Android has always been criticized for its fragmentation. Google did say at its I/O conference that with Android 2.2 Froyo, it is trying to stop fragmentation. However, with Gingerbread due for release at the end of this year, we wonder how much Froyo will be successful in kerbing the Android OS fragmentation.
The cycle of two OS updates per year is something which handset manufacturers and developers struggle to cope up with. Sony Ericsson, being an example here, will launch the Android OS 2.1 update for the Xperia X10 when Gingerbread will be hitting the market.
The main guy behind the Android OS at Google, Andy Rubin said that the two OS update per year cycle will soon be reduced to one OS update cycle per year. Andy Rubins told this in an interview with the Mercury Times. He said:
Awe’ve gone through a lot of product iterations because we had to bring the product up to market spec. Quite honestly, the product when we launched it, it didn’t really feel like a 1.0, it felt like kind of an 0.8, but it was a window of opportunity and the market needed an entrant at the holiday season.
So we launched it, and from our internal 0.8, we got to 1.0 pretty quickly, and we went through this iteration cycle. You’ve noticed, probably, that that’s slowed down a little bit. 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 â€” it’s hard for developers to keep up. I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don’t want developers to have to predict the innovation.
This surely will help phone manufacturers like HTC and Sony Ericsson who have a custom UI running on top of the Android OS. By the time, these companies port their custom UI to the latest version of the Android OS, the next version of the Android OS is around the corner. Hopefully, the launch of Android Gingerbread won’t be pushed back due to this.