Sep 19

Google has closed availabili​ty of the source code to Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Google has closed availability of the source code to Android 3.0 Honeycomb, explaining that the tablet-oriented software was not ready for use on smartphones and that the company didn’t want outside developers or enthusiasts experimenting with it in unauthorized ways.
From my perspective, Google made this decision based on one or mix of the following reasons.
In accordance with its long-term strategy: Google claimed to outside its openness only because it was weak then and wanted to attract more supporters by sharing benefits. However, I bet from the beginning, Google did not really want to keep its openness strategy forever. In sharp contrast, as I mentioned in previous blog, Google in the very beginning intended to remove the monopoly on the side of device, intentionally causing fierce competitions. Now Google has got No.1 position in terms of smartphone OS and it does not have to keep openness strategy. The trend of homogenization has been irreversible. Countless SMEs of device makers and applications providers will follow Google even if google’s ever closest partners feel sad and choose to leave.
Reconsideration of Tablet market: Jobs is a business talent and once again proves his capability by accurately targeting Tablet market. Does anyone think of why Jobs persistently keep the gross margin of Apple over 60% while set the figure of iPad at 45% and then as low as 30% for iPad2? The answer is simple but explanation is complicated. The phone market is a mass market while Tablet market is a niche market. Apple can occupy 80% of Tablet market by setting GM of 30% while possibly stimulate the share of phone market to increase by only 15% by setting the same GM. Now the story of iPod is replaying on iPad and imposing tremendous hazard for other players. Google probably saw this situation and thus closed source code of Android 3.0 in attempt to support limited number of Tablet makers. Openness may cause cruel competition in price and quality and consequently damage the image of Android in the eyes of consumers.
A signal of unification to ecosystem: Google is cautions to send signal of unification to its ecosystem. WP7 is rising and Google has to avoid offending its important partners by sending the signal in the ecosystem of phone. However, the ecosystem of Tablet has not been well established. Google can do this and check the response of its partners.
For Motorola: Positive. Motorola can keep its leading position by keeping closest relationship with Google. Moreover, Motorola can leverage its advantages in industry device and solution and provide industry-oriented Tablets.
For other Android-based Tablet makers: Negative. Google may only select a few players to participate in Tablet market. Nevertheless, Google should consider avoiding fighting against with Apple in “common” Tablet market. Instead, segment market is huge. For example, Study Pad is a rising market. Device makers with wonderful ideas and some resources can talk with Google and try to gain support.