The complaints often heard about platform fragmentation should lessen as the latest numbers provided by Android Developers shows that 77 percent of all Android devices are running either Android 2.1 or 2.2. The chart demonstrates that Froyo (Android 2.2) has seen a big uptick since August, and more devices are now getting the latest version of the OS (even $30 handsets).
The slightly older version of Android (2.1) is still found on more devices than Froyo, but the gap is narrowing. Froyo may even pass 2.1 shortly, given how fast the numbers have changed since the last time we took a look. The current numbers don’t reflect the flood of tablets expected to begin shortly, particularly the Galaxy Tab, and many of those will be shipping with Froyo.
Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) is poised to hit devices later this year, so the fragmentation watch will kick up a notch again. Gingerbread is expected to bring some UI changes to Android, some of them aimed at minimizing the use of proprietary skins (TouchWiz, HTC Sense) that are believed to confuse the consumer. The rate that consumers are snapping up Android smartphones might indicate that concern is overblown, as it’s apparent that consumers love choice.
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