One could argue that Eric Schmidt of Google is living in denial about the "fragmentation" of Android, but he also makes some persuasive arguments to the contrary. He recently came forward at CES indicating that there isn't really a problem of fragmentation on Android. He claims that the platform instead offers customer-friendly "differentiation." He sees differentiation as a positive and fragmentation as a negative, and elaborated that if there were fragmentation then apps would be far more broken across the differing versions of Android, and different third party skins of Android.
He further shared, “Differentiation means that you have a choice and the people who are making the phones, they’re going to compete on their view of innovation. They’re going to try and convince you that theirs is better than somebody else.” He added, “We absolutely allow [manufacturers] to add or change the user interface as long as they don’t break the apps.” Schmidt concluded with, “What people really care about is if there’s an interoperable ecosystem of apps” instead of every device having the same UI.
In fact, you can see Google somewhat working to balance this with Ice Cream Sandwich. Any device that manufacturers want to have ICS, and still be able to get Android Market access, must support the Holo theme. While this is a slight tightening of controls, it merely means that Holo must be available to any apps that call upon it, and that manufacturers won’t be able to release devices that solely offer their own theme and not Google’s default in order to still gain access to the Android Market.
On an interesting side-note, Mr. Schmidt took some time to share his views on all the Apple lawsuits and injunctions against Samsung, and a little about Windows Phone. Here were his comments, "Apple works very hard to block choice in Germany by trying to prevent Samsung tablets [from becoming] available. That's called prevention of choice." He made the argument that consumers should instead be able to judge all products fairly; "it's called competition." In regards to Windows Phone he said, "Microsoft's trapped in an architectural transition problem they may not get through."