The rapid pace at which Andriod OS’s have been developed of late has left many feeling dizzy. Starting with the unnamed 1.1 version in early February 2009, Google then rapidly moved to version 1.5, or Cupcake as it is called, in late April 2009. But Cupcake only lasted 4 and a half months before it was replaced in mid-September with Donut, version 1.6. And that one really didn’t last long as it was replaced about 45 days later with version 2.0/2.1 known as Éclair (getting hungry?).
The wait between 2.0/2.1 and Froyo, version 2.2 was a bit longer, going from late October 2009 to late May 2010. But that version wasn’t even released before they announced in February 2009 that they were on track to release one more version, Gingerbread (set to be version 2.6 or so).
Some have understandably expressed dismay at the ever changing landscape in the world of Android OS. App developers in particular are frosted that their apps can only be used with the most recent versions of the OS. Likewise with users who are creamed that they can’t get the app they just heard about because it’s not supported by the version of the OS that they currently have.
That said, as the OSs develop the features and benefits also increase. Users look forward to benefits such as:
· Increased performance capabilities
· Boosts in speed
· Faster browsing
· Ease of use
· Backups and restoring files
And despite the fact that some users are annoyed that the OS they have makes their phone seem obsolete after only 2 months, Google’s success is clear. It’s only taken Android 18 months to become the clear challenger to the iPhone. And perhaps this has been the reason for the constantly moving target that is the Android OS. As the two battle it out for dominance over the smartphone world (Androids have recently overtaken Apple’s iPhones in the North American market), the rapid fire developments aren’t likely to slow down significantly.
Sources: Virgin mobile USA
That said, Google’s VP of Engineering for Android, Andry Rubin, has stated that in the near future, Android OS development will switch to a yearly cycle rather than the haphazard schedule it’s currently on in order to be much more sustainable: “Our product cycle is now, basically twice a year, and it will probably end up being once a year when things start settling down, because a platform that’s moving — it’s hard for developers to keep up. I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don’t want developers to have to predict the innovation.”
One thing is for sure – by staying open to the web by opening up its software to as many handsets as possible, Google as positioned itself to reaching an extremely large audience with its search service. By maintaining its focus where it is already strong – in the world of search – Google is likely to continue to see success, despite its multiple dessert-like personalities.