Android's Andy Rubin says updates may slow to a more manageable once a year

Andy Rubin's "it's not fragmentation, it's legacy" line at Google IO has sparked a pretty good debate, but now we're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel for problem of Android's furious pace. Speaking to the Silicon Valley Mercury News' Troy Wolverton, Rubin said the rate of major updates to Android may settle down to an annual event. Said Rubin:

"From our internal 0.8, we got to 1.0 pretty quickly, and we went through this iteration cycle. You've noticed, probably, that that's slowed down a little bit. Our product cycle is now, basically twice a year, and it will probably end up being once a year when things start settling down, because a platform that's moving — it's hard for developers to keep up. I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don't want developers to have to predict the innovation."

At which point we expect everybody to start complaining about how long it will take until the next major revision of Android. [Mercury News] Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

Phil Nickinson
  • I think this is an obvious step in the right direction. That being said, it was necessary to push out releases at a rapid pace in the early stages due to the "catch up" android was playing in regards to other OS's. Now that they have a real solid base in Froyo, i see no problem with slowing down to 1 major release a year. I would still hope that a minor release would enable some sort of local encryption for enterprise users that require it. Other features can come annually as a major release.
  • Speaking of encryption for enterprise did you notice this: Of course, over at, Rene refused to publish the story lest anything bad about the iPhone appeared on his site.
  • For major new features that might be good enough. For Bugs, it won't cut it.
    If EVERY release had bugfix (service pack) release scheduled for 3 or 4 months afterwards then you could get buy with yearly releases. The problem is that having to wait that long for a fix that really annoys them makes people jump ship or become dissatisfied. Partial patches would go a long way toward this. Its a perfectly Linux thing to do. And Android can use that as well. The large binary install is sort of old school.
  • Well he's probably talking about major releases (like version 2 to version 3) not minor releases. In other words - dot release may not have so many new features like we're used to.
  • yay the android backflip can catch up with updates
  • Good. When no phone out there except one that's only available for $550 on two carriers can have the latest update anywhere near the release of it, you have a big problem.
  • Great, lets hope we get Gingerbread before the slowdown. Thats the one, if I'm right, where Google can push core Google apps directly to the device! Mr. Rubin, please make that announcement...
  • So far that looks to be just a rumor. I have only seen tech sites like engadget post articles stating that they are "working" on fragmentation and are going to put the major google apps on the market. From what Andy Rubin said at IO it looks like they are making excuses for fragmentation (or legacy whatever google wants to call it) I have yet to see any solid remarks from google yet.
  • I think this is a great move for the mainstream market. But I wish they would combine this with releasing some sort of "nightly builds" for the modding community to tinker with. Dunno if that's possible though, not from a technical point of view, but from a marketing/commercial one (not wise tipping off the competition what you're up to in real time)
  • Quit releasing devices with android 1.5/1.6 on them. If 2.x or whatever is the latest revision out, ship devices with the latest OS on them instead of releasing new devices with outdated OS, then people would complain less.
  • Sadly I now see Android going down the same retarded path as Blackberry and WinMo. All these nice releases from them but then there is the stagnation of the carrier and hardware manufacturer. This is where the modding community excels and show how retarded the manufacturer and carriers are when it comes to updates. Make the motoblur and sense crap a module or add-on that can be installed as an apk or ota from the carrier/vendor. Let Google push out to the devices. If Google is unable to do this cause of all the different hardware types then make some type of standard or repo for the drivers that are needed or the specs for the hardware used so they can make updates for the flux of devices out there. I understand being open and that is awesome, but between the fragmentation, lack of speedy updates from the manf/carrier, and crud that happens a ton of defecting is going to happen and they will be just like RIM. I came to Android cause I want timely updates and enhancements without waiting on slow-retarded-slothful companies that are more interested in pushing out a device every month to show the latest OS and the device the released the month before is forgotten about unless a major issue is found.
  • You are only seeing this as a user... but manufacturers and carriers are businesses. It's in the interest of their bottom line to have you BUY a new device instead of puttin time & effort into releasing a FREE update for a previous device.
    It sucks, but... it's business.
  • No reason not to have two releases a year. It works for a lot of Linux distros. But in all honesty once a year means upgrading the phone not necessarily updating the OS on your current phone. Unless your NOT a Sprint Premier member (: