We weren’t neccessarily expecting an announcement in mobile from the Android Honeycomb event today, but we were certainly hoping. It’s no secret by now that features from Honeycomb (which is Android designed for tablets) will be coming through to the smartphone at some point. In fact, we’ve hypothesizes at length about what “Honeycomb” (or, whatever you want to call it) will be like on a phone (here, here, here, and here).
But there’s something we must keep in mind: Google just released Android 2.3 Gingerbread on December 1st, 2010. The last release of Android for phones before that, Froyo, happened six months before Gingerbread in May of 2010. Taking one step back further to Eclair, and we rewind an additional eight months to October 2009. Google keeps its software releases at least six months apart, sometimes eight. They’d anger OEMs if they were to increase the pace of releases, which already struggle to keep up and take a lot of flack from angry consumers that are stuck on an old version of Android (we hear ya, Galaxy S owners!).
Whether the next version of Android for phone is called 2.4 or 3.1 or 5.0, it’s not likely to come around until late spring or summer. In fact, Android 2.4, rumored to be called Ice Cream, is supposedly landing in the summer, which would put it on pace to be deployed on new devices for the Holiday 2011 season.
So that, dear readers, is why we didn’t hear about phones today.