Google hasn’t officially introduced Android 2.4 yet, but HTC has introduced several devices at Mobile World Congress which will apparently ship with the OS. The company’s upcoming HTC Flyer Tablet, and HTC Salsa and ChaCha phones with Facebook integration are all expected to run Android 2.4.
The company isn’t really saying what that means, other than the fact that Android 2.4 will look a lot like Android 2.3 Gingerbread to end users. But it does suggest that Google either isn’t ready to bring Android 3.0 Honeycomb to smartphones yet, or that some of Honeycomb’s features may make their way to Android 2.4 to limit any fragmentation issues.
For instance, Google Android 3.0 features “fragments” that let developers create subcomponents for each app that can be displayed side-by-side, or as standalone panels. Say you’re in an email app on a tablet. There’s room to display a message list or contact list on the left and the full message on the right. But if you run the same app on a smaller device, you can view one window at a time — using exactly the same app. I wouldn’t be surprised if Android 2.4 supports activity fragments, allowing at least some apps written for Android 3.0 Honeycomb to run on smartphones with Android 2.4.
Or the whole thing could just be a mix-up. While HTC’s Chinese press release for the ChaCha and Salsa phones says they’ll run Android 2.4, the English language version of the press release says Android 2.3.3.