At Gizmodo today, Matt Buchanan has an interview with Google VP of Engineering and head of Android Andy Rubin, who was not tentative in his aspirations for the platform. Version 2.2, Froyo, hasn’t even hit on a large scale yet, and already Rubin is talking a bit further into the future. The main takeaway from the interview:
There is going to be stuff that’s just going to blow your mind. In 6 months. Before it was 18 months, now it’s 6 months.
Clearly, he’s not talking about Froyo here, since we’ve already seen its capabilities. Given his other remarks in the interview — “I’m actually advocating coming out with releases around the buying seasons, May and September, October,” he said — it sounds like Gingerbread could represent the reference point there. A reference to Android 2.3 (if Gingerbread does end up at version 2.3) might cause some groans from the crowd. Another OS version in September or October? Won’t that cause more fragmentation? Rubin speaks to this in general terms during the interview, but he doesn’t reveal much. He did, however, speak to Michael Gartenberg, who writes the Entelligence column for Engadget. Gartenberg does an excellent job of explaining the positives and negatives associated with platform fragmentation, and how it’s not necessarily that different from other platforms. “So it’s just things are happening so quickly that it becomes really obvious that we went from 2.0 to 2.2 in a very short time frame,” said Rubin. “I think that will slow down a little bit.” One big takeaway from the interview is the revelation that Google doesn’t plan versions ahead of the next one. In other words, they’re not working on Hot Crossed Buns, or whatever the dessert they’ll choose for version 2.4. The focus is on Gingerbread, and once that’s ready for a release then they’ll start working on the next version. “It’s more run like an internet company would run it,” said Rubin, “so there’s a lot of iteration and what we are finding is innovation comes from all over the place.” He then mentions SImplify Media, which Google recently acquired. They’ll be powering the iTunes streaming service included with Froyo. If you’re frustrated about anything Android, from general fragmentation to the keyboard on your specific device, check out the interview with Rubin and Gartenberg’s column. Both, I think, offer insights into the present and future of the Android platform.