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BREAKING STORY: On the day that Apple is launching their new iPad 2, arch competitor Google, has said that they are set to limit access to their Android Honeycomb OS, a move that could hurt several manufacturers who are planning on launching cheap Honeycomb based tablets.The decision appears to be a move by Google to control the quality of the tablet devices that their software is used with. 

Among the vendors who won’t be affected are Motorola, Samsung, Dell, HTC and Acer –  all vendors who are currently in the throes of launching new Honeycomb based tablets into the Australian market.

According to the Wall Street Journal Google will temporarily limit access to the newest version of its Android software, a move that runs counter to the open-source philosophy on which the Internet giant has based its popular mobile operating system.

A Google representative said the source code for the newest version of Android, which is dubbed Honeycomb and built specifically for tablets, won’t be shared because the software isn’t yet ready to be altered and customised for a variety of devices.

“Google is trying to limit any damage potential by granting access to those companies that work well with Google in order to preserve the experience,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

She said Google appears to be taking steps to protect its brand from low-cost hardware makers that might try to push aggressively into the tablet market by cutting corners and lowering prices.

“While we’re excited to offer these new features to Android tablets,” the Google representative said, “we have more work to do before we can deliver them to other device types including phones. Until then, we’ve decided not to release Honeycomb to open source.”

More to follow.

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