Android phones running OS 2.1 or 2.2 now represent more than three quarters of all handsets on the market, says Google's latest platform version report. Though handsets with OS 1.5 or 1.6 haven't disappeared yet, yesterday's report has led some to suggest that fragmentation is winding down.
Released monthly, the report breaks down the various versions of Android to help developers decide how they want to code their applications. And, of course, it's a great way to gauge platform fragmentation.
Android 2.1 "Eclair" still leads the pack at 40.8 percent of all handsets but 2.2 "Froyo" is right behind at 36.2 percent. I expect to see these two battle it out for the lead over the coming weeks, with Froyo possibly coming out on top. Just in the last few weeks, a slew of Froyo-enabled phones have come onto the market, including the T-Mobile G2, T-Mobile MyTouch 4G, T-Mobile Comet, and LG Optimus T. Also, older phones such as the MyTouch 3G continue to jump from 1.6 to 2.2.
Last year's 1.5 and 1.6 updates continue to dwindle, now accounting for a combined 23 percent of the market. Though Sanyo introduced the Sanyo Zio with 1.6 in late September, Motorola finally has begun testing and rolling out Android 2.1 to its Cliq. Perhaps Cupcake will finally be considered a legacy release in the next few months.
As good as these figures might be for Android's image, we're not quite ready to celebrate the death of fragmentation. Gingerbread and Honeycomb announcements are right around the corner, and with them, new handsets. CES 2011 is but a few months away; there, device makers and carriers will be showing off the latest and greatest in both hardware as well as software. If and when Android builds slow to around one per year, then we can start lighting candles.