ZDNet has an interesting read about Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and discussing the probability that it’s a tablet only OS and will not be delivered to phones (natively at least – XDA is a different story). Google has stated that 3.0 is intended for tablets and Google has yet to discuss 3.0 as a phone OS so it seems that’s not on the table. So this would mean that phones will be a part of the 2.3+ version of Android and tablets will run a different build of Android at 3.0+. So, it’s a different version number, what’s the big deal? Well there are special UI, graphics and media capabilities in 3.0 that won’t be backported so you’ll actually need to write two separate apps if you want a phone and tablet app. If you write it just for 2.x then you need to rewrite it for 3.0 unless you choose to forgo the advantages 3.0 brings.

This is a different approach then iOS takes where the iPad and iPhone are using the same OS with the same capabilities except for the screen size. So Android didn’t need to further fragment the OS, so let’s see if they converge in the future. For now, it may mean yet another rewriting of code for developers to write their apps. No, not a deal breaker, but why not make it easier on the devs you’re trying to court instead of making artificial barriers?

9 COMMENTS

  1. The bigger question is “Does Google care?” and the answer is no. Google wouldn’t mind you being stuck on Android 1.5 as long as you have the Google Search widget on your homescreen.

  2. I think this hurts Android. With the criticism that the Marketplace has been taking and Google “Focusing” in on it, Fragmentation is not a good idea. In the few months I have been an iPhone user, it has been amazing watching the culture. It’s all app driven and that’s what I thought Google was trying to emulate. It is crystal clear that Apple’s model is highly successful with Apps being the front and center to the whole thing. What is just so frustrating is to watch Google, just like Windows Mobile, screw up the BEST Damn hardware and devices on the Market with issues like fragmentation, and a substandard Marketplace app development.

  3. @Doug Smith: i disagree. nothing will hurt android. Android is what iphone was 3 years ago. Apple isn’t even what apple was 3 years ago. If we’re going to act as if iOS doesnt have it’s fair share of fragmentation issues….then fine. But its important to know, the iCraze is over! Its no longer important to have an for a serivce…instead it is now important to a.) have that service available to you via a widget or b.) have that service avilable to you in the OS’s UI. Maybe in another 2 years when apple strikes innovation again they’ll jump start another mobile industry craze….but for right now. Android is the new iOS!

    FYI: WP7 FOR LIFE BITCHES!!!!!

  4. I know, right? What reason, assuming this is true and not greatly exaggerated, would Google possibly have to do this. It’s almost as if maybe they know better than you. These tablet things have specs that are better than my laptop, resolutions in the neighborhood of 1280×768, dual core A9s. It’s just as crazy as Microsoft not using Windows Phone as the successor to Windows 7 Ultimate.

    I mean, take Apple. All the iPhone apps were ready to go on the iPad, right? And all the iPad apps work just fine on the iphone without any tweaking?

    Will every Android app work on these things? My understanding is yes, and the developer has an option to jazz it up with 3D effects and whatever else he’d want to do with a device with more pixels and horsepower. And neither you nor ZDNet appears to know how hard or time consuming it is to undress your Honeycomb-intended application from its 3D eye candy and whatever else to make it compatible with every other phone. You’re not even sure that the SDK doesn’t make a < 3.0 toned-down version of a given application on the fly. No one's forcing OEMs to crank out ultra high end tablets with Android 3.0 on them. They're free to use whatever they want. If this fragmentation shit turns out to be the problem you describe, perhaps they'll rethink whether or not to continue with Honeycomb. Google is not a device designer or manufacturer. They are an ad brokerage and among other things they make software that has exploded with popularity. The demand for Android is not because OEMs think it would be in their best interests to go in that direction rather than getting in bed with Microsoft (though incidentally that's probably true) but because consumers like Android. People toss around remarks like anyone can slap android onto some microchips and put it on the market -- not true -- and it's completely fragmented -- take a look (or read about) the SDK before you decide you know what you're talking about with regard to compatibility. And device manufacturers in this case may find that not working in tandem with each other to all make tablets and phones that are uniform. Some people like great specs, some like lower prices and so on. For the developers, taking that into account, it's fair to say Google's doing a hell of a job not making fragmentation too much of a problem. One size may not fit all consumers and one Android platform line may not be able to take the fullest advantage of certain tablet hardware without weighing too heavily on on phone hardware. Smith: So you're actually comparing Google and Android to Windows Mobile? You sure you want to do that, given that doing that around here is one way to declare war? Brianna, do you have any idea what you're talking about, Google making no effort to push people up? Less than 5% are on Android 1.5. The majority of Android users are running Android 2.2 / Froyo, You think every iOS user is using the latest version of iOS? Smith, K: You know what's actually "hurting" Windows phones? The very apparent fact that it's a flop, with what were very slow sales decelerating. Decelerating. Whatever fragmentation you think exists, which would you rather develop for, Windows Phone or the best selling platform which for every Windows Phone users there are 55 Android users? My guess is that developer excitement for WP7 is dissipating or cooling down and that will hurt the platform even more. Let me know if you find yourself in the mood to bet on the quarter in which Windows Phone 7 sells more than WinMo.

  5. @Doug Simmons: Simmons, you may be taking this stuff a bit too personal, no? No one is looking to ‘declare war’ or get their intelligence questioned. I mean, look everyone has their personal opinions/beliefs but there’s no need to hammer someone on a blog if theirs is opposed to yours. I think your response to the post is about twice the length as the otherwise short post itself which acknowledges a degree of speculation. I know you love Android but no reason to hate on those that don’t share the love with you…

  6. Brianna I was arguably out of line in saying you didn’t know what you’re talking about, as 4.7% for 1.5 is still not that impressive, and regardless of who’s right or not about this stuff, you didn’t deserve that. That was rude of me. This matter notwithstanding I am confident you generally do know what you’re talking about.

    I apologize.

  7. Not to be a dickhole or anything but as it turns out Honeycomb will support phones too. Who knew, right? After all this fuss.

    Anyone who downloaded the stupid SDK preview which has been up for two days, that’s who.

    Friggin’ ZDNet.

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