updated 01:20 pm EDT, Mon March 29, 2010
Android to detach core apps from OS updates
Google will finally tackle the problem of a fragmented Android environment through fundamental changes in the OS in the near future, a slip from the CTIA expo. Rather than insist that all of the preloaded apps and core content receive updates with the OS itself, Google will push updates such as the browser or input methods through the Android Market instead. Phone builders with custom interfaces, such as HTC and its Sense UI or Samsung's TouchWiz, would have the option of updating at least some elements without waiting months for a possible upgrade.
Engadget understands that the changes should occur over the course of at least two revisions, including Froyo and the successive release, Gingerbread. The two represent a slowing down of major OS updates and would themselves help the transition by giving phone builders more time to catch up without denying rapid updates to important features.
Android has thrived in recent months but has also been split across multiple versions. All Motorola phones but the Droid, as well as key HTC phones like the Hero, date as far back as Android 1.5; some phones like the HTC Dream and Magic use 1.6, while only a handful of newer phones like the Droid, Nexus One and 2010 HTC phones use 2.0 or later.