We are under a month away from Google’s I/O Conference, which is Google’s developer conference and where in the past Google has made announcements about Android. The conference is on May 19 and as that date gets closer I think we will see much speculation, such as has been posted on ZDNet’s Google blog, about what will be in Android 2.2. I expect an announcement at a developers conference to focus features that provide developers with new or better functionality that they can exploit, which translates into better apps for users.
Some potential features for users that ZDNet says may appear in Android 2.2 are:
– Automatic app updates, which would eliminate the need to go into the Android Market to download updates for applications
– FM Radio, the hardware for which may already be in some Android phones
– Flash 10.1 support, which will allow users to play Flash content from web sites on their phones
– Color trackball notifications, which will allow developers to provide unique notifications without users having to even turn the phone on
I also expect to see the beginning implementation of Google’s plan to address fragmentation of Android. Right now Android phones are being sold by carriers with different versions of Android. The problem the different versions cause is that historically newer versions of Android provide new features to core applications, and users do not see those new features unless they get the newest version of Android.
Google’s plan is to decrease the number of applications that are only available via a release of Android, and make them available via the Android Market. For example, today the web browser is only available with Android, in the future the web browser may not be part of Android, but instead be available for download from the Android Market. By making core applications like the browser in the Market, Google enables the newest features that matter most to users to be available for all Android phones at the same time.