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Android Super Fragmentation – Honeycomb For Tablets Only

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?