Unifying Android Versions 2.x and 3.x Something Google Would Like to See Happen


When we finally got our first real looks at Honeycomb – and even before then – we believed Google may want to eventually combine the two, with the phone version of Honeycomb and beyond taking a lot of style cues from what we know as Android 3.0 today. That still remains true – Google still wants that to happen, according to a talk with one of their engineers had with TechRadar.

But will they do it? That’s the question they aren’t keen on flat out confirming or denying, at this point.

Right now it’s a tablet operating system.

I think that coming together is a good idea. What we’re trying to do here I make a base platform that’s so good, that others only need to add native elements in their core areas.

This uncertainty – while understandable – is frustrating for us. Personally, I have no problem with the way Android 2.x looks as it is. I’ve always been a fan of stock Android over OEM customizations. But if two completely different versions of Android (in function and style) are floating about, I’d want there to be SOME degree of uniformity.

I say that knowing Google TV is unlike any other implementation of Android for phones or tablets out there now, but that’s TV. A tablet is really an extension of your phone and I think Google should work toward bringing the experiences as close together as possible. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments section below.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Yes! Ideally, hardware (like the screen) that is different will be abstracted in the OS so that the same OS can be used on many device types. This will benefit customers AND make it easier for Google developers. I’m sure this is already done to some extent in current versions of Android.

  2. I don’t see a tablet as an extension of my phone. I would prefer laptop-level specs in a tablet. That said, the idea of unification is a very good one. I just don’t see how it can be done, honestly, other than having three branches of AOSP: core, phone and tablet.

  3. Honestly it is difficult for me to weigh in without having much experience with stock 2.3 or stock 3.0.

    However, in theory, I think there needs to be a unified “look and feel”, if you will, while maintaining different functionalities. I like the idea of having a phone OS and a tablet OS, because really, although similar – they are two different beasts. Keeping some degree of distinction within each OS helps ensure people will not be asking the question “Why am I carrying around a giant smartphone?”

    Something the fruit company did not consider nearly enough.

  4. As an avid Android phone user, I’m not a big fan of Google TV at this point… Seems like it’s not quite ready for prime time. Still some issues that need to be ironed out.Hopefully the time between the launch of GTV and the present has allowed for some substantial “tweaking” of the system. Hopefully by streamlining the versions of Android it will make things easier on all of us.

  5. I actually think better innovation may come by having the os slightly different. apple has one os and ultimately it puts limits on what they do. As long as the two communicate and work well together I see no problem with it!

  6. i agree. it’s a bold move and i believe it’ll pay off.

  7. I agree with Whap.. well said

  8. I guess the “fruit company” was too busy selling millions upon millions of tablets to consider buyers might ask themselves if there is enough distinction between the tablet and their phone.

  9. How bout a phone is an extension of a tablet, or a pc. A phone is a mini computer and a Tablet should be up there with a notebook computer.

    Phone Android should look and feel like Tablet android. It should be as comparable as Vanilla is to LauncherPro where one just has more depth of functionality.

  10. Dual boot systems for the tablet.

    1) similar feel and compatiblity with the phone.

    2) boot into a more advanced version of whatever operating system makes sense.

  11. @Pimpstrong I like the way you put it over the way I did, haha.

  12. Keep in mind that honeycomb isn’t finished. Considering both Rubin and Duarte said it would be for phones too, I think this quote is more about what’s left in honeycomb’s development.

  13. The million dollar question is how will Chrome OS and Android Tablet eventually merge (if at all). Having multiple OSs floating around is not a good business model IMO.

  14. I think they’re going to ease the phone OS into 3.0 where as tablets are a completely new playing field for an official Android tablet OS, so they can make the OS look drastically different. If they just jumped head first into the new look of Honeycomb on phones, they would confuse and alienate current customers, and thats not a good thing. Since people are used to the look of the phone OS, you have to take the transition to the new look gradually as to ease customers into the new look. The new UI is sharp and brings a lot of what Android is missing, but its different than the current UI and making such a big jump would hurt the customer perception of Android.

  15. i fink it would be a good idear if everyone just kept their stupid opinions to themselves and just shut the phuck up. thanks :)

  16. I think after the Atrix, that it definitely makes sense, as I could see the same docking trick done in tablet form, somewhere in the future.. same benefit of only having one data connection.

  17. I agree as well with bringing the two together. But what do we call it? Honeybread? Gingercomb?

  18. @Scott Ice Cream Sandwich, just watch :P

  19. They need to be merged. The biggest reason is because I want Matias Duarte to influence the phone UI aswell, and make it more consistent and more polished.

  20. @Dude: It’s been clearly stated by Google (Smith or Rubin, I can’t remember which) that Chrome OS is for devices with keyboards (notebooks and maybe even desktops) and Android is for touchscreen devices (phones, tablets, etc.).

  21. Why do they need to be the same? From what I saw of 3.0 from CES, I don’t think the UI would suit a smaller screen at all.

    As long as they share the same APIs and can easily talk to each other, I’d actually prefer a different experience between a phone and a tablet.

    I wasn’t interested in an iPad when I had my iPhone, and I’m not interested in the Galaxy Tab, since I have the Galaxy S. I don’t want 2 identical devices that have different screen sizes, I want a reason to buy a tablet that isn’t covered by my phone already.

  22. Hmm. I’m less interested in UI developments. I usually install a different launcher and widgets that I want anyways. That’s kinda the point of it being open. I can make it look and feel the way I want. Hopefully they continue to let us to that.

    What I care more about are the services. Voice Control. Search. New hardware that allows us to do more things we’re yet to think of.

    I’m not sold from what I saw of honeycomb during the Xoom CES presentation. I prefer the look and feel of WebOS. Hopefully there’s more to it.

  23. I agree the OS should be unified. This has multiple advantages as seen with the iPad many iPhone users who are not too tech savy picked up an iPad and were ready to go. If Android will now be different in a different form factor then we might as well go back to the 20th century where every Nokia had it’s own menu options.

  24. Well said, Jordan. Nobody thought the “Fruit Company” could make a music player, so they made one that changed the way we think of music players, selling billions in the process. Then nobody thought they could make a phone. So they made a phone that changed how we look at phones, selling millions of them to people who’d never even thought of owning a smartphone before. No one thought tablets were good for anything, so the “Fruit Company” made one that showed what tablets could do in a way no one had even conceived before, convincing millions of individuals and corporations that tablets were a “must have” item. You don’t have to like Apple’s products, but there would be no Android tablets had there been no iPad. No one even had one in development. You don’t have to like Steve Jobs, but he did create a company that knows how to innovate.

    Apple couldn’t care less that you consider the iPad inferior to the XYZ-Android Tablet. They’re selling iPads as fast as they can make them.

    I think there’s a distinct advantage in the UI being familiar. I’d like to see the only real difference between a phone and a tablet be the display size. Display size does make a difference. A 7″ or 10″ tablet isn’t a huge smartphone. There are many things the smartphone’s display isn’t large enough for. Even the monster display on my EVO.

  25. Tabs are cool but google needs to focus on there bread and butter which is and always will be phones. If I buy a tablet I want the same exact feeling as my phone just on a bigger display. Keep it uniform Google…keep it UNIFORM! (Homer Simpson fist shake)

  26. I’m there! Just found a new company selling t-shirts with QR Codes… I’m interested. They promote the world’s greatest phone: Android http://bit.ly/fDyUfL

  27. @jdog25

    That would be hilarious…they would be putting the two together to mke a sandwich, wouldnt they?

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