Android Head: Updates Coming Once a Year Eventually

Andy Rubin—Google's lead Android—gave a brief interview with the San Jose Mercury News that yielded one big nugget: at some point in the not too distant future, Android updates will scale back to once a year.

That might seem like a step backwards, but it's actually likely in the best interest of the platform. It's not just about front-end innovation slowing down, as Rubin points out:

So we launched [Android], and from our internal 0.8, we got to 1.0 pretty quickly, and we went through this iteration cycle. You've noticed, probably, that that's slowed down a little bit. Our product cycle is now, basically twice a year, and it will probably end up being once a year when things start settling down, because a platform that's moving - it's hard for developers to keep up. I want developers to basically leverage the innovation. I don't want developers to have to predict the innovation.

Slowing the pace may also help with Android's fragmentation problem, something Rubin addressed when Matt interviewed him earlier this month. Not many handsets run pure Android, and the more time phone manufacturers have to update their various skins, the less confusing the Android purchasing (and owning) process will be. [Mercury News via TechCrunch]