposed to Google holding back code for one reason or another as long as they had reason, and to me regaining control of Android is a pretty good reason.

If nothing else, at least we know they here the open source community.

After playing with 3.0 on the Xoom for several days now, I concur.

* There are little bugs scattered around.
* The vanilla is missing polished and useful widgets.
* Problems with WiFi getting DHCP again after sleeping.
* Gallery is STILL broken because it doesn't understand the concept of a directory TREE.
* Still no SD card....
* Market is still a huge letdown. From the ultimate search company we get a system that you can't search or filter by price, author, can't specify advanced search terms, can't control what/fields to search, can't sort by popularity, can't search comments, etc.
* They STILL have not learned how to freaking alphabetize the settings listings.
* Settings are not customizable enough and lack features.

Be that as it may, I'd have liked to see comment from you saying maybe you were wrong to take Bloomberg's stories as Gospel and running with them as an opportunity to drag google through the mud. Instead, more mud thrown from a different direction.

Sigh, I figured you were better than that.

Jerry, I hope this made you feel a little better. I'm glad to see them at least acknowledge the fallout in the Android community. And they said they wanted to be a bit transparent with us. Take it or leave it, they made more effort than carriers or manufacturers typically do in similar situations.

I've said it before, Honeycomb was rushed out and before Rubin and the Android team are going to put their baby on display for everyone to see, they will get it to a point where they're satisfied enough to share the work with everyone. I don't harbor any ill feelings about them doing this.

I stand next to my previous statement, google beds to take android back from carriers and manufacturers. Give it to the developers and keep it open but they need to pull in the reigns so when I buy an android phone I'm getting the android experienc, not android/blur/sense/whatever else they mutilate it with.

I think Google needs to tighten the reins a tad on the update policy. If an OEM wants to continue to have a Google blessed device then they can't drag their feet on older devices and their updates. Penalize past performance by withholding future blessings. It'll help them start cleaning this mess up, no matter if the OEM's or carriers are at fault it reflects on Google. They should also have a nice chat with carriers, why can't we have an unmolested device a la Apple? We as geeks will have to learn to slow down, scary thought I know. Apple iterates essentially once a year yet we're grumpy when we get two or three updates a year.

all they had to do was let everyone know upfront that it would be awhile before source was released. instead that were silent for over a month and only when people started complaining did they come forward and say they weren't releasing it yet.

i don't have a problem with the delay just with the lack of transparency.

Andy, a couple of things. 1. It's not FUD if your own actions cause the fallout your dealing with. 2. You continue to support Android on any device? As long as that device is made by HTC, Samsung, Moto, ect.... Right? I don't buy into this "we're the victim here" post from Google. They changed a policy and consumers will not have the same options for devices until Google feels like it's time. It probably doesn't change much though. I doubt we'll have a shortage of devices to play with this year. Who cares if there are a few less crapplets in the world?

Wow it's agenda time. What could his agenda be? Apple carried backward compatibility, till it got too expensive. Google's was open change is a path to new features. AND now btw mfgs your interface design efforts won't have to be continuous, we'll provide a stable design which won't change.
So the agenda is "upgrades without change". I'd love to sit on the board that ordered him to"

"As always, device makers are free to modify Android to customize any range of features for Android devices" ie. Locked bootloaders, meid's of rooted devices logged and denial of service. May not be Google's doing, but my next phone choice will be impacted by it.

Here here to that! After continued frustration with Verizon/Samsung & the Fascinate my wife paid the fee and with a little talking managed to schmooze an iPhone 4 out of Verizon and not alter her contract. Thus far I've stuck with this phone. But having come from AT&T & an iPhone 3g I do remember what it was like to have a nice clean & uncluttered interface that the carrier didn't load to the gills with bloat. All criticisms aside I like Android. But come May 2012 I'll be hard pressed to get another one if this update/fragmentation problem hasn't been booted in the bud. You listening Google?

The only problem I had with Google holding back the HC code was this: It didn't give independent devs a chance to try to put something together for phones. The reason they gave was that they didn't want carriers to put out a flawed version...however, they've still released source for every upgrade all the way to Gingerbread. As awesome as CM7 is, it's not ready for primetime...and it's GB! It's already been pushed to AOSP. What's up with that, Andy?

I honestly believe that, had they been given the code, a lot of us rooted folks would be running CyanogenMod Honeycomb right now.

Google says that they will release the code when it's ready for phones...the SDK was released, and had a semi decent phone ROM put together. If they had thrown devs the proper radio, we'd be running HC right now and waiting for the release of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Open-source software "(OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software." Definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software

Android as of now no longer meets the definition of open source. They are with holding production release versions of Android honeycomb. They aren't doing this for the sake of OS fragmentation, they are doing this so vendors/oems can charge the early adopter tax. Every version of Android before honeycomb has not been fully backed. Even gingerbread still lacks polish.

They worry about tablets and phones having a terrible Android experience, that is already happening (craplets). They worry about builds of honeycomb getting on phones, that is happening as well. This move was based on financial gain and nothing else, but Andy and company don't have the brass to state that. I don't think I'll be buying anymore Android based devices.