Android still open insists Google's Andy Rubin; Anti-fragmentation rumors are FUD

Google's Andy Rubin has stepped up to address concerns over Android fragmentation and rumors that the search giant is clamping down on modifications to the open-source OS. Challenging reports last week that Google had embarked on a new, stricter policy toward manufacturers altering Android, giving priority to those companies who left the OS in its untampered state, Rubin insisted that there was no "one size fits all" solution and that the delay in releasing the Android 3.0 Honeycomb source code "does not represent a change in strategy."

Instead, Rubin says, Android developers are "still hard at work to bring all the new Honeycomb features to phones" and that "as soon as this work is completed, we'll publish the code." As for talk of preventing modifications in the name of anti-fragmentation, Rubin argues that the program has in fact been in place since Android 1.0, and that all of the founding Open Handset Alliance members signed up to the policy back in 2007.

Manufacturers are free to modify Android, he insists, but if they want to use the suite of Google apps then they must adhere to a set of basic compatibility requirements. "Miraculously," Rubin says, "we are seeing the platform take on new use cases, features and form factors as it's being introduced in new categories and regions while still remaining consistent and compatible for third party applications." It's not clear how that sits with developers recently describing Android fragmentation as a "huge" problem.