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Apr
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A recent study by William Powers of Baird Research has revealed that a whopping 86% of developers think that Android fragmentation is a problem. While only 24% of devs described it as a "huge problem," it doesn't discredit the fact that the overall percentage was so outrageous.

fragmentation

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson still recommends developers write for Android before iOS, as he predicts that iPhone vs. Android is just a remake of Macintosh vs. Windows. Of course, there are a certain number of developers that write for both platforms, many of whom found that it was easier to get exposure on iOS than Android, citing the amount of "junk apps" in the Android Market as the reason.

So, from a developer's standpoint, it looks like Google is on the right track by cracking down on fragmentation. Past that, the only thing left to do is take control of the Android Market to ensure victory for our little green mascot.

Source: Fortune via Electronista

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Timothy

    The chart adds up to 101%, always a trustworthy source if they can do complex math

    • ari-free

      You have to learn about something called a margin of error.

      • SiliconAddict

        Umm wrong. You can never get above 100%. Margin of error takes into consideration error in 100% of the survey. Duh.

        • Tim

          He meant rounding.

          30.6 + 30.6 + 38.8 = 100

          Rounded:

          31 + 31 + 39 = 101

          TYL.

  • Tyler

    There all gonna bitch if Google locks the system down to avoid fragmentation.

    • SiliconAddict

      No Google needs to stop putting out a new god damn OS ever quarter. They put out a new OS every 18 months and I can guarantee you this problem goes away or becomes drastically less of an issue.

  • http://androidized.com Lucian Armasu

    I'm actually glad articles like these are coming up. It will make it easier for people to accept that Google needs to standardize Android more.

  • http://kenkinder.com/ Ken

    The thing is, Google already enforces compatibility guidelines on devices that want to use Android Market. See here for more:

    http://source.android.com/compatibility/cts-intro.html

    That more or less guarantees each Android-branded phone with Market will run the same apps. Most of the fragmentation problems aren't with different API's installed by each OEM.

    Most of the fragmentation is from a lack of timely updates, which Google might be able to do something about (no evidence that they are). Another major issue, for game developers, is that each device has different hardware specs, screen sizes, response times, etc. There's literally nothing that can be done about that except for making everyone use the same hardware, which is obviously a non-starter.

    So will Google's "anti-fragmentation" efforts tackle these problems? Unlikely. Google's promise is to give their partners an early look at the source code while everyone else has to wait. It's got nothing to do with compatibility or real fragmentation.

    Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Adam

      "Another major issue, for game developers, is that each device has different hardware specs, screen sizes, response times, etc."

      You hit it on the head Ken. One would think they could avoid this issue easily enough by supplying a hardware "rating" or "version" to let people know which apps will run on which versions. Right now its pretty much wild west territory of trying and buying games.

      • MicroNix

        So how is an Android smart phone (in this regard) any different than a PC? As a PC gets older, it can't run the newest games like the brand new alienware Joe next door just bought. At some point in time, your device will not be up to snuff to upgrade the OS, play the newest, hottest games, etc. It's called the computer facts of life people. Just like a PC you buy with decent hardware specs that should last for a while from a reputable manufacturer. This isn't entirely Google's issue, its not entirely the manufacturer's issue and it isn't entirely the consumer's issue who blindly buys whatever is cheap.

        Listen, PCs can deal with different screen sizes, response times, etc. In fact, some of the better devs say "fragmentation" takes them all of about 5 extra minutes to make it back compatible with older OS versions, etc. Screen sizes are what? 3.7", 4" and 4.3" for most popular Android phones? People act like there are infinite sizes when the majority of manufacturers are purchasing the same dang screens. Looks like 4.3" qHD displays will be in for 2011 for many new phones.

        While I agree there should be a little more tightening of standards, people need to get away from the iOS mentality. If people can program for PCs with *millions* of hardware combinations, they can do it for Android.

        • Adam

          Nobody is saying all phones should play all games and apps. They are saying it should be more clear when you're phone isn't capable of running something. Right now you can download an app and have no idea it will run like shit until you've already paid for it.

  • http://bongizmo.com bongizmo

    What kind of a poll has 4 answers in the "yes" category and 1 answer in the "no" category?

  • mike i

    why is that there are probably 3 Major versions of Windows running right now (XP, Vista, 7) plus numerous Service Packs not to mention the thousands of hardware configs yet Windows game makers can make it work, but for some reason it is so hard for Android game developers to deal with it?

    • SiliconAddict

      The difference? XP is an 11 year old OS. Anything that runs on Vista will run on Windows 7 and the reverse.

      Now lets look at how many versions of android are out there. 1.6 = XP. These are the die hards who don't care about upgrading.
      You have android 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.3.3, and now android 3.0. All released in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Imagine if 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 all came out within 8 months of each other and had massive under the hood changes. Do you think developers could keep up? Google has to slow the hell down. 18 months. Release a new OS every 18 months and most of this goes away.

      • skitchbeatz

        18 months is much too long in the mobile landscape. maybe they can get it down to 12

    • Jose

      Minimum requirements are published for each game. That is not the case for Android games and I'm not sure how reasonable that would be for Android. I think people should run a test that rates each phones specs directly in the android market. All apps could then be filtered based on whether the phone meets each of the minimum specs.
      Is the processor fast enough?
      Can it process 2d fast enough?
      Can it process 3d fast enough? If required?
      Is there enough available RAM?
      Is there enough available memory?

  • anyone

    I suppose developers using the NDK will be subject to hardware fragmentation issues.

    I'm sticking to Java exactly for this reason and all my 1.6-based code works great on 2.2 (I can't test 2.3 because of the Google Maps issue!!).

  • JJ

    The good thing is now google is working on fixing the fragmentation problem by being more strict on their release of the source code. I know its suppose to be an open os but something has to be done to make it more united and in the long run make it more stable accross the board. Either way android is still an awesome os. Although windows phone 7 is catching up sort off.

  • Paul

    I would consider this more believable had android been given less of a chance to fail this test. 4/5 of the answers are technically the same; fragmentation is a problem. Fragmentation was already considered a problem to begin with, so why bother?

  • Kaldo

    Same guy who predicts that Apple will hit 410$ a share.

    http://www.tuaw.com/2010/11/06/aapl-could-hit-410-says-bw/

    And we all know the market has never pushed "enhanced" surveys in any way to manipulate trends.