For some time Google has been perceived as the darling of the net, the tech company that can do no wrong. Yet the company's controversial Android mobile platform venture threatens to seriously dent this notion.
For many in the closely linked 'Androidsphere', Google's announcement seemed to come out of nowhere, stinging keenly and contradicting the company's vaunted developer-friendly reputation. Borders believes that Google's decision violated an open source guiding principle.
"The idea with open source software is to allow early adopters access to the buggier pieces of code so they can help fix them or let people who want to wait for a solid release the ability to do that," he says. "The key is choice, and Google has taken away that choice and is developing Android like every other piece of closed software."
Jack Gold, an independent technology analyst, believes that Google's mobile game plan is "strategically flawed". He notes that the company's goals are contradictory: to create an open mobile platform, yet still be able to exercise control over the quality of Android applications. Gold believes that Google's fundamental problem is that it has managed to put the cart before the horse.
"Rather than trying to push yet another platform, Google ought to be bringing the market together and building applications, which is where they're going to make their money," he says.
"The developer discontent is just part of what has turned out to be a flawed strategy."
But Rob Enderle, an independent technology analyst, says he understands why Google chose to restrict access to the latest Android SDK.
"It's the very same reason why Apple didn't do third-party developers first, and that's to assure the process and the program and the quality that's initially being offered," he says.
"They're pretty sure they can get 50 quality applications."
Independent developer Novak also doesn't view Google's SDK decision as a misstep, given the pressure the company faces.
"The community must not forget that Google is dealing with partners in the cell phone industry, and they certainly have a reputation of a closed-source, tight-lipped mentality," he says.
"The community can cry foul if Google releases the newest SDK to developers a week before handsets hit the stores, but as far as I have heard that is far from the truth."
NEXT PAGE: Bad timing: iPhone and Symbian steal the show
- Has pushing back the SDK angered the development community
- How the 'Androidsphere' has reacted to Google's announcement
- Bad timing: iPhone and Symbian steal the show
- Limited distribution alternatives