Google Creates Group to Curb Android Fragmentation

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-05-11 Print this article Print

Android Partners.png

What you're looking at above is a screenshot of a picture I took of an unnamed coalition initiated by Google to curb some of the massive fragmentation going on within the Android ecosystem.

These partners will be eligible for software updates 18 months into the future, provided the hardware allows for it.

Hugo Barra, vice president of Android product management revealed the partners during a presentation here at Google I/O.

The coalition, which a Google spokesperson told me sprang up quickly in the last couple of weeks, feels ad-hoc, but that's okay. If Google can get the carriers to the table to solve the vexing Android upgrade issues, that's a great thing.

So what will the group try to do? Recall the running joke/angst of Samsung Galaxy S device upgrades from their base Android 2.1 to Android 2.2 "Froyo"?

These carriers delayed the Froyo upgrade because it took awhile to put the new build through its proper paces.

Well, while T-Mobile's Vibrant, AT&T's Captivate and Sprint's Epic 4G have all gotten on board with Froyo, Verizon Wireless' Samsung Fascinate, which I tested last fall, still runs Android 2.1.

Still, who the hell wants to buy that for $199.99 when they can buy a Samsung Nexus S or Nexus S 4G for the same price?

The Galaxy S Froyo upgrade debacle is just one, but it's perhaps the most serious upgrade snag. The fact is those upgrades should have rolled out all at the same time.

According to Google, it's the carriers that are holding everything up. And that's what Google's as-yet-unnamed group is trying to fix. Google could call it the Android Deframentation Coalition. ADC is a nice-sounding acronym, no? |

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