Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android


Welcome to our newest Monday feature — Android Ecosystem! Today you can get a glimpse of things to come in 2010 courtesy of Engadget’s highlight on the ICD Android Tablet which could hit the market at $249. The 7″ resistive display offers more than enough real estate to run Android powered by an NVIDIA Tegra (s nvda) processor. I don’t think it will compete performance-wise with my own 7″ Android tablet, but it looks far easier to tote and use. ICD plans to bring a capacitive display version to market as well, and while that would be welcome, I’d like to see them offer more than 16 icons on the Android home screens for better usability. As for that “glimpse of things to come” comment — I anticipate a slew of portable tablets to be outed at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Some will run Android while others won’t, but make no mistake: 2010 could be the year of the tablet device. Note that I’m not saying “tablet PC,” which is a very different beast.

Of course, more Android devices could lead to further fragmentation. Currently there are at least four Google Android versions in the wild, which poses a challenge to developers. In some cases, there isn’t much work to port an app to other Android versions, but to maximize the experience and take advantage of Android’s newest features, there clearly has to be some effort involved. Google realizes this and has created a device dashboard for developers that shows the percentage of Android devices running on each version. Data is captured from the Android Market over a two-week period and shown in graphical format to help developers understand which versions they should be targeting with their effort. Here’s a glimpse of device versions from the first two weeks of this month:

Over the next few months, I’d forsee Android 2.x gaining the majority in this dashboard — Droid sales are high, new phones are due out and even older handset models are expected to see upgrades to their Android operating system.

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