Android has a bad reputation among those who follow smartphones, for having a fragmentation problem with too many versions of the OS floating around. We're quick to bash the OEMs for not rolling out that shiny new version of Android for every single handset on the market. We all want the latest, most current version of Android on our smartphone. So, which version of Android is the current one?
This came up during a Twitter conversation today, with good thoughts presented by Dwight Silverman and Jason Hiner, among others. It pointed out how big a problem Google has with Android OS fragmentation, as the more I thought about the "current version", the more I realized I have no idea what that is. I can't remember ever not knowing which version of a platform was the current one.
We've heard the buzz about Honeycomb, presumably Android 3.0, but it's not shipping on anything yet so it really isn't the current version. Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread, is shipping so it must be the current version. The problem is it's only available on the Nexus S and nothing else. It's kind of hard to call it the current version of the OS when it's not really shipping on anything. Google can't even get it running on its own first generation flagship phone, the Nexus One. At least it hasn't been released for that handset, yet.
Maybe Android 2.2, aka Froyo, is really the current version, based on the fact it's shipping on far more handsets than version 2.3. But then, version 2.1 is still shipping on a lot of devices, too. Maybe that's the current version.
The fact that there is no easy answer to the simple question shows how bad a problem Google has created with fragmentation. It's time to get all the little robots in the same row, Google.