Android Version Data and Future Releases Suggest Fragmentation will Rise and Fall

Here are two interesting snippets concerning Google Android. The first concerns data on the amount of handsets that use version 2.1 or higher, the results of which show that the spectre of fragmentation has almost been banished, but our second piece of news makes us question for how long.

The reason for this fragmentation was the rapid release of newer and more capable versions of the software, and the sudden increase of more powerful phones going on sale, leaving phones that were less than six months old unable to run the latest releases and becoming stuck on older versions.

Aside from frustrating consumers, it didn’t help developers much either, but it looks like things are becoming a little easier as it’s reported that nearly 75% of Android phones accessing the Android Market are now using version 2.1 or higher.

While this is excellent news, how long will it last? We ask this because our next piece of Android news concerns future versions of the OS. It seems highly likely that the next incarnation will be named Gingerbread, a name which will be attached to version 3.0, which will be followed by 3.5, or Honeycomb.

But what about version 4.0? A Forbes blog post has outed this as being Ice Cream, a name that continues the alphabetical dessert pattern we’ve already seen. Gingerbread is expected to be released before the end of the year, with Honeycomb to follow in early 2011, and Ice Cream by the middle of 2011.

With three new versions of Android possible within eight months, the spectre of fragmentation could just be down but not out.

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