"I think [the upgrade] will help with fragmentation as far as the tablets and the mobile world is concerned," said Mike Adams, a Web developer at marketing firm Brooks Bell Interactive who has dabbled in Android application development. "Developers right now are developing for multiple devices, which can cause problems depending on their hardware. Just to have one source for an SDK is going to help out tremendously."
Android has been beset by too many OS versions, said Conor Power, CEO of SaaS developer No Good Software. A movement by Google toward unity is the "right direction," he said.
Mobile Web application builder Rich Manaling said fragmentation involving different screen sizes has been the biggest complaint he's heard about Android. But Apple iOS developers also deal with different screen resolutions for different iPhones, he said. Manalang expects most improvements in "Ice Cream Sandwich" to be related to the UI layer.
Android application developer Matthew Nakatani, a student at Sonoma State University, lauded Google's plan to have Android devices support 18 months of OS upgrades after their release. "Previously, the devices were never guaranteed an upgrade," he said. "So, you [would] buy a device, it's got the software on it and you throw it out."
"That [new policy] alone is huge because that reduces the amount of devices you're going to be throwing out, and so reduces the amount of new devices that you're going to have to be purchasing," Nakatani said. Partners such as Sony Ericsson, Verizon, Motorola, and AT&T will receive OS upgrades for their devices.
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