According to MobileBloom, a leaked memo has been identified, stating that all Android smartphones will have to run KitKat or else Google will not endorse the handset. The Android memo is the first sign that Google is finally sorting the problem it has with fragmentation. Because Google offers hundreds of phones to customers from many manufacturers across the world, Google’s operating system is swiftly becoming fragmented. This issue is one of the top objections the operating system receives from application developers.
Apparently, the memo was sent from the Android team to its top OEM partners: Sony, Samsung, HTC, and LG who are all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for Google. “Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approved GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases,” the memo states. “Each platform release will have a ‘GMS approval window’ that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available.” Any handset that does not get approval from Google Mobile Services (GMS) will not be able to ship with Google’s main applications which include Now, Maps and Google Play store.
Does this mean the end of all budget Android phones? It could be! If real, the memo could mean an end to cheap Android handsets and increase the price of middle of the road smartphones. KitKat also has higher minimum specifications than foregoing operating systems. This may mean that phones like the Samsung Galaxy core are no longer possible. It has been said that KitKat has been coded to work better on lower powered smartphones. However, this could still have enough of a knock on effect to possibly give the developing market to opponents such as Mozilla’s FireFox and Tizen.
Last year, Android CEO Sundar Pichai said him and his team were working on solutions for Android fragmentation. Figures showed, at the end of January 2014, that approximately 1.4 per cent of all Android smartphones were running the latest version of the operating system. While in contrast, over 80 per cent of iPhones were running iOS7, Apple’s latest operating system. Android released KitKat just weeks after iOS 7 was released for Apple’s devices. It is uncertain how Nokia will be affected as they use older versions of Android. We will just have to wait and see. As always, if you have any sensible comments regarding this story, please leave your comments in the section below.