Google says that Android will remain an open platform

Google has responded to reports of growing tension between it and device manufacturers over what many view as Mountain View’s efforts to lock down the Android operating system. With Google  requiring that manufacturers gain permission before making alterations or partnerships based on Android, some commentators are claiming that this represents a move towards Apple’s walled garden approach.

Executives at companies such as LG, Toshiba and Samsung – all active in the Android space – are said to be increasingly concerned with developments such as Google’s decision not to release the source code for Honeycomb, the latest version of the Android platform. Previous iterations of the operating system have been made available to all. According to Google, however, this was because tablet-focused Honeycomb is not designed to be used on smartphones, but work is now underway to make that possible. “As soon as this work is completed, we’ll publish the code,” said Google VP Andy Rubin on the official Android developer blog.

Rubin stated further that the company remains “committed to fostering the development of an open platform for the mobile industry and beyond,” adding that “this temporary delay does not represent a change in strategy.” Google said that, while device makers are free to modify Android to customise any range of features for their devices, “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.”

Apparently responding to suggestions of favouritism in terms of its decision to initially release Honeycomb exclusively on Motorola’s  Xoom tablet, Google said that “there are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardise the platform on any single chipset architecture.” The company stated that it remained “firmly committed to providing Android as an open source platform across many device types.”

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