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Thread: Android Fragmentation Graphically Depicted; ...and it is Gory

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    Android Fragmentation Graphically Depicted; ...and it is Gory



    Here's a news piece that we didn't quite get to yesterday with all the bigger news that happened. It's a good thing that Google may be planning to refocus the Android ecosystem and gain better control of it, as we reported just yesterday. Because, these two graphical representations clearly indicate how bad of a problem the Android fragmentation problem has become. In the past, Google wanted us to believe that there was no problem and that the setup simply resulted in greater diversity. However, as you can see in the pics, that diversity may be going a bit too far, as there are literally thousands of different Android devices out there, and at some point Google may need to reign that in. Regardless, whether you want to call it fragmentation or variety, the study that was the source of these pics brought out some interesting facts.

    Here is a breakdown of some of them: ("The study uses stats from customers who have downloaded the OpenSignalMaps application.")
    • There are 3997 devices running on Android
    • Samsung products are the most popular, followed by HTC
    • The Galaxy S II is the most popular Samsung device ("The Galaxy SII (GT-i1900) had 61,389 of its users downloading the application in the last half a year.")
    • Samsung grabbed 40% of the market (which seems to match up with other similar studies and marketing data.
    • "Interestingly, the study showed a higher percentage of ICS devices than the official Google data. ICS was adopted by nearly 8% of users as of April 2012."



    It's fascinating to see all these strange devices that most of us have never heard of, like the Concorde Tab (a hungarian 10.1 inch device). This really shows just how many small companies world-wide have been jumping on the Android bandwagon. What do you think of these stats?

    Source: OpenSignalMaps
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  3. Master Droid
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    I imagine it's a fine line to walk between Apple's "we'll make the device you want whether you want it or not and you'll like it" and open source's "here's the tools to make whatever the customers' want" ideology. Both have their pros and cons and fragmentation is the biggest con Android is dealing with. Reigning in fragmentation without turning into Apple is going to be fairly difficult I think.
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    This will be Androids downfall if things don't change. When I say "downfall", I don't mean the end of Android. I'm saying this will hurt Android, but to what extent I do not know
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    I bet most people that download this app are more tech savvy then the average user, it would be nice to see stats from an app such as Angry Birds or Google Maps.
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    Google can reign in fragmentation by approving all final add on's or changes to the baseline android system. So if Moto wants to include Smart Actions, they need google approval first. Google can then determine if the change/add-on is going to make updating the OS a P.I.T.A. These approved releases of Android can then be branded "Google Approved" or something. So if a company doesn't want to go through this process, they still have this option. However, their device cannot use that term in marketing and consumers will know their is risk the device doesn't have Google's blessing and therefore might not get regular updates.

    As it stands, I don't think the Verizon Galaxy Nexus would get this approval.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoff5093 View Post
    I bet most people that download this app are more tech savvy then the average user, it would be nice to see stats from an app such as Angry Birds or Google Maps.
    I agree, but I think you will find the same issue with Angry Birds. Rovio cited fragmentation as the main reason it takes so long to release versions on Android. They once tweeted "“the Main challenge with Android is the amount of different devices. They are all different. Takes forever to test." Another problem is that devs are forced to cut corners in their UI development or send costs through the roof. There are too many screen sizes so they simplify it (make it ugly). This is why Apple and WP versions of the same app tend to look nicer. Google does not need to become Apple, but they certainly need to set standards and convince the android manufacturers that it is in everyone's best interest.

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