Who hasn’t complained about Android fragmentation? Waiting for different versions to finally arrive for your device, wondering when Honeycomb features will arrive for your smartphone, etc. — these things aren’t fun. Not for you, the end user, and not for tech bloggers. (TechnoBuffalo’s own Jon Rettinger even chewed on the fragmentation issue, along with user experience and other issues, just prior to the I/O keynote address. Check it out, embedded below.)
Well, Jon and everyone else: It turns out that Google has heard you loud and clear. I/O offered several notable announcements, not least of which was how the company is planning to deal with fragmentation.
First, there’s the Ice Cream Sandwich update, which will be one build to rule them all. And Google is forming a cooperative of manufacturers and carriers, with one overarching mission in mind — to create a standard that handles how Android updates get pushed out across the devices. Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, T-Mobile, Motorola, LG, Vodafone and AT&T have signed on, and Google is opening the door for others to come in and shake hands.
And lastly, the company announced that all Android devices will be getting updates for 18 months after the initial launch “if hardware allows.” That’s a huge improvement. Some poor souls got stuck in old builds for what seemed like forever, thanks to certain built-in limitations from the manufacturers.
It will be a big undertaking, no doubt. And companies who aren’t used to cooperating will need to work together to make this happen. If Google and this partnership succeeds, then hopefully rants like this one will be a thing of the past.