Monday, April 26, 2010

Fragmentation Fears Continue But Future Bright

It's been a while since I've updated anything about Android.  Here's a quick rundown on all things Android and then we'll move onto the fragmentation part in the title of this post.

Android is kicking butt.  How do we know?

  • Android is on track to ship 20 million devices this year.  I'm going to go with 25 million.  
  • Marketplace has over 50,000 apps and more are on the way.
  • Nexus One is already profitable for Google despite selling only a limited number through its online store.  Nexus One is also available global in certain markets.
  • Sprint is about to debut their first WiMax mobile device, the HTC Evo, running Android.  Not WM7. Not Blackberry or WebOS.
  • There are dozens of devices on the market, not just handsets but tablets as well, that run Android.
  • Finally...wait for it...Apple is suing HTC for patent infringements.  Yes, that's right.  If Android wasn't a threat, would Apple have sued Google..I mean...HTC?  Why hasn't Apple sued Palm and its fledging WebOS?  And why would Nokia sue Apple?  Because Apple is a threat to Nokia.
All points to a rosy future for Android.  

Not the bad part.  Fragmentation of the platform.  No matter what anyone says, this is Google's baby.  Google is treating it like its baby.  But device makers and wireless providers aren't treating it like their babies.  

For them, Android is a mean to an end:  selling hardware and hooking consumers up with services.  There are still handsets that are using Android 1.5, Donut.  Then there are 1.6 versions and the lucky few who might have 2.0 but less with Android 2.1.

And we mobile warriors are a savy bunch.  We know that device makers and providers, once they made the sale, aren't as interested in making sure we get updates in a timely manner.  In fact, I'm sure they're more interested in us upgrading devices if we want newer versions of Android.

I know Google has a solution.  But that's not the point.  Bloggers and the media will continue to churn out posts about the 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, or 2.2 versions of Android on the market.  And it will look bad for the platform.

I think Google needs to call a summit of sort with everyone and give them reasons for making sure that the services and devices are at least running to Android that will make the platform at least look uniform.  How?

I'm just an Android user.  I want more and more.  The how is Google's to figure out.

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