Reiterating what the company has been saying about Android 4.0, Google's Dan Morrill said today that the Ice Cream Sandwich source code would be made available to the general public "soon," after the software begins appearing on new and existing Android devices.

The source code for Android 3.0 was never made available - Google's official reasoning for this is that it didn't want the tablet-oriented Honeycomb code running on smaller screens, though others have suggested (as we noted in our review of the Xoom) that Honeycomb seemed to be a bit rushed at the time of release. Most of the focus on Ice Cream Sandwich so far has concerned what it will do for phones, but for tablets it's likely to represent an iteration of Honeycomb with more polish and fewer rough edges.

The lack of Honeycomb source code has been criticized by the open source community, which often takes advantage of Android's "openness" relative to iOS or Windows Phone 7 to develop custom Android distributions for all kinds of devices, including some (like the HP TouchPad) for which it was never really intended. Once its source code is released, Ice Cream Sandwich should give these developers a more modern and robust platform to start from.

Source: Ars Technica

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