Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Google pushing Android Updates to Annual Cycle

Google-Logo Androidandme.com has posted a story that VP of Engineering for Android at Google, Andy Rubin  stating that Google is pushing all major Android updates to an annual cycle.  This is good news for the manufacturers and developers for the Android Platform.  Annual updates over intermittent updates means better stability of hardware, increased awareness, and better compatibility of apps.  Some consumers may look at this as a less than wonderful thing, however.

The deal here is that sure, we won’t be seeing major UI updates every time we turn around, unless Google feels it is necessary to keep the product “relevant” in competition to revivals.  What we should expect is that Google won’t cease development through the cycle when it comes to security, patches and fixes.

Droid-eye2 What does this really mean for the App Developers though?  It means they aren’t playing catch up every couple of months trying to predict what is fact and fiction when it comes to what Google will include in the next update.  It will also give the developers time to create trendy apps that could very well influence Google’s choices in features when the next major OS update is released.  As a Motorola Droid user, I love hearing about new updates, offering new features.  What I do not like is waiting for Motorola and Verizon to finally push the new update out to my phone.  I am patient enough to not try and brick my phone with plugging in my own OS Rom, but still.

So why the sudden change?  Google pushed out all of these updates so quickly because of an attempt to keep the platform relevant.  The Android Platform had to play catch up, honestly.  It was the new kid on the block, and was immediately competing with Palm OS 5, Windows PocketPC, RIM Blackberry, and Apple iPhone platforms.  On top of that, Palm’s WebOS was released soon there after.  Google needed to push Android to a point where it was able to do so much.

Android is now very relevant.  Apple can’t release an update without someone comparing it to Android.  Google has the ability to lax a bit on updates now.  They can afford to slow it down and let the developers pick up the slack on adding new features.  This will perhaps also allow developers to really focus on app stability.  Less force closes!

Now, if only 2.2 would hurry up and get pushed to my phone!

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