Android Fragmentation Overload Chart

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
By OP Editor

Steve Jobs says it in the Apple Conference Call, now Tweetdeck confirms the Android fragmentation overload problem.

Chart: Android Fragmentation Overload Problem

If you are a developer, are you going to buy all those devices to test out all the hardware and software differences? How do you troubleshoot software device compatibility?

Android Fragmentation Overload Chart

This is the chart of Android device fragmentation, without considering software / firmware variations, handset maker modifications, and carrier modifications. Android has other problems as well: New Android phones are still often sold with obsolete software, with no way to update the “open” phones. Carriers are making their own app stores that are proprietary. Android device makers are open to force proprietary user interface upon their Fandroid users.

Result? There are few, if any Android device that provide the “experience” Google advertises.

Briefly, Google tried to copy Apple’s integrated model with the the now abandoned Nexus One, but dropped the money losing project after numerous problems and slow sales of the Google hardware.

tweetdeck via gizmodo


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Tags: Android

6 Responses to “Android Fragmentation Overload Chart”

  1. Just because there’s a plethora of devices running Android out there, that doesn’t imply fragmentation. Fragmentation results when developers are forced to create different version of their app in order to target different devices. Many Android developers are able to create a single version of their app that hits all certified Android devices which means many developers are not experiencing fragmenation at all.

    Some are, of course, and the reasons they are experiencing that fragmentation are much more interesting than mislabeling fragmentation.

  2. I never denied the existence of fragmentation in the Android platform. Any platform that makes its source code open and allows any device manufacturer to manipulate its code will suffer from fragmentation to some degree.

    You don’t seem to understand what fragmentation is, however, from a developer’s persective. A multitude of devices does not equal fragmentation and an evolving API set does not equal fragmentation. Fragmentation occurs when developers are forced to create multiple builds to hit multiple devices. The Android platform has actually done a decent job at mitigating fragmentation while still offering advanced technological features.

    I wasn’t at Google I/O so I don’t know what Google execs said, but the only quote in your article:

    “New devices from these partners will keep getting the latest platform updates for the next 18 months afterwards if the hardware allows.”

    Sounds like a commitment on Google’s part to force OEMs to enable updating of their software for 18 months, and doesn’t have much to do with fragmentation. The functionality that enables automatic updating of the platform has already been in place in the Android Platform itself since the beginning; it’s just that some OEMs don’t make it easy for the customer.

    In fact, no where in your article is there anything that would lead anyone to believe that Google admitted anything. The fact that there is fragmentation in the Android platform is obvious and unavoidable; your articles are just describing something else.

    • Multiple devices = more testing = more time = higher cost.

      Apple HAS offered over 24 months of software updates for ALL devices since day one.

      Google promises that ’some’ devices will get 18 month of updates, IF the device is compatible. Guess what? Choose google device and you’ll almost always be behind security updates etc.

      Too bad some fandroid drones are too blind to see it.

    • You’re right, more devices means more testing which does generally mean a higher development cost. That’s unavoidable. That doesn’t necessarily mean that fragmentation in the underlying platform exists.

      It’s great that Apple offers 24 mos of s/w updates. I think we expect that nowadays in our smartphones. Wouldn’t you agree, however, that it’s much easier to offer that when you own the h/w and the s/w? You said yourself, after all, that “Google’s” phones, the Nexus line, get updates before other OEMs. Why? Because they control the h/w and s/w layers, just like Apple.

  3. Google only updates the most recent version of Nexus phone first, willfully delaying software update even for slightly older Nexus phones, in an attempt to force Android users to get the most recent (slow selling) device.

    Apple releases ALL software updates for all devices at once.
    2007 iPhone: supported for over 31 months
    2008 iPhone 3G: supported for over 28 months
    2009 iPhone 3GS: still supported, now over 22 months

    Google only promise 18 months for ’some’ future devices.

    Also, one version of Angry Birds works on all iPhones (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). Android experience was so poor on some devices Rovio had to write a reduced Lite version for the really sluggish Android devices.

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