Google's Eric Schmidt has revealed that the next version of Android – Ice Cream – will bring Gingerbread and Honeycomb back together for a single platform that will run on both tablets and smartphones.
Schmidt didn't reveal a huge amount during his keynote and subsequent Q&A at Mobile World Congress 2011 – and failed to clear up the annoying detail of whether the next version of Android will be Ice Cream or Ice Cream Sandwich. But his news will nonetheless be a major relief to increasingly confused Android fans everywhere.
“We have OS called Gingerbread for phones, and we have an OS being previewed now for tablets called Honeycomb,” Schmidt told the gathered faithful. “The follow-up, which will start with an I and be named after dessert, will combine these two.”
Schmidt didn't elaborate on how the two platforms would be merged, but did reveal (and not for the first time) that Google is working on the basis of a six-month release cycle.
Google has taken a lot of stick over the past year or so for the heavy fragmentation that resulted from the rapid cycle of Android releases we saw in the early days. But after having promised to settle into a steadier routine before now, to the naked eye Android looks more fragmented than ever.
At the moment, we have 3.0 Honeycomb and 2.3 Gingerbread essentially spearheading the Android assault on tablets and smartphones respectively. However, there's also now the slightly modified 2.4 Gingerbread, which is present on HTC's Flyer tablet, for example.
And that's alongside persistent rumours that Honeycomb will find its way onto smartphones.