After repeated denials from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Mobile VP Andy Rubin, the Internet search giant unveiled plans today to address fragmentation of the Android problem.
Google will be pulling together a standards board of sorts, made up of OEMs and wireless carriers, with the intention of standardizing when and how Android updates would be rolled out to new and existing hardware. The target is to have Android hardware supported with software updates for at least 18 months.
You may recall that things got a little bit heated between Google and Apple late last year, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs lacing into the issue of Android fragmentation during the company's October, 2010 quarterly conference call.
"Unlike Windows, however, where most pc's have the same user interface and run the same app, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The users will have to figure it all out." "We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. And as you know, Apple's provides with the integrated model so that the user isn't forced to be the systems integrator." (Source: CNNMoney)
The few mobile software developers that I've talked to in the past six months all cited platform fragmentation as the main reason why they were sticking with iOS application development for the time being. Hopefully, Google can get their act together and provide more clear guidelines on the modification of the Android platform because getting OEMs and carriers to all go in the same direction is about as difficult as herding cats.