Android gets closed-minded

Another week, another Android public relations fiasco. This time around, Google is catching all kinds of hell from the mobile community for secretly making a new version of the Android OS SDK available to Android Developer Challenge finalists under non-disclosure agreements. Last week, Google employee David McLaughlin sent notification that a new SDK release, build 84853, is now available via the private ADC download site. But McLaughlin mistakenly mailed the message to a public Android mailing list when in fact it was intended solely for the eyes of ADC Round Two entrants. Other Android developers, already frustrated by the absence of recent Android SDK updates and some lingering software bugs, are understandably incensed to discover they're being shut out of a platform touted for its adherence to open-source principles--worse, they're forced to continue working on the same version of the SDK released months ago.   

That's assuming they're still working on Android development at all, of course. Over at the Android Discuss Google Groups message board, a few developers have suggested they're walking away from the platform and not coming back. Another is publicly petitioning Google to make available Android SDK information or updates. Developers want answers, and they deserve them. "The problem is [Google] failed to nurture the relationship with the development community," writes developer Ken Adair in an Android Discuss post. "They have cut them off from the information that was once flowing and left them to speculate and wonder. In response, you are seeing many that feel cheated and betrayed." Google has in effect transformed the Android development culture into a kind of private club accessible only to the ADC finalists--everyone else is stuck on the wrong side of the velvet rope. So much for an open platform. -Jason