Android News

Android will eventually update once a year, says Rubin. Happy now?

June 1, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Android OS, Firmware updates


Want to solve the problem of Android fragmentation, angry users demanding immediate updates to their phones, manufacturers slow to blend their custom OS with new versions of Android, or developers caught off guard as users complain their apps no longer work with each new Android treat?

Well, Andy Rubin says that will eventually come once Android switches to a once-per-year update cycle. Rubin made similar comments to Gizmodo last week, and in an interview with Mercury News, Rubin reiterated that he is pushing for Android to adopt a model that releases major OS updates only once per year. (You’ll still get minor maintenance updates, but the transition from one treat to the next will be stretched).

Android has moved at a ridiculously fast pace over the past 18 months. Google released five major revisions to the software since October 2008, and a sixth is likely to debut before the year’s end. This has made it difficult for phone makers to keep pace and allow the latest, greatest phones to have the latest, greatest software. HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have all released phones with relatively outdated software as a result of the companies being unable to update their custom OS as quickly as Google can add new features to Android.

Rubin suggests that Android had to move so fast so quickly in order to become a viable option, but the need for such rapid development is fading.

We’ve gone through a lot of product iterations because we had to bring the product up to market spec. Quite honestly, the product when we launched it, it didn’t really feel like a 1.0, it felt like kind of an 0.8, but it was a window of opportunity and the market needed an entrant at the holiday season.

We launched it, and from our internal 0.8, we got to 1.0 pretty quickly, and we went through this iteration cycle. You’ve noticed, probably, that that’s slowed down a little bit. 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.

So everyone mad at their carrier, manufacturer, and Google can pipe down. You’ll only have to ***** and moan once a year. Read the full interview at