Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

Summary: 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?

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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?

See Android's topic page

Topics: Emerging Tech, Android, CXO, Google, Software Development

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28 comments
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  • That rate of development is not sustainable

    No one seems to be able to do anything innovative until Apple does. Guess Google will just have to wait til after WWDC so thy can "innovate" once they see what Apple does there.
    CowLauncher
    • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

      @CowLauncher

      There are several areas in which Android has already surpassed Apple i.e. configurable mobile hotspot, also the Windows Phone 7 has clearly innovated past Apple in a couple of areas notably social network integration and photo/video sharing.
      michaelymel
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @michaelymel

        windows mobile 5.5 was able to do hotspots, so was my iphone in 2008, so including carrier based services just makes you look like an idiot.

        windows 7 phone, the entire eco system, is way way closer to how apple setup there eco system. They trashed all the work up to 6.5 when they bought danger.

        your one of those people with just enough information to hang themselves.
        jessedegenerate
    • You got that one totally backwards

      @CowLauncher
      Apple can't do anything until someone else innovates it.
      GUI? Check.
      Mouse? Check.
      PMP? Check.
      Smartphone? Check.
      Tablet? Check.
      NonZealot
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @NonZealot

        funny how when MS at the time the largest tech company in the world tried to make the tablet, smart phone thing happen way earlier, and it didn't work at all.

        I guess there's more to just being first with hardware and software. Maybe it's more about doing it right?

        i'm guessing you named yourself non-zealot to thinly disguise the fact that you are a full blown "fandroid" as they put it?

        seriously, you people are more annoying than the MS and Apple zealots.
        jessedegenerate
  • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

    Android has one thing going for it that it can't screw up, it's not Apple.

    That alone seals it's success for hundreds of millions.
    rtk
    • You hit the nail on the head...

      @rtk <br><br>Google could sell 2 tin cans and some string to these Droid losers, and they would buy it.... Just because it's not Apple... LOL

      "Android updates will likely become a once a year event"...
      Hey... The Special Olympics are a once a year event... Coincidence??? I think not...
      i8thecat
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @i8thecat
        And yet Apple fanboys remain retarded year round...
        hiraghm@...
  • Decoupling

    I think they were planning to decouple a lot of the features from the core OS and push them over the Android market. The result would be smaller, more frequent updates to Google's apps, but less frequent OS/SDK updates.
    Theli
  • Wow that sounds largely unsubstantiated

    "However, Android?s innovation velocity is the mobile operating system?s best feature"

    Ive never heard a non techy android phone owner say that.

    "Further downstream, Android?s rapid development is why its market share is surging."

    Really? So you think it's market share would stop growing if they stopped with 2.2 for 12 months? You think this has more to do with their market share than Moto/Verizon advertizing? With iphones AT&T lock in? With its multi device availability? With WP7 not being out yet? Hmmmm. It be interesting to see what you base this on.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

      @Johnny Vegas - is right on. All this rapid uptake and noise (Frankly Steve ...) is about aggressive market positioning via hype and sales. If 2.2 provides a solid development platform it needs to stay stable for a year to allow the non-iPhone application market time to ramp-up. This will be the final nail in the Apple market share.
      keith_sutton100@...
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @keith_sutton100@... from what I understand the "next" Android OS version will be the first of the 12 month cycle, not Froyo. there are a lot of changes coming post Froyo, and that is what will allow the 12 month cycle. From what I have gathered, Android will "remerge" into the linux kernel (rumors state the version after 2.2 will be 3.0 because of this) in the next iteration, the reason they will be able to do this is that the entire operating system is going modular, so instead of requiring a new rom update for your phone in order to get the new OS features, you will just see possibly in a "new" section of the market place "23 new updates are available for your phone" (again this is an example) you touch that notification and see tha tthere is an updated driver for your GPS chip, or the Bluetooth module has an update, or there is a security patch for your Gtalk interface, or there is a new version of the service that updates the system clock on your phone, and so on...

        The same way linux works now. This will allow re-integration with the linux kernel, reduce and eliminate future OS "fragmentation" and stop the necessity of the Carriers from having to provide ROM updates to each handset model. This is a very sophisticated mobile OS model, and no one else has even proposed it. I would not be surprised if Steve Jobs mentions it on June 7th as the future of the iPhone OS as well, since there will (supposedly) be iPhone devices on multiple carriers sometime in the next 5 years or so... (HA! I crack myself up!)
        aiellenon
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @keith_sutton100@...

        2.2 doesn't support on board encryption for email. Good luck getting it into real corporate servers. Won't be running on mine.
        jessedegenerate
  • Android: Slowing down the ***FRAGMENTATION*** train

    I mean this is actually good news for Google, because their OS and its deployment among countless variants of <b>almost compatible</b> hardware is only beginning of eternal pain for customers of the future.
    DDERSSS
    • Oh the irony

      @denisrs
      How funny that Apple proudly announces 5,000 iPhone OS apps in the App Store that will only run on the iPad.

      Cue the double standards...
      NonZealot
      • I think you have that backwards...

        @NonZealot It's not that there are only 5,000 iPhone OS apps that will run on the iPad, but rather that there are now over 5,000 iPad apps on top of the 200,000 other iPad usable apps in the App store after only 2 months!<br><br>Of course, I know how much you anti-Apple Zealots love to spin things.
        Vulpinemac
      • No, your reading comprehension needs a bit of work

        @NonZealot
        I did not say there were only 5,000 iPhone OS apps that will run on the iPad. I said there were 5,000 iPhone OS apps that will [b]only[/b] run on the iPad. That is the [b]exact[/b] type of fragmentation that all the Apple zealots were screaming about with Android: [i]Android sucks because not all Android apps will run on all Android devices.[/i] Well, that simply isn't true. What [b]is[/b] true is that not all iPhone OS apps will run on all iPhone OS devices. There are, in fact, 5,000 apps that will not run on 95% of the iPhone OS devices out there. Talk about fragmented!!!!
        NonZealot
      • RE: Android: Slowing down the innovation train?

        @NonZealot

        <b>I did not say there were only 5,000 iPhone OS apps that will run on the iPad. I said there were 5,000 iPhone OS apps that will only run on the iPad.</b>

        So?

        <b>That is the exact type of fragmentation that all the Apple zealots were screaming about with Android: </b>

        Wrong. Some people were complaining (as opposed to "all the Apple zealots screaming") because Android is fragmented both across different phones (different capabillities, screens, specs etc) as well as across different versions of the Android OS (some devices and/or vendors do not even support automatic upgrade).

        <b>Android sucks because not all Android apps will run on all Android devices. Well, that simply isn't true.</b>

        Actually it is. Apps made with Android 2.x specific APIs will not work in Android 1.x phones.

        Now, while this is also true for apps using APIs found in later versions of iPhone OS, the difference is that in iPhone-land, you can easily upgrade your phone to the latest OS version --it's one click away.

        Not all Android devices/vendors support upgrading to newer Android versions. There are hundrends of thousands of people stuck with obsolete Android phones.

        <b> What is true is that not all iPhone OS apps will run on all iPhone OS devices. There are, in fact, 5,000 apps that will not run on 95% of the iPhone OS devices out there. Talk about fragmented!!!!</b>

        You keep using that word, "fragmented". I don't think it means what you think it means.

        Those apps are not incompatible with the iPhone because of a fragmented development environment, they are incompatible because they are built *specifically* to take advantage of the larger form factor of the iPad, a different class of device.

        It's the difference between "targeting a specific device willingly in order to take advantage of it's capabilities" (customization) and "having to write to the lowest common denominator or deal with variously spec'ed phones, from various vendors with different OS versions, some of which cannot be upgraded" (fragmentation).
        foljs
  • Sounds like their OEM partners and devs were complaining....

    Maybe users can go back to the expectation that their phones will be supported or see updates throughout its contract cycle (Hopefully).<br><br>I didn't think this pace was sustainable either, as far as them building a solid unified platform (with not Fragmentation). I think Google needed to move hard and fast early to give Android a solid footing - and they've exceeded with big help from Verizon. Now it's time to clean up. Apple has done somewhat the same with their App store opening it up to everyone early, trying to build a solid lead on competitors. Which is why we saw so many fart apps early.
    dave95.
    • Android biggest problems .....

      Android has potential, but needs to address some important issues:
      #1- Stop adding features without quality control. Android has too many features that are halfazz implemented. They need some sort of quality control or at least test things well before release.

      #2- Updates. Where are the OS updates for people who purchase Droids or early HTC models? If people complained about iPhone 4.0 being available to only 3GS and up, why is it OK for Android users to get not even a minor update?
      wackoae