Fragmentation of the Android OS is a serious problem. There are currently four different versions of Android OS : 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 running on mobile phone systems currently. What it means is that with work on the core OS happening much faster than what of the handset makers can handle, the situation is only likely to worsen from here.
But if sources are right, Google may be shifting the onus on airing the updates from the carriers to the Market. Like what has been happening with the Maps, Google is reported to be contemplating a shift to the Market for users to download new upgrades to the OS. This change is likely to start with the upcoming Android version Froyo and then be tried through GingerBread.
“Some core elements of Android — input methods, for instance — should get this treatment. This way, just because Google rolls out an awesome new browser doesn’t mean you need to wait for HTC, Samsung, or whomever made your phone to roll it into a firmware update, and for your carrier to approve it — almost all of the juicy user-facing stuff will happen through the Market.”[via Engadget]