The Silicon Valley Mercury News recently had a conversation with Andy Rubin, the founder of Android and a Google VP. They discussed the topic of “fragmentation” and the frequent Android releases. Rubin acknowledged the rapid growth of the platform and the challenges faced by developers due to such quick innovation. However, Google is now planning to slow down development in the upcoming months. After eight releases in the first 18 months, Google is aiming to push out around two updates per year. Rubin mentioned that in the future, releases will slow down to once a year, similar to Apple’s approach with their iPhone OS.


  1. What is the recent conversation involving Andy Rubin, the founder of Android, about?
    Answer: The recent conversation with Andy Rubin focused on the topic of “fragmentation” and the rapid succession of Android releases.

  2. How many updates per year is Google planning to push out?
    Answer: Google is aiming to push out around two updates per year, with the intention to slow down to one release annually in the future.

  3. Why did Andy Rubin mention slowing down development?
    Answer: Rubin acknowledged the challenges faced by developers due to the quick pace of innovation and highlighted the need to ease the burden on them.

  4. What is the current state of Android versions across devices?
    Answer: There are still devices running versions of Android that are several cycles behind, contributing to the issue of fragmentation.

  5. How does Android’s fast-paced development impact hardware companies like Motorola and Sony Ericsson?
    Answer: The rapid development of Android puts pressure on hardware companies to keep up, with some lagging behind in providing timely updates for their devices.

  6. How do developers struggle to stay ahead with bug-free and compatible apps?
    Answer: Despite the tools Google provides, developers find it challenging to maintain pace with Android’s evolution and ensure their apps are bug-free and fully compatible.

  7. What was unique about the announcement of Android 2.2 (Froyo)?
    Answer: The SDK for Android 2.2 was not solely tied to a handset release, offering OEMs and carriers relief by enabling them to prepare for the update in advance.

  8. What is the current distribution of Android platform versions?
    Answer: Android 2.1 holds the largest share of devices at 45.1%, with ongoing updates for existing handsets contributing to this distribution.

  9. How is the Android platform version distribution expected to change in the coming months?
    Answer: The distribution is anticipated to shift with the launch of new devices like the EVO 4G, Droid Incredible, and Samsung Galaxy S, impacting the market share of different Android versions.

  10. What updates are Motorola planning for the Cliq and Cliq XT devices?
    Answer: Motorola has confirmed that the Cliq and Cliq XT devices will receive similar updates in the current quarter.

  11. How do handset makers benefit from the gradual rollout of Android updates?
    Answer: Handset makers have the opportunity to integrate the latest Android versions into their devices, staying competitive in the market.

  12. What is Google’s long-term strategy regarding Android release cycles?
    Answer: Google aims to eventually slow down Android releases to an annual cycle, aligning with a more predictable and sustainable development approach similar to Apple’s iPhone OS.


In the discussions with Andy Rubin, the topic of Android’s rapid development and the challenges it poses for developers came to the forefront. Google’s plan to reduce the frequency of updates aims to provide a more stable environment for developers and users alike. The issue of fragmentation, with devices running outdated Android versions, remains a concern but is being addressed through gradual updates and OEM commitments. The evolving landscape of Android versions, with Android 2.1 taking the lead, showcases the platform’s diversity and ongoing improvements. As new devices enter the market, the distribution of Android versions is expected to undergo significant changes, impacting manufacturers and users positively. Overall, Google’s strategic shift towards a more measured release cycle indicates a focus on enhancing user experience and ensuring sustainable growth in the Android ecosystem.

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