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Android updates cause confusion, maybe backdoor hacks

by Kristen Nicole

It was a big week for Google (GOOG), with the hands-on demonstration of the updated Android OS, Honeycomb 3.0, along with an updated Android Market for web use, in-app payment support for developers, and more. But with all these updates, particularly around the Android operating system, how can one even keep up?

James Kendrick at ZDNet wonders what the current version of Android even is, referring to a Twitter conversation about Android OS fragmentation. “It pointed out how big a problem Google has with Android OS fragmentation, as the more I thought about the ‘current version,’ the more I realized I have no idea what that is.”

Android OS distribution – which version do you have?

Google can help answer that question, at least in terms of user adoption. Releasing its monthly Android numbers today, Google shows that Froyo accounts for nearly 60 percent of all Android devices, nearly doubling over the past six months. Donut and Cupcake now have less than 10 percent of market share, while Gingerbread is down to about 1 percent. Who knows what these charts will look like once tablets and Honeycomb are added to the mix, but it’s clear that Android adoption isn’t slowing down a bit.

Backdoor hack?

While these updates are promising for Android’s long-term adoption, there are potential issues at every turn. NakedSecurity uncovered one loophole in Google’s approach to fluid Market app installs, noting that signing-in to the web-based store with a user’s Google credentials can lead to a software install on their device. Should someone gain access to your Google login, they would be able to remotely install an app on your phone. If this app is a malicious one, then there could be some serious problems to deal with.