All signs point to Android OS major updates slowing after Froyo


One of the big criticisms of Android is fragmentation. Since 2008 there have been five main updates from Google, 1.0, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and 2.1 (more for a couple of devices).

The problem arises because manufacturers are responsible for updating the OS on their own phones but most of them aren’t doing it in a timely fashion. It’s easy to see why, if Google are still churning out updates, manufacturers are going to have the time, resources or inclination to make an update for every phone if they know another one is round the corner.

This has resulted in the platform having significant quantities of all of these older versions being used concurrently, and a large number of the newer apps only running on the latest firmware.

Google is well aware of the problem and the developers have said that the rapid pace of development will be slowing down soon.

The last few weeks, we’ve seen clues that Google consider Froyo as that stable point in development and perhaps the last major update (though I still expect yearly updates after that).

As I found a few weeks ago, Google held an internal Android themed party which could have just been for the new release.

The departure of Erick Tseng, Senior Product Manager for Android, was tweeted on Wednesday and this got me thinking that maybe things were wrapping up after all. Tseng is a big public face for Android, leaving for Facebook sounded like he wanted an interesting new challenge. Tseng has been a great evangelist for the platform, appearing on the Engadget Show for instance, and has clearly had a hand in it’s success.

Then yesterday Cedric Beust, one of the senior Android developers, said that he was departing for Facebook.

If this were Palm I’d be suggesting that these were rats abandoning a sinking ship but I get the feeling this is a case of talented people feeling that their contribution to a finishing project is now done and it’s time to start something new and different. There have been no negative comments from either, Cedric does have a final quote on Froyo, “prepare to be blown away by what you will see very soon”. He is certainly not evasive, but clearly proud of what they’ve achieved.

It’s a shame Android is losing some talent but I think we should be excited about what’s to come in Froyo as a result.


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