Google I/O: 10 carriers and OEMs commit to update Android devices for 18 months

Fixing fragmentation

Google I/O: 10 carriers and OEMs commit to update Android devices for 18 months
After detailing the success the platform has enjoyed so far, Google's product development manager for Android, Hugo Barra, moved on to discussing one of its major problems: fragmentation.

In what could prove to be a landmark agreement, Barra revealed that a total of 10 carriers and manufacturers have committed to updating their devices to the latest Android OS for 18 months after release.

Partner power

It's a key announcement, if only because it's perceived that both parties are reluctant to roll out updated version of Android to existing handsets as it might slow the take up of new devices.

As a result, the majority of consumers tend to end up running an older version of the platform that doesn't support all of the most recent apps – a fact signified by the fact that just 4 percent of all Android devices run Gingerbread, despite it launching back in December.

However, now HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Motorola, as well as operators Verizon, Vodafone, Sprint, AT&T and T Mobile have all agreed to release the latest version of the OS to customers who own existing hardware for 18 months, as long as the hardware in question can run it.

"Today we're announcing the founding team of industry leaders that Google will work with to create new guidelines for how quickly devices are updated after new Android updates," Barra said at the event.

The new agreement will be put to the test when the next mobile version of Android – Ice Cream Sandwich – launches later in 2011.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.