The Silicon Valley Mercury News recently spent some time speaking with Android founder and Google VP, Andy Rubin where naturally, the subject of "fragmentation" and the rapid succession of Android releases came up. Rubin acknowledged the quick growth of the platform and the problems developers face with such speedy innovation, but said Google is slowing development over the next few months. After eight releases in the first 18 months of the OS, Google is now pushing out roughly two updates a year. And down the road Rubin says releases will slow to one per year, much like Apple does with their iPhone OS.
"Our product cycle is now, basically twice a year, and it will probably end up being once a year when things start settling down, because a platform that's moving--it's hard for developers to keep up," Rubin said. "I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don't want developers to have to predict the innovation."
I'm glad that Googlein slowing things down a bit. , or "legacy devices," have been a sticky point for many of Android's detractors. Even today there are devices running a version of Android that is three cycles behind.
For example, while some Android handsets are expected to launch with 2.2 later this year, others like the
Even with the tools Google provides, developers have a difficult time staying ahead of the curve with bug-free and fully compatible apps. The Nexus One followed shortly after with Android 2.1. This has to be a relief for OEMs and carriers wishing to stay ahead of the Android curve. It's not known how long we'll wait until the first Froyo-flavored device hits the street, but every day that passes is another opportunity for handset makers to integrate the newest version.(Froyo) was unique in that the SDK was not simply launched with the release of a handset. The brought Android 2.0 with it back in December and the
On a related note, Google released the latest breakdown of platform versions. It's no big surprise to see that Android 2.1 is now the biggest slice of the pie at 45.1 percent of all devices. Some of this change comes from existing handsets like the and , which an update to Android 2.1.
Meanwhile, Motorola recently reiterated its claim that the and will get similar treatment this quarter. The pie chart should change drastically over the next few months with new phones like the EVO 4G, , and rolling out this summer.