It’s hands off Google’s Android 3.0 ('Honeycomb') for tablets, at least for the time being, and developers - some developers at least - are spooked.

Some see Google’s decision to delay the source code release for the tablet-oriented OS for months at least as a betrayal of open source principles of fair access, and they might have a point on that score. 

The thing is this. Android could eventually become the biggest operating system in the world by some distance, and perhaps important enough to match the influence of Windows thanks to a design that can power a wide range of devices, some not even invented yet.

The potential chaos of this has obviously spooked Google, worried about a fragmented user experience customised by every developer, across multiple devices, and over time. Google is right to be a bit anxious, even at this early stage.

Android has always been open source Lite, a platform that serves Google’s larger needs to build a mobile OS in its own image but with the help of third-party developers and users who get more out of its (the theory goes) that the wholly closed pursued by Apple and Microsoft.

And the suggestion that Google is doing an Apple on developers is ridiculous. Apple is a company that wouldn’t even countenance having a discussion about the weather never mind its source code. You can write apps for Apple as and when it says you can and on its terms, however they are constructed.

Smartphone developers will just have to do without Android 3.0 until Google catches up with its own tail. But catch up it will because it cannot possibly turn back.