Google's Rubin defends Android's open source cred

Google's Android chief Andy Rubin took on reports that Android is stepping away from an open source strategy, but doesn't address specifics.

Google's Android chief Andy Rubin took on reports that Android is stepping away from an open source strategy.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported last week that Google was taking tighter control of Android to end fragmentation. The upshot: Partners needed permission from Google to tweak Android.

In a blog post, Rubin said the following:

  • "We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” solution. The Android platform has already spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices – many of which were not originally contemplated when the platform was first created. What amazes me is that the even though the quantity and breadth of Android products being built has grown tremendously, it’s clear that 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. This enables device makers to support the unique and differentiating functionality of their products. If someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, we do require the device to conform with some basic compatibility requirements.
  • Our “anti-fragmentation” program 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.
  • We continue to be an open source platform and will continue releasing source code when it is ready. 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."

What's most interesting here is that Rubin doesn't address the specifics from BusinessWeek's article. Among them:

  • Did Google hold up Verizon phones over Bing integration?
  • Has Google started enforcing its anti-fragmentation program more?
  • And does Facebook need Google's approval for its code tweaks?

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