The future of Android, visualized

By JR Raphael

Android Future

Well, gang, after weeks of waiting and wondering, we finally have a pretty good picture of what the future of Android will look like.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Google and some of its hardware partners divulged new details about the Android road map -- what versions are in the works and how tablets and smartphones will ultimately coexist. In short, we'll likely see a second edition of Android Gingerbread, version 2.4. If all goes as expected, it seems quite probable that some phones will end up skipping the current 2.3 incarnation of Gingerbread and being upgraded directly to 2.4; that was a pretty common occurrence back in the Eclair days, when Google launched Android 2.0 and followed it up soon after with the also-Eclair-named 2.1.

The big news, though, is the confirmation that the following release -- the "I"-named edition of the operating system -- will merge Gingerbread with the currently tablet-focused Android Honeycomb. That's right, folks: We'll see a single, unified path for smartphones and tablets alike. Chatter suggests that the "I" release, while still a long way ahead of us and far from being official, will be named "Ice Cream Sandwich."

You can read the full details of Google's Android road map here -- or, for a more visual representation of what's ahead, check out the graphic below.

[RELATED: Android upgrades: Which manufacturers can you trust?]

Future of Android

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, on Twitter, or at eSarcasm, his geek-humor getaway.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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