Android updates will likely become a once a year event, according to Andy Rubin, chief of Google's mobile platforms. The big question: Will that help or hurt Android in the smartphone race?
Rubin told the Mercury News' Troy Wolverton:
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.
The point is well taken from a developer perspective. However, Android's innovation velocity is the mobile operating system's best feature. One of the most striking things about Android is that it innovates quickly. That fast pace is why Android is largely on par with Apple's iPhone. That pace is how Android can pass the iPhone.
Further downstream, Android's rapid development is why its market share is surging. What happens if Android's development cycle slows once a year and matches Windows Phone 7 on the innovation cycle? Does Android let Microsoft off the carpet?
There's a balance here. How frequently should Android be released to balance developer interests and innovation?