The Android OS development continues to amaze the mobile world – more than 10 thousand applications joined the Android market last month alone and about 12 000 more are expected in May. However the main weakness of the platform developed by the Open Handset Alliance remains its fragmentation.
The last two weeks saw the Android latest version (2.1 a.k.a. Éclair) become most popular which sounds encouraging. The thing is that 37.2% of all Android users were enough to make it the leader, and that still leaves 34.1% for Android 1.5 and 28% for Android 1.6. Additionally there is a tiny percentage (0.7% to be specific) of users, which are still stuck with Android 1.1, 2.0 or 2.0.1.
Granted, most of the devices running Cupcake (1.5) and Donut (1.6) will eventually be upgraded to Éclair but this process takes months and this leaves mobile app developers with a hard task, making their apps compatible with the different versions.
And things are only going to get messier tomorrow when Android 2.2 (Froyo) pops up. Google and Co. need to think of a solution to this problem before it’s too late. It can’t be easy with so many manufacturers and carriers involved but the Open Handset Alliance isn’t short of resources either.