You may have seen some of our other coverage of Google’s I/O 2011 event which kicked off today at the Moscone center in San Francisco, CA, bringing us many exciting announcements. In the latest, we have Google partnering with all major US carriers, vodafone, and several major OEMs to bring a guarantee to provide “timely” updates to the latest version of Android for an 18-month period after release, providing an answer to the problem of fragmentation.
Google’s announcement remains somewhat vague however, with no clear definition of the word “timely” which could be interpreted quite a number of ways. We have no word from Google if this applies only to new phones released or existing devices that are still within the 18-month period. Also worth mentioning is that many smartphone buyers are not early adopters; several months pass before they purchase their device, which leaves only a portion of the 18-month guaranteed upgrade period available. Other Android device manufacturers such as ASUS and Dell are also missing from the list, and the carrier partnerships indicate a possible focus on devices with cellular radios such as smartphones rather than other Android devices.
We will certainly keep a close eye on this one and look for clarification from Google on these points. Going by previous release time frames, users can expect an average of two to three major updates during the 18-month period.