Google is aware of the fragmentation issues and unlikely to do anything about it
Google has created great software for mobile devices with Ice Cream Sandwich and it sure seems like it is taking way too long to get it rolled out to all the various smart phones which can support it. While the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was the first device in the US to get Ice Cream Sandwich, it has been several months since that happened before more than a few devices received it and the number is still pretty low given that there are a much larger number which can support it. In a post from Jean-Baptiste Queru, it looks like there is an acknowledgment of the problems related to getting Ice Cream Sandwich, or any Android OS rolled out to mobile devices in a timely manner as shown below.
He is the lead Android software engineer and he would be in the know as to how things seem to roll out for Android. He is also one who is very familiar with the fragmentation issues which are widely reported for the past few years. We have seen lots of evidence of a very slow roll out of Ice Cream Sandwich and things sure look like they are moving far slower than one would expect.
From Jean-Baptiste Queru Google+ page in relation to the release of Android 4.0.4:
Now starts another 8-month waiting game. In over 10 years working on the software side of the cell phone industry, I’ve learned that it takes about 8 months between getting the software ready and seeing it widely deployed. Edit: Meaning, deployed on new devices.
Why 8 months? It’s about the time it takes for the software to get ported to the chips that get used in a new phone, then to get it to run on the actual phone, then to have features added to it by the manufacturer, then to have it customized for the specific phone and for the specific operator, then to have it tested by the device manufacturer, then to have it certified and approved by the operator that will sell and support the device, then to have the actual devices manufactured, distributed to the stores and put on the shelves.
Eight months is a terribly long time to have to wait before there is what can be considered as a full adoption. Since most manufacturers did not get it until January, it looks like June is the time frame where every new phone coming out can be expected to come with Ice Cream Sandwich. Given that Android 4.0.4 has just been released, it would mean that the clock has just started on that version and it is going to be late summer before it is showing up on newly released phones.
Google needs to take a different approach here and try and gain more control over the distribution process so that these updates start to happen more frequently than the 8 months listed here. If Microsoft can get an organized roll out of Windows Phone 7, why can’t Google accomplish the same?