Google's Android Roadmap: New Clues Emerge

Here in the Android-watching world, the air has smelled of uncertainty for quite some time. Ever since Google announced , the tablet-optimized edition of its mobile OS, there's been no shortage of questions about the platform's future and the direction in which it's headed.

The big unknown, of course, has been what's next: Will Honeycomb make its way to smartphones? Or will Android devices be assigned to one of : the Froyo- and Gingerbread-filled phone fork and the tablets-only Honeycomb detour?

Thanks to some revelations made at this week's , we're finally getting some firm answers.

First, a quick primer on where things stand right now: Google's latest smartphone-focused release is , also known as Android 2.3. Google took the wraps off of Gingerbread in early December. Thus far, it's officially available only on the ; for the rest of the smartphone pack, the Gingerbread-flavored is still pending. (The vast majority of Android phones -- about 89 percent, according to Google's latest estimates -- are currently on Android 2.2 or 2.1.)

Then there's Honeycomb, or Android 3.0 -- the new version made especially for tablets. This sweet software entered our lives last month when Google gave us a . About two weeks ago, Google held a media event in Mountain View at which it and provided the first , the soon-to-be-released inaugural Honeycomb tablet.