Google has hinted that the tablet-friendly version 3.0 Honeycomb release of its Android OS might never do active duty on smartphones.
Honeycomb was the platform of choice for a number of new tablets shown off at CES earlier this month, and while all those devices – and Honeycomb itself – have yet to hit the market, there's been a distinct lack of any forthcoming smartphones being linked with the OS.
And according to Dave Burke, Android director of engineering, it may well stay that way. Speaking to TechRadar, Burke revealed the thinking behind introducing Honeycomb so soon after Android 2.3 Gingerbread had been outed.
“We took the opportunity with Android 3.0 to enhance the UI,” Burke said. “Right now it's a tablet operating system.”
While that's still some way short of an absolute confirmation that the platform would never see the light of day on smaller devices, it certainly seems likely.
The next version of Android in the 2.x family is set to be Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being tipped for a summer release. If you leave Honeycomb out of the equation altogether, that means a wait of around six months between successive versions of Android, which is exactly the pace of upgrade Google has spoken of implementing in the past.
However, Burke did hint that the policy of having one family of Android releases (2.x) for smartphones running concurrently with another (3.x) for tablets could be a short-lived one.
“I think that coming together is a good idea. What we're trying to do here I make a base platform that's so good that others only need to add native elements in their core areas,” he said.