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Study: 86% of Android developers say fragmentation a problem

updated 12:40 pm EDT, Mon April 4, 2011

86pc of Android devs hurt by fragmentation

A fresh study from Baird venture capitalist William Powers has suggested that 86 percent of Android developers see OS version fragmentation as a problem. Only 14 percent of the 250 developers asked didn't see it as an issue, while 57 percent either saw it as a "meaningful" or a "huge" problem. He added that some were also worried about store fragmentation triggered by the Amazon Appstore and other portals.

Many also found iOS easier to code for than Android, and thought it was considerably easier to get app exposure and proper pay on iOS than on Android. There were a large number of "junk" apps making it harder to be seen.

Wilson still argued that developers should write for Android first, but developers were hedging bets and usually writing for both. About 71 percent of those asked were writing for Android, but 62 percent were supporting Apple's platform and by extension writing for both. Just 27 percent were developing for another platform, in part because Android and iOS were much easier to program than BlackBerry or Symbian.

Google until recently repeatedly denied that fragmentation even existed and, at one point, falsely claimed that Android apps would work across virtually all platforms. Some apps, especially many of Google's newer apps, won't run on anything less than Android 2.2, which excluded most of the Android user base until early this year.

The firm has recently shown signs of admitting the problem exists and is unofficially believed to be engaging in a crackdown on excess fragmentation that would limit how much HTC, Motorola, Samsung, or any other vendor could change. Its decision to withhold source for Android 3.0 is owed both to the rush to get a release out before the iPad 2 but also to control fragmentation. The move conveniently prevents companies from installing Android 3.0 on devices that aren't optimized for the OS or getting an early start on customizations.

Hardware OEMs have often thrived on Android fragmentation since they believe it helps them arbitrarily differentiate their phones, but the policy has usually led to months long delays for updates and, in some cases, completely orphaned products like the Galaxy Tab that won't get an update beyond what first shipped.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google is deathly afraid of Amazon

    Amazon could crush the Android Market. Easily. They have content, they have a delivery mechanism, and most importantly they have experience delivering products to end users. All Google has experience with is delivering AdMob ads to end users.

    Fear of Amazon creating their own splinter of Android to crush all the other Android splinters is why Google closed the Honeybomb, er, Honeycomb source code. They want to keep it secret for as long as they can, in a desperate attempt to make something, anything, happen in the pad computing space for them. Good luck with those Honeycomb "shortcuts."

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uh oh

    There's the dreaded F-Word again.


    Google does nothing, the F-word comes out.
    Google try's to control it, Apple-bags cry out that Android is "not open". Blah blah blah...

    Either which way, iFans need something to make themselves feel better about iOS getting killed by Android.

    Don't worry, when the smoke clears, deep inside, you know what OS will come out on top....


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. chas_m



    How's that "open" thing

    workin' out for ya?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Working out great Chas

    Chas, sometimes you have to understand implications of things.

    In terms of, is Android winning the market place?

    The answer is YES.

    Of course developers would like it easier to code across the many variants of Android manufacturers release.

    But its this openness, that is the reason for the market adoption and in turn, reason for the so-called 'fragmentation"

    I guess you just can't understand things at this level. Oh well - have fun with your fan comments.

    Meanwhile Google has done a great job of squeezing Microsoft and Blackberry out of the market. Two companies that took "your" advice and compete with closed systems.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Google is deathly afraid

    >>> Amazon could crush the Android Market. Easily.

    Just like the Verizon iPhone will crush Android??

  1. aardman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    So who is this Wilson fella who mysteriously crops up at the beginning of paragraph 3?

  1. tfmeehan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wrenchy making himself feel better...

    ...with the only thing you've got-marketshare. The iPhone actually makes money.

    When the smoke (mostly blown by people like you) does clear, Android will be on top of the marketshare heap looking UP at iOS on top of the only thing that matters.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apparently, a money-making platform no longer

    matters to Wall Street. The only thing that matters is who has the biggest market share for some reason. I honestly fail to understand how this view came about. Nokia was practically on the verge of collapse until Microsoft came to their rescue and Nokia still has a fairly large market share. I really don't see how Android is providing Google or developers with revenue in proportion to market share. Exactly what makes Android a better or healthier platform than iOS apart from unit sales of cheaper products. I do see some benefit for consumers in terms of cheaper cost and more models of smartphones, but it really appears that the Android financial model leaves something to be desired. Is Android's strength being based on some future potential or its current revenue-making ability?

    Does anyone have a link of Android's current revenue by fiscal quarter of how much it is earning for Google? Since it won't be in licensing fees, it would have to be ad revenue.

  1. studentrights

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Has double the marketshare of Android if you include the iPod Touch and iPad. Plus most of the profit too. What was it? 43% of ALL mobile phone revenue - not just smartphones - all moblie phones.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ tfmeehan

    >>>The iPhone actually makes money.

    Congratulations. Have fun paying for those huge profits Apple is making! I'm sure Steve would thank you personally. He really cares.



    - Sent from my Android Device.

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