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Android: Is it "Fragmented"
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Feb 8, 2011, 01:56 PM
 
Post started from a thread over in the Lounge.

So, is Android "fragmented" like the media perpetuates, and what does fragmentation mean?
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 01:58 PM
 
One word: Yes.
Another word: Substantially.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stogieman View Post
Is that 10 million sold to customers or retailers? We all know Samsung has been pretty shady with reporting their sales for the Galaxy Tab in the past. Why should we believe their Galaxy S sales?
Stogieman, first, the onus is on you to show that Samsung's sales numbers for Galaxy S phones are "too high" as you imply. Second, and a hint, they're tops in terms of mobile OEM vendors in the US according to comScore. Third, do you have any idea how many smartphones there are running Android? You do know the Galaxy S is one of dozens, right?

But what's the point in any of this anyway? I don't see the relevance here.
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It's not just a problem for consumers, but also a problem to software developers: they just can't make any money off Android, unless you have a blockbuster. But even then, you have to work hard to make it work on specific models. It's really a pain. A friend of mine works for a small Mac-centric software development firm and pretty much the best thing that has happened to them in the last year was the release of iOS 4.2 on the iPad and the app store. But even bigger companies such as id software are very cautious at moving into the Android space.
OreoCookie, you're not getting it. It's a problem because you say it is, and because the media says it is. For the several reasons already mentioned, this problem is overblown and overhyped. And every platform faces many of the "problems" that Android faces. But the bottom line. Android is a top mobile platform worldwide. Period. Go ahead and attack it. But it's on top.

Now, you're logic. You have a friend who this and that... and then you make a generalization. Yes, iOS users spend more money on paid Apps than do Android users. But Android users do in fact buy Apps too.

Did you know that the median revenue per year an iOS developer makes on an App is about $700? A very small percentage make substantial revenues, most don't. So here we are again, calling the kettle black. All platforms are subject to a small number of Apps hitting it big.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Google is trying to fix some of these shortcomings in the future, but denying that there isn't a problem is actually hurting the platform you prefer. If I were you, I'd shout to google, Samsung and every other relevant company for you if you see a short-coming (I want Honeycomb on my Galaxy Tab!/I want Android 2.3 on my xxx phone!). BTW, this has worked in case of Apple on more than one occasion: it was developer interest that had prompted Apple to release a native SDK for iOS and to remove restrictions on how code must be written (when they wanted to kill off Adobe's Flash-to-Cocoa touch conversion utility).
Yawn.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Apple isn't going for market share, but revenue. They're pretty comfortable with the segment of the PC and smartphone market that they have, because they're getting the best return on their investment (roughly half of all the revenue of the smartphone market goes into Apple's pocket, even more if you were to add iPod touches, the most popular iPod at the moment).

The reason that Android is doing so well is that Windows Phone 7 is doing rather poorly (in terms of business models, Android is competing with Windows Phone 7, both are licensed from a software maker to handset makers). MS is doing such a bad job at vertical integration and delivery of updates to fix 1.0 woes that even Paul Thurrot is losing hope.
Scratches head...

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
This seems like a list of guesses rather than something based on even the faintest rumor.
No my dear Oreo, no.
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 07:16 PM
 
So, since you have development experience, as you've claimed, you surely know about the importance of testing software, and that it can easily be the larger, more time-consuming part of development, right?

Obviously, it's much more awesome to develop for a "platform" consisting of about a hundred different devices, with different hardware specs, on at least five different OS versions, than for a platform consisting of ... four devices (just talking phones now, to keep it simple. Tablets is a whole other bag of tea, as there isn't any actual Android-based tablet out, so far, just one running as a phone with a stupidly large screen.).

Also, you actually have to HAVE those devices around to test on.

Also, what do you do to accomodate all those devices functionally?

1.) Write a different version for each device and each software revision (since carriers are late or completely unwilling to update), to actually take advantage of its features/power/screen resolution?
How many can you support? How many devices are worth developing for? Will the work you've invested in supporting the Galaxy Tab be a complete waste of time as it becomes clear that it will never ever actually run a real tablet OS? Will you think twice before ever betting on a single device again?

2.) Or just write a one-fits-all version? Guaranteeing that your app can use none of the newly added OS features or snazzy hardware of higher-end or newer devices.
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 10:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
So, since you have development experience, as you've claimed, you surely know about the importance of testing software, and that it can easily be the larger, more time-consuming part of development, right?

Obviously, it's much more awesome to develop for a "platform" consisting of about a hundred different devices, with different hardware specs, on at least five different OS versions, than for a platform consisting of ... four devices (just talking phones now, to keep it simple. Tablets is a whole other bag of tea, as there isn't any actual Android-based tablet out, so far, just one running as a phone with a stupidly large screen.).

Also, you actually have to HAVE those devices around to test on.

Also, what do you do to accomodate all those devices functionally?

1.) Write a different version for each device and each software revision (since carriers are late or completely unwilling to update), to actually take advantage of its features/power/screen resolution?
How many can you support? How many devices are worth developing for? Will the work you've invested in supporting the Galaxy Tab be a complete waste of time as it becomes clear that it will never ever actually run a real tablet OS? Will you think twice before ever betting on a single device again?

2.) Or just write a one-fits-all version? Guaranteeing that your app can use none of the newly added OS features or snazzy hardware of higher-end or newer devices.
LOL. With all due respect, you have no idea what you're talking about. Here's a start:

Android API Levels | Android Developers
     
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Feb 8, 2011, 11:00 PM
 
We've developed iPhone and Android versions of our app. There were certainly some additional challenges for the Android version due to the variety devices. But, those challenges weren't nearly as severe as the iPhone crowd wants to believe.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 03:48 AM
 
What kind of app?

I would think that building a database front-end is somewhat less challenging to port across hardware and OS versions than something heavily dependent on hardware choices and acceleration - games, image manipulation, video, etc.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 03:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
We've developed iPhone and Android versions of our app. There were certainly some additional challenges for the Android version due to the variety devices. But, those challenges weren't nearly as severe as the iPhone crowd wants to believe.
I concur with our developments. There's certainly more devices, but of course, you don't need them all to test on for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because of Android's slick general APIs, among other things.

Each platform has their positives and negatives. Android has more devices but it is by far way more open than iOS. That alone makes a huge difference developing for it. Any serious developer has the same gripe about iOS: too closed and that's challenging. Yes, control is supposed to mean better Apps. But just tell that to all those basement developers who each get like 8 glorified Asteroid Apps with really bad graphics and 4 levels pushed out to the App Store so they can say they have published Apps. There's a ton of garbage on Apple's ecosystem too. Again, all platforms are subject to this.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 08:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What kind of app?

I would think that building a database front-end is somewhat less challenging to port across hardware and OS versions than something heavily dependent on hardware choices and acceleration - games, image manipulation, video, etc.
It's a product selection app, so we aren't heavily dependent on the hardware.

But, this is the classic Mac vs. Windows argument. Developers worked with the fragmentation there because it was necessary; despite having a head start, a better user experience and less device fragmentation, Mac ended up with a minimal market share. And, there are Windows computers with superior hardware than Mac computer, making the platform more appealing for high-end games.

The same thing is probably going to happen to iOS: first out the gate, but already second to Android in market share and, with the newest top end devices, hardware performance.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 08:57 AM
 
We already have business stakeholders telling us to shift our focus from iOS to Android, based entirely on market share. Stakeholders (and $) care nothing for fragmentation or easier-to-develop-for when it comes to market share.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 10:32 AM
 
But with Windows vs. The Mac, the issuewas price as an entry point. The huge numbers Apple ships (vs. Android, where the number is spread across dozens of devices) means that Apple has economies of scale that currently no other manufacturer can match.
     
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Feb 9, 2011, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
But with Windows vs. The Mac, the issuewas price as an entry point. The huge numbers Apple ships (vs. Android, where the number is spread across dozens of devices) means that Apple has economies of scale that currently no other manufacturer can match.
Not really. Apple's iPhone is more expensive than most high-end smartphones. In addition, making this statement with the likes of Samsung and Sony in the game... doesn't add up. Again, Samsung is the number 1 mobile OEM in the US, not Apple.
     
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Apr 5, 2011, 06:30 PM
 
^ People keep forgetting the iPod touch, which is 1:1 compatible with iPhone apps.

-------------
Nope. fragmentation is not a problem:
Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide

Speaking of Android, you’re probably wondering why there’s no showstopper like Infinity Blade for the platform. Well, wonder no more. Says Sweeney, “When a consumer gets the phone and they wanna play a game that uses our technology, it’s got to be a consistent experience, and we can’t guarantee that [on Android]. That’s what held us off of Android.” The problem with Android is consistency. “If you took the underlying NGP hardware and shipped Android on it, you’d find far far less performance on Android. Let’s say you took an NGP phone and made four versions of it. Each one would give you a different amount of memory and performance based on the crap [the carriers] put on their phone.” Bottom line, for Epic to do the kinds of things they do on iOS, “Google needs to be a little more evil. They need to be far more controlling.” Even so, the main reason Epic has focused on iOS? “It’s really the best place to make money.”
     
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Apr 5, 2011, 06:41 PM
 
How dare you spoiling this Epic Thread with facts.

Prepare to be "anacdotalized" by freudling.

-t
     
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Apr 20, 2011, 07:53 PM
 
I do believe that it is fragmented... although is there something that can be done about it? I don't really think so. Fragmentation is going to be relavent because android is, for the most part, open, and anyone can put it on their phones if they choose to.

Now where I think the major problems lie is in the coding for applications and the "types" of applications people want to do. If you're doing something like making a twitter or facebook app, you don't have to worry about it as much. On the other hand if you're making a game you have to factor in who you're developing for, what's going to be the minimum required specs to run the game, and after this, how much are you going to charge...

Of course you have "larger" problems like phones not being able to run embedded flash videos (2.1 eclair with the Galaxy S phones was a big one) and other things like new phones (Atrix) coming out on 2.2 when 2.3 has been out for months now.
     
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Oct 27, 2011, 01:16 PM
 


the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support

7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.
Fragmented.
     
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Oct 27, 2011, 09:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Certainly fragmented. But, they seem to be exaggerating iPhone OS compatibility, claiming that iPhone1 and iPhone3G are compatible with the most recent OS.
     
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Oct 28, 2011, 01:18 AM
 
You are misreading the chart.

The iPhone 1 was compatible with the current major OS version 3 years after its release.
(I.e. in Jul 2010). It's not claiming that the iPhone 1 is compatible with iOS 4.

-t
     
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Oct 28, 2011, 08:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
You are misreading the chart.

The iPhone 1 was compatible with the current major OS version 3 years after its release.
(I.e. in Jul 2010). It's not claiming that the iPhone 1 is compatible with iOS 4.

-t
Gotcha. Thanks.
     
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Oct 29, 2011, 10:42 PM
 
That chart only shows what cellular carriers are doing - it's up to the carrier to decide what version of Android is available for a given device, in order to get you to buy new devices.

So, if you confine yourself to that, then yes, it's somewhat more fragmented than iOS.

However, unlike iOS, since Android *is* open source, there are several mature, easy-to-install Android ROMs available that allow you to upgrade even the original Android phones (like the G1 and the G2/Hero) to 2.3.

I realize that in the Mac world of do-it-for-me-so-I-don't-have-to-learn-myself, that's probably unacceptable, but the fact does remain that if I feel like putting 2.3 on my old phone, I can. The same cannot be said for those who want to run the latest iOS on a device that isn't supported - or want the features of iOS that Apple has deliberately confined to only the latest and greatest hardware.
     
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Oct 29, 2011, 11:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
That chart only shows what cellular carriers are doing - it's up to the carrier to decide what version of Android is available for a given device, in order to get you to buy new devices.
Right, and this is the fundamental problem with Android: while Google adds great new features to the OS, Google has given the carriers the power to decide whether or not customers actually *get* those features.
     
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Oct 30, 2011, 02:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I realize that in the Mac world of do-it-for-me-so-I-don't-have-to-learn-myself, that's probably unacceptable, but the fact does remain that if I feel like putting 2.3 on my old phone, I can. The same cannot be said for those who want to run the latest iOS on a device that isn't supported - or want the features of iOS that Apple has deliberately confined to only the latest and greatest hardware.
For one, doesn't jail breaking allow for similar back porting onto older iOS devices?

But more relevantly: just because you *could* stick a custom ROM onto your phone doesn't mean any meaningful number of users does. And if they do, that's just *another* thing to target for — not only do you have dozens of hardware configurations running different versions of the software,, but you also have a small handful of geeks running custom firmware with newer versions than should be possible on the hardware used.

(Also, "do-it-for-me-so-I-don't-have-to-learn-myself" falls under "I-will-pay-for-shit-that-just-****ing-works-and-that-I-enjoy-using-I'm-not-18-anymore-and-have-better-things-to-do-with-my-time". YMMV, obviously.)
     
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Oct 30, 2011, 09:15 AM
 
The image is very telling: android users should expect to be abandoned. People are buying these to be smartphones but 3 years from that their software could feel like it has devolved into a feature phone given how fast things change. By if apple isn't careful and they decided to intro cheapo phones to satisfy pundits, apple could find itself in the same boat as android. But apple is smarter than that.
     
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Oct 30, 2011, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
For one, doesn't jail breaking allow for similar back porting onto older iOS devices?
Actually, you don't even need to jailbreak to roll back to an earlier version. You just need to run a desktop app that prevents iTunes from calling home to verify the installation and sends iTunes the verification message it's looking for.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 02:53 AM
 
^ opposite.

Newer OS onto older, unsupported devices.
     
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Nov 3, 2011, 08:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
By if apple isn't careful and they decided to intro cheapo phones to satisfy pundits, apple could find itself in the same boat as android. But apple is smarter than that.
Apple have introduced "cheap phones," but in their own way. The iPhone 3GS is now available in an 8 GB only format for $0 with two year contract. And the iPhone 4 is available for $99 with two year contract. I suspect that next year, when the iPhone 5 is released, the iPhone 4 will become the $0 phone and the 4S will become the $99 phone.
     
   
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