Android users split between Froyo, Éclair

According to data released by Google Tuesday, 36 per cent of Android users are running the 2.2 (Froyo) version of the mobile operating system while 41 per cent are running the 2.1 (Éclair) version of the software.

According to data released by Google Tuesday, 36 per cent of Android users are running the 2.2 (Froyo) version of the mobile operating system while 41 per cent are running the 2.1 (Éclair) version of the software. Earlier versions of Android, such as 1.5 and 1.6, are now being used on less than a quarter of Android devices, according to Google. 

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Google notes that Froyo has been gaining traction since August and has steadily gained ground on earlier versions to become the second-most used version of the mobile operating system. Froyo was the first version of the Android platform to add key enterprise features, such as giving administrators the ability to enforce password policies across Android devices and to remotely wipe any Android devices that become lost or compromised. Android 2.2 also supports Exchange Calendars and auto-discovery to make it easier for users to set up and sync Exchange accounts.

While Android has been a clear success for Google so far, the multiple versions of its operating system have led to fears that the software might become irreconcilably fragmented, thus causing major headaches for software developers. Realizing this potential problem, Google has set up a page educating developers about the proper application programming interface level they'll need to employ to have their application run smoothly on different versions of the operating system.

Google released Android as an open source mobile operating system three years ago in the hopes that it would lead to more innovation in mobile application development. Since then it has become one of the most popular operating systems in the world, as a recent market study showed that Android-based phones accounted for 44 per cent of all smartphones shipped in the United States in the third quarter of 2010. The next release of the Android platform is rumored to be a re-jiggered version that will be optimized for use in mobile tablet computers.

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