This article on Ars Technica ponders the mystery of why there are so few Honeycomb-specific applications on Google's marketplace. They are comparing the situation with the iPad which had almost 1000 apps on launch day. I can agree with the speculation that some developers are waiting to create proper tablet versions of their apps rather than simply making their current phone apps fill a larger screen.
However, this statement jumped out at me:
And even if developers wanted to create such a “true tablet experience,” they’re hard-pressed to do it without the source code for Honeycomb, which Google is currently keeping a tight reign over.
Last I checked, there's no source code available for the vast majority of iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, etc. all of which have a vibrant developer community. Let's be realistic, people usually download an open source library's source code if the documentation is insufficient or there's a bug that can't be worked around. How many Linux developers writing an end-user application are downloading and pouring over the Linux kernel or GCC library source code to get their job done? The notion that an OS's source code needs to be available to create applications that sufficiently leverage the platform is utterly ludicrous.
In my opinion, there are two good reasons why Honeycomb isn't flooded with apps now that it's available.
It is interesting that Google has been tightening the reigns on Android recently, and I hope that it will result in changes for the better. I don't believe it's at the point that it will scare developers away from the platform — yet. Frankly, if Google can figure out how to better monetize developer's efforts, it won't matter all that much anyway. Apple's closed-source iOS has already proven that. So far, it seems like Google's newly asserted authoritarianism is trying to bring consistency to and increase the appeal of the platform. Only time will tell.