Very, very interesting move on Google’s part here, but it might be too little too late. According to Andy Rubin, Mr. All-Things-Android at Google, it is going to be some time before Google releases Honeycomb to the community. What’s that you say? We’re already seeing Honeycomb devices out there and promised. That’s right. The big boys who already have agreements with Google, (Samsung, Motorola, HTC) all have access to Honeycomb and indeed are pushing Honeycomb tablets.
It’s the smaller Tablet-wanna-be’s that are going to have to wait here. Essentially Rubin is saying that Honeycomb was rushed to market. That’s been the observation of many since it debuted on the Motorola Xoom. Here’s a quote from Bloomberg Businessweek:
“To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs. We didn’t want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut.”
On many levels this move by Google makes sense even in the spirit of Open Source, of which Rubin says Android definitely still is. But you can also say the horse is out of the barn. (Or is that the bee out of the hive?) Samsung is talking about its enhancements to Android for its next Tablets and they got good strokes for the first edition of that on the original Galaxy Tab. That’s going to create some confusion, just like the Xoom’s “not-ready-for-primetime” rep already does.