May 11, 2011
Google’s I/O event has been home to plenty of notable events and announcements, such as Google’s beta testing of a cloud-based music service, but one that should hopefully benefit many Android users in the near future is a hopefully major improvement in the fragmentation issues that have so far plagued Android, by ensuring that new devices will be receiving the most recent version of Android for up to 18 months after they release.
Google is going to work with carriers and manufacturers to ensure that any new Android devices from participating manufacturers and carriers will receive the most recent version of Android for the device at launch, as well as for up to 18 months after the device is initially released. While the caveat of “participating manufacturers and carriers” sounds like there might be exceptions, but this is not the case at all – all 4 major carriers in the US (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) and popular Android manufacturers HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and LG, who manufacture a large majority of the phones on those carriers in the US will be part of the program.
While there are not any specific details on what this program will entail, it should help to ease fragmenatation issues, especially as it is possible right now to go out and buy a phone like the Samsung Captivate that is running Eclair, two versions behind the most recent version of Android, Gingerbread. With future phones being ensured that they will get the latest Android, fragmentation should hopefully reach levels closer to iOS than what has been seen on Android, where many different OS variants have been seen, and phones often lag behind. With this insurance to keep phones modern, this should help out with fragmentation of devices for developers, and with consumers who can now stay current on their Android experience.