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Four Types of Android Fragmentation [Opinion]

Netflix and Hulu Plus had limited app rollouts because of it. Eric Schmidt and Matias Duarte say it doesn’t exist. Charlie Kindel says it’s the reason Google will lose control of Android. Jon Evans says it’s the single greatest problem facing Android. Sanjay Jha says that carriers require it and he needs it to make money. It’s a subject that Android supporters are tired of talking about and that Android competitors can’t stop talking about. It was the subject of my first official post here at Droid-Life. Fragmentation is still a serious problem.

Yesterday our fearless leader criticized Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, for bringing up Android fragmentation, saying that fragmentation is no longer an issue. While Kellen made some good points about how far Android has come since 2009, I disagree with his conclusion that Android fragmentation is no longer a problem. Four different types of fragmentation remain problematic for Android users. 

User Interface
I outlined what user interface fragmentation means and why it’s a problem in my first post here. If you’re new to Android or need a refresher, read on; if not, move on to the next section.  User Interface fragmentation refers to the sundry skins and software experiences that manufacturers run on top of Android: HTC Sense, Motorola Blur, Samsung TouchWiz, etc.  From icons to how you unlock the device to how you set up an email account, these manufacturer skins fragment the user interface on Android, thereby fragmenting the user experience. These skins are also the main contributor to the next type of fragmentation.

Operating System 
Because of the number of devices produced by manufacturers and the different skins they develop to run on top of Android, manufacturers struggle to keep all of their devices on the most recent version of Android. As Kellen pointed out, there was a time when operating system fragmentation meant some apps were not compatible with some phones. That is no longer the case for most applications, which is a great step. In fact, when Schmidt and Duarte say that Android fragmentation doesn’t exist, they consistently refer to applications working across all Android devices, not the fact that all Android phones run on different versions of the operating system. This in and of itself might not be as much of an issue if most Android phones received updates throughout the duration of the consumer’s contract. Historically the opposite has been true.

Device
As Charlie Kindel pointed out,  device fragmentation can be called device differentiation. For the most part, that’s exactly what it is. Some devices have hardware keyboards, some have gamepads, some have a camera button, some have a kickstand, etc. I don’t think this type of device fragmentation is a bad thing; it’s one of Android’s strengths. That said, there are some device fragmentations that have a negative effect on user experience. For example, the official Twitter app does not scale properly on devices like the Rezound because it hasn’t been updated to accommodate for the 720p screen resolution. These issues will be resolved as app developers update to accommodate for the new screen resolution, but it’s a notable problem.

Gaming
The last  form of fragmentation still present on Android is gaming fragmentation. Most games are playable on any device, but games that have been optimized for Tegra are only playable on devices with a Tegra GPU. If you bought a game that was optimized for Tegra and then upgraded to a non-Tegra device, you’d have to buy the non-Tegra version to play the game again. This is only going to get worse as other chipset makers like Intel make their own GPUs and get developers to make Intel GPU-only versions of their game.

So What?
At this point some of you may be saying, “So what?” You might be thinking, “Who cares if some games don’t play on every device. Just buy the right version for your device,” or “Stop complaining about little things like the Twitter app not scaling properly. They’ll fix it soon enough,” or “Yes, most people are on Android 2.2 and 2.3, but in a year everyone will be on ICS,” or “For crying out loud, please stop complaining about skins. Yes, they slow down updates, but they provide an experience that some users like. If you don’t like it, get a Galaxy Nexus and stop complaining.” If that’s where you’re at with this discussion, I totally understand. Like I stated before, fragmentation has been spoken about ad nauseam.

For those of us who want to see Android become the best operating system in the world, I think this is still an important issue. I think understanding that there are different types of fragmentation is a helpful tool in continuing discussion. As Matias Duarte pointed out in his interview with The Verge, people mean different things when they say the word fragmentation. When we talk about fragmentation, we should be specific so that we don’t keep muddying up the conversation with generalized terms that have no definite meaning.

For those of us who want to see Android continue to get better, fragmentation will persist as an obstacle, but it won’t ruin Android. I have no doubt that Android will continue to be wildly successful whether or not these fragmentation issues get fixed. That said, I think Android could be an even better operating system if Google began to address these issues head on. Google has already started to improve their standards for Android with the User Interface Guidelines and the Holo theme requirement. Over the next few years I think we’ll continue to see an even better Android experience and hopefully we’ll see some of these types of fragmentation disappear for the benefit of the consumer.

  • Alexander Garcia

    I disagree with this article completely. This “problem” only exists to the tech geeks and nerds who constantly scour the internet for the latest and greatest in tech news. For my wife and my dad, fragmentation doesn’t exist at all! They don’t even know which version of Android is on their devices and they don’t give a damn! All they care about is that the phone does what it’s supposed to do and does it well. And you know what? Good for them! All this stress and ruckus over Android “fragmentation” is just ridiculous and childish, to be honest.

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree more.  Like really, you are locked into a contract for 2 years.  Its not like people are picking up a device today, a different one tomorrow and another new one next week!  You have it for 2 YEARS.  It functions the same day in and day out.  You get a new one and just like getting a new computer with a newer version of Windows, you learn the few differences and then you are set for another 2 YEARS!  The consistent user interface argument is hogwash.  This only applies to the tech community that change phones often which is what?  5% of all Android users?

      Its like everyone wants Android to be like iOS.  It has to look and function the same on all devices.  Well how are you going to have 200 Android phones that all look and function the same?  The consistency argument only applies if there were like 3 phones for Android. 

      Fact is, “fragmentation” as it is called, is by design.  It is the very nature of what Google set out to do.  They create the OS, anyone can do what they want with it.  Some base guidelines are there in order to be able to use the market so core functionality is there.  If manufacturers were not able to customize the experience WE WOULD NOT HAVE THE SELECTION OF ANDROID DEVICES WE ENJOY TODAY!  Period.

      Bottom line, if you think Android “fragmentation” is a problem, Apple has a phone for your hand.  Every iPhone you will ever see looks exactly the same and probably will for eternity.  The Android community will be better off without the whine.

      • Alexander Garcia

        Exactly my friend! And I will also add… Android Differentiation provides us with CHOICES and I’m all for choices!

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Most Android users want choices, even those of us that want to see these UI and gaming fragmentation issues go away. It’s not about one device vs many, it’s about multiple good devices. 

      • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

        Consistent user interface becomes a problem when someone goes to buy a new phone. I’m a nerd so I like trying out new things to see how they work, but there are a lot of people who hate doing it and would rather stick with what they know. I’ve seen this over the last few years as I’ve helped move clients from Windows XP to Windows 7. It doesn’t matter how many advantages Windows 7 has over XP, they still don’t want to learn something new. I tell them that once they learn this they’ll be set for a while, but that doesn’t change their disposition. Most people keep computers for 3 to 7 years, so they rarely encounter different UIs. As you said, most people get a new phone every 2 years. Even if they decided to stay with a manufacturer, in the past two years every major manufacturer has dramatically changed the UI on their devices. It makes it harder for a regular human to be able to pick up the device and use it. 

        There may be some that want Android to be like iOS, but I certainly don’t. The consistency argument works on multiple handsets. Instead of differentiating with software, manufacturers would differentiate with hardware and services. For example, Motorola’s lapdock would be a great selling point (if it were a good product). 

        Fragmentation was not part of Google’s vision. If it were, we wouldn’t see things like the Update Alliance or Eric Schmidt insisting that they will get all devices on ICS. Their recent actions indicate that they do know it’s an issue, despite their rhetoric that it doesn’t exist. 

        Where you see a wide variety of selection, others see an increasingly crowded and confusing market. Instead of giving consumers clear choice, manufacturers have been pushing out device after device with minimal changes in specs or software. With so many devices out, manufacturers struggle to keep devices on the latest version of Android, much less the latest version of their skin. Add on the different GPUs and you have yet another issue that consumers shouldn’t have to worry about. 

        Bottom line, not everyone who wants to see Android improve by removing UI and gaming fragmentation wants an iPhone. Some of us just want better Android devices. 

        • Anonymous

          I’ll have to agree to disagree.  Google hid nothing of their intention to develop the OS and put it out there for any device manufacturer to do as they please.  Only recently, amid pressure, have they pushed for some sort of standardization by withholding the Android market if you don’t comply.  And even at that, it still won’t fix your overlay differences, it just requires core UI components to be present so that apps can have a standard look and feel *should an app developer choose to use it*.

          Hardware will only differentiate so far.  The software and how it looks and operates are what differentiates the phones to the normal consumer.  For instance, some are not happy with the stock camera on the Nexus.  Others proclaim HTC and its camera hardware/software rocks on the Rezound.  I can say that the Motorola camera software on my D3 is horrible.  So if HTC was to not be allowed to change their core Android apps (I consider the camera core) then they would not have an advantage here.

          Do you disagree with what Amazon did?  Seems they were the only tablet to stand up against the iPad.  And their UI looks NOTHING like any other Android tablet.  I guess consumers were so confused by this alien UI that they (millions of them) decided to drop $200 on one.

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            I think Google liked the idea of manufacturers skinning Android because they knew the product they had was in its infancy stages. They were preparing to fight Blackberry, not Apple. There was a time when skins like Sense made Android usable. I think that time has past. The Holo requirement and the design guidelines are a good first step, but like you said, they won’t change the game at all. 

            Some aren’t happy with the camera hardware on the Nexus, not the software. Having great hardware and software is vital. There was a time when Android’s stock camera app was horrendous. For a while I used Fission on my D2 so I could have the Motorola camera app because the stock one was so horrific. I think the software has improved to the point now, however, that the ICS camera can go toe to toe with Sense’s version. 

            I don’t disagree with what Amazon did at all. I think they made a terrible product, but I think they did what anyone who wants to skin Android should do. If you want to make it your own, really do it. They went all out, which I respect. I don’t think they really made a stand against the iPad with the Fire, but I’m sure they’ll steal lots of low end market share that no one but Coby and PanDigital were gunning for. 

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      They might change their toon when the try to buy a game and find two different versions of it on the market. I’m guessing they won’t know the difference. Also, just because you know people who have been able to avoid these issues doesn’t mean they don’t exist or are childish. For some users they’re real issues, even if they aren’t nerds.

  • Anonymous

    Poor decision for a post man, fragmentation? Seriously? Agree to disagree with Kellen all you want but you make no more a point than Russia bragging about getting to the moon second. Regardless, like I said on Kellen’s blast of Elop, fragmention=diversity=openness=android. I gave my mother an LG Ally because all she is going to do is play words with friends, I on the other hand have an OG, D2G, and a D3G because those phones actually can game and move much faster (planning on the D4 since they promised global capabilities to be usable soon). I don’t like HTC Sense nor Touchwiz so I chose a different option, i.e. diversity! Sadly the OG is the only unlocked one and I am running GPA19 on it which is awesome! (Thanks Peter Alfonso for all your work! I’d love to see YOU build an ICS rom for the OG!!!) I am still wating on MOTO to unlock the D2G and D3G so I can mod them as well, again Diversity. I have my Transformer Prime which I am typing this with my keyboard dock and I am still waiting for ASUS to unlock this bootloader as well so I am able to mod it, once again DIVERSITY! So once again this is a “GROW UP AND STOP WHINING!” post from FAL_Fan.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’m not sure what your point is. I never said that I don’t want a diversity of devices. In fact, I explicitly said that differentiating hardware is one of Android’s strengths. You do, however, mention the D2G, which came out less than three months after the original D2. One might argue that Motorola was offering choice, but I don’t think most D2 owners would call it that. There’s a massive difference between offering differentiated hardware and offering a consistent, good UI across all devices. 

  • Anonymous

    Kellex can say that because he owns almost every android device out..he doesn’t know what its like to be left out from updates because of hardware limitations and other fragmentation issues.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      I personally dont have a problem there are a lot of games in the market and so far they work great….i jave the nexus so tegra games wont show up in tje market oit of sihht out of mond…..on my xoom tho i get the couple extra games the tegra zpne provides….the thing is tjo most tegra games are soon kade available to all like siege, the jetski game, the water phusixs game, so i still dont see the big deap….most people dont even know a game is coming out unless you are like us so i think fragmentation matters to one percent of android commumity….and another thing every phone ive had has been updated i dont see this mythically report of decices being stopped supported

  • Anonymous

    When even Google’s very own Nexus S line is fragmented (NS, NS4G) and can not be upgraded in a timely manner before other non Nexus devices, you know there is a problem. 

  • Mike

    I hardly see it to be as big a issue as it is made out to be though, it’s become less of a issue in my own opinion, there are good points on both sides, but I feel the biggest points that show a sign of fragmentation are definitely points that can be fixed. Android isn’t doomed, it just needs ideas to better compensate. Android has come a long way in just about 2 years. The positives to me outweigh the cons definitely.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Exactly. I don’t think most people who want to see these issues fixed think that these issues will destroy Android or anything. We just want to see them resolved. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001874922537 Will Frame

    Ah hah! I called BS when Kellex said there was no fragmentation yesterday. Thanks for laying it out, Ron. You have to be extremely bias not to see this. I’m a huge fan of Android and I’m still able to acknowledge this issue. The only way it can ever be addressed is if it’s recognized.

    And it may not even need to be addressed. We could simply say “have your device your way” and leave it at that. If someone want’s a cheap Android phone with 2.2, let them have it. If they want the latest and greatest, it’ll be out next week.

    But we still need to be aware that market apps won’t work on every android device. Reading reviews is your friend, as is reading the description. The developers must get exhausted trying to tweak their apps for every single configuration that’s out.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll be sacked in the morning.  Well, Ron, it was nice knowing you :)

    It’s good to know that there can be dissenting opinions on droid-life though, unlike other sites with their Borg hive mind.  And let’s be honest–fragmentation is a problem.  Poll Android developers and a lot of them well tell you as much.

  • Kidheated

    I agree with a lot of what people are saying regarding “fragmentation,” but whether or not it is a good or bad aspect of Android, it does still need to be addressed. In terms of the survival of the Android OS, I believe that Google has made the right steps in demanding the uniform parts of the ICS build be standard on all future devices to carry platform despite the manufacturer. Though a good idea and a step in the right direction, it is a bit too impotent a move for so late in the mobile game. I, being one of the aforementioned Android lovers who would like to see the OS succeed, feel that more drastic actions, for lack of a better term, need to be taken… especially when your main competition’s mission statement is to “destroy you” in specific. That, assumingly, would usually not be much of a problem/threat, but considering the (continued) success of the competitor, I would think it is worth taking seriously. Another poster to these forums had the good idea of having all Android phones run vanilla and making the skin be an optional choice, as through some kind of chooser system, like you would for you lockscreen type, etc. I am just as tired of all these “debates” between Google/Apple as the next (Android passionate)guy, but it does, unfortunately, still require discussion.

    • Anonymous

      hey el obvious, he said the word apple!  get him!  fandroid sheep!

      • Stating El Obvious

        Hey hey, I want your undivided attention.  You’re feeding me, stop reading other people’s posts.  Now…back to what we were saying.  

        • Anonymous

          yeah those margins get in the way, don’t they?  i think that one scored a good 8/10, wouldn’t you say?

          • Stating El Obvious

            6/10…you’re doing good, though.  You’re a pro at feeding trolls.

  • Stating El Obvious

    You did…because you called me out on a post…that agreed with what you’re claiming you’re now saying. 

    • Anonymous

      Why don’t you go back to Macgasm where you came from?  Why troll here with your 3 different accounts that you use to go back and forth with yourself to make it look like other people here agree with you?  Go home and get off on an iFart app already!

  • http://twitter.com/kirilv Kiril

    Ron, you are now my favorite blogger just for using the phrase “in and of itself” correctly.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’m honored. :)

  • Shanehillsr

    Where can I find that broken screen wallpaper?

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      It’s not a wallpaper, it’s from a broken screen app. 

  • Anonymous

    edit: disqus blows.

  • RaptorOO7

    What’s missing is either Google or the device manufacturers not offering up ways to test a device on a simulator that will truly allow devs to test out their work before checking off which devices will and won’t work.

    While I have owned iOS devices I found them lacking in a major area, the ability to take control of the device to the level I want to.  Its my hardware I want to tweak it.  But they also have a tightly controlled world that insures app devs can test their work and make more cash.

    Are Android devs expected to buy every device in order to test their work, I certainly hope not and would suspect its not how they do it (not a dev so I don’t know).  But for Android to maintain its explosive growth users are expecting balance and a cohesive architecture.

    Google could and perhaps should be setting more requirements on how devices need to be set up in order to get the Google Apps (market access).  Skins should be a layer that is added on or removed by the user like a launcher.  Frankly I do not care for TouchWiz, MotoBlur or Sense they just seem cheesy.  The OEM’s can integrate their apps but why not make them user selectable

    • Anonymous

      Actually, they DO give you an emulator to test things on. If you get the Android SDK package, it’s in there. Do some research before you post, next time.

  • gszeman

    Nice informative post, thank you.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      You’re welcome. :)

  • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

    Sorry to say it but this problem only exists because keep bringing it up.  My Mom my sister and my wife could care less about what the phone looks like as long as it does what they bought it for.  Most applications will run on any version as well since the APIs are in place.  You can complain all you want about my home screen being different but at the core it still doesn’t screw with as much as people think.  I will admit that it sucked having to take netflix off of my rooted phone to use it on my tablet but that is like saying that everything that runs on the ipod touch should run on the nano and the old school one whatever it’s called.  Take Siri for instance. Not available on all phones even though they run iOS 5.  Isn’t that fragmentation? Unless you want Google to end up like Apple please drop the whole fragmentation thing.  the 1% that care are not the primary market for Android at this point.  The 1% that care will root ROM and get what they want out of it.  The 99% of people that buy a phone for a feature they see in a commercial are perfectly happy with said device.

    Windows has fragmentation if you want to get down to it.  People are still running 3or4 versions of Windows but no one cares about that.  Please stop bringing this to focal point you are not making it better but ignorance to what it really means makes it worse.

    • Stating El Obvious

      The problem with  your post is if this post was about why Android is better then iOS, all you sheep would be acting like the 1% who Root and ROM are the 99% and try to boast as if that’s such a huge deal.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I think the problem exists whether or not we want to deal with it. As I said in the post, I understand that many are tired of talking about it. I’m tired of talking about it. I do think it’s still a problem though. Do most users care? No, but that doesn’t mean Android wouldn’t be better without these issues. That’s the point. 

      • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

        The problem is unless you take away every the manufacturers or try to hold them to unrealistic guidelines for devices then the rate of innovation will slow down.  Android hardware (Cores, Memory etc.) has outpaced Apple and they had a 2 year head start.  Without the “fragmentation” innovation would suffer at both hardware and software levels and we would be content with using phones barely into the dual core range and still running with 256MB of RAM.  I would rather have devices pushing the envelope and breaking barriers than everyone running the same thing.  Maybe it’s a difference of my user type though.  I build from source, I have a custom build running right now on my NS4G, CM7 on my X2 and 4.0.3 AOSP on my GNex.  Not to mention my OG still runs CM7 and I use it daily along with my XOOM.  I have a decent enough job and enough disposable income to not see fragmentation as a limitation because in the long run for me it just creates more exposure to the available hardware out there. My wife has a RAZR it will not be rooted until she gets a new phone and then I will take it and start screwing with it.  The biggest problem I keep seeing is carriers and OEMs taking away choice.  Motorola swears it is Verizon that makes them lock bootloaders while HTC is unlocking everything going forward.  The driving factor I think behind HTC unlocking bootloaders is profits.  HTC had a bad quarter, this will drive more people to their devices in theory because they are easier to mod and build ROMs for.  If HTC couples this new strategy with some good hardware they have a good chance of making a comeback.  On the other hand it’s the minority that will be buying those devices.  Motorola on the other hand brought back an iconic name and is dropping millions on marketing compared to HTC. 

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Guidelines won’t necessarily slow down innovation. For example, it took until the end of last year for Android phones to finally have a better screen than the iPhone 4. 

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      +1 i say fragmentation and my friends go wtf? They have no idea as long as it works and the market is there, their not going to notice shadowgun is not in the market

  • Anonymous

    My Spidey-sense says, “love that wallpaper!” Though, personally, the lock/unlock button should be a spider. I think “fragmentation” (if that’s what you want to call it) only is present because it’s the best legitimate way for carriers to introduce and market new devices (without really putting down previous releases). Let’s face it, I have a DROID RAZR™ and I am pretty sure Verizon has done about 95% of the marketing for this phone. Granted, this is a killer beast and puts my CRAPPPPY DROID X to shame so, I wasn’t at all influenced by the massive marketing campaign. The fact that it WILL have ICS was a deciding point for me.
    I used to think OS updates were up to the manufacturer but now think that updates are really up to the carriers. Look at the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi; already has ICS, while Verizon’s LTE XOOM still stuck on HC.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      There’s really no reason to say that they need to have skins. http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/carriers-dont-want-seven-stock-android-devices-on-their-shelves/

  • Anonymous

    some games don’t have non-tegra versions.  i want bang bang racing on my nexus damnit!

    • Stating El Obvious

      I don’t want to play bang bang racing so this doesnt affect me, therefore fragmentation doesn’t exist. <— fandroid logic.

      • Anonymous

        are you the newest troll on the block?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t want SIRI on my iPhone 4 so this doesn’t affect me, therefore fragmentation doesn’t exist.  <— iSheep logic.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      I think the word yet should be in there….which has been proven developers want ro target more tjan tegra users

  • nwd1911

    If we want to split hairs we can point the fragmentation finger at every OS, manufacturer, provider, etc. Fragmentation that holds back advancement is a problem.  Fragmentation that provides differentiation is not.  While it is nice to have different UI options from HTC, Samsung, LG, Moto (did I say that?) and Nexus it provides a very different android experience for the common folks…you know, the majority of the 700,000 devices activated daily.  I have always had an HTC (first DInc, now Rezound) so Sense was all I knew.  I rooted my DInc and tried some different skins, but believe it or not I like Sense.  My wife just got a Stratosphere and there are some things I have a hard time showing her how to do as the UI is so different.  To me that causes a fragmented user experience in a negative way.  I’m not a programmer and not sure the feasibility of offering the manufacturer skin AND vanilla on each device, but it sounds like a dream world I want to live in.

    I don’t think OS fragmentation is an issue.  I was happy to hear Moto say they would release fewer devices this year, as it will address how quickly they can update their devices OS.  Not saying it will speed things up considerably, but older devices will get the love sooner.

    The thing that really scares me is Gaming Fragmentation, as it is just supporting android groups being pulled farther apart.  Android is not in danger…no one can stop this sexy beast, but you have to think how great it would be if all manufacturers stop pumping so many devices just to always have a “new” phone out and focus on fewer devices that they can support longer.  Faster OS updates and providing updates longer for each device would be great.  Coming from an Incredible, I don’t have anything to complain about and I don’t project it will be a problem with my Rezound, but sounds like plenty of folks have been burned by a lack of support before their contact is due for an upgrade.

  • Anonymous

    did you crack your screen bro?

  • Anonymous

    The biggest problem that Android is facing is the fact that there is no uniform standards for phones running the OS. What is happening is that Google updates the OS, and then all the handset manufacturers complain because it breaks their UI or doesn’t work with specific features on the phone such as a game pad or unique screen size, so they don’t upgrade the phone even though it SHOULD be upgraded, and the user loses out. Google shouldn’t have given a less then 2 year guarantee that phones will be upgraded and then have it be an opt-in program.

    Google should have laid the law down and said something akin to: You can do whatever you want when creating a phone, but in order to get the Android market, Gmail, the web browser, or basically anything that doesn’t leave the phone crippled in some way, you (the phone manufacturers) HAVE to follow OUR guidelines. I believe that by doing this, it would STRONGLY encourage the manufactures who make android phones to create phones that would not end up getting the user screwed over because the company put their customizations and unique phone features before actually making sure that the phone runs properly and has the latest security measures and features from Google. Google should also mandate that when they are ready to release a new update, all phones are going to get it, even if it breaks things due to incompatibility (too bad, you should have made your phone more compatible, because you now have users complaining, and that would make your company look bad). If something unexpectedly breaks, and the phone manufacturer was completely in specifications then they must work with Google to solve the problem ASAP, but if they weren’t totally in the specifications, then they will get ZERO help from Google (and phone companies don’t want the reputation of having problems that never get solved, or look like they are just putting lots of Band Aids on an issue that probably will break at a later date anyway.)

    Also, by making it virtually impossible for a phone to survive in the marketplace without falling in the guidelines, it would start making manufacturers start to CARE about each new phone that they release. Why? Because you have to fall in certain specifications, (let’s say that the UI has to be written in a specific way, the screen aspect ratio has to be one of a several choices [size is up to manufacture] , and you need to have a processor inside your phone that meets Google’s standards [no more slapping in unique features that just makes the phone that much harder to program for because it sounds good on paper]). By falling within those specifications, the manufacturer will probably have to take the time to work on making the phone the best and unique it can be so that it doesn’t end up in the pile of phones that are basically all the same. Also, by enforcing specifications, I believe that phone companies might find that it is cost ineffective to try and keep their UI compatible.

  • Phoenix3265

    Who’s this “Kellen” fellow?

  • http://twitter.com/jaydorsey1978 Jay Dorsey

    Google should close the development of Android (or, maybe restrict is better) to a set of hardware components that OEMs can choose from. The OEMs can build off of this hardware list and pay lower licensing fees, get full OS support and updates for 18 months (like the Nexus) which can also speed up the time it takes to release their updates to customers since they are building on a more unified platform. Unofficial hardware would still be supported, but the OEMs would have to pay more in licensing fees, as well as be on their own in getting updates to the OS pushed out the door. AOSP could continue along that same path. The idea being that ‘Official’ Android is built on the unified hardware and Open Source can be on the other.

  • Anonymous

    Yet another horrible write up.  You have no clue.  You want things to be like Apple, go buy one and leave this site!  UI cause nothing of fragmention short of look/feel of the OS.  UI’s have never, and will never, interfere with apps running (unless there are some crappy devs out, which there are).  Device?!?  Are you serious??  I want f*cking options!  If I want a keyboard, I should be able to get one….big screen, small screen, mid-tier, etc.  I will be damned to support Google (or whomever) if they force one phone only.  Games, well you need to blame chip OEMs and devs for that.  NVIDIA could have easily produced games for all but they wanted exclusive rites to only their devices.  The only true fragmentation is that of the API itself.  Period!  And that will always be there as most people cannot afford a new phone every 2 years or when they upgrade, the best phone on the market.  If Google enforces there mandate of a minimum of 18 months support for OS upgrades, and releases only 1 new OS per year, then there really will only be 2 major revisions possible at any given time.  The OS is going through growing pains, as witnessed by the lack of Honeycomb %, but that will change with ICS.  GB and ICS will be the dominant forces and then it will be ICS and JellyBean.  This will be the way of things.  The only way to fix it is to say that everyone must upgrade their phones every year or they are cut of from the market.  Which is stupid.  This is Android and we do things OUR way!  Every else can criticize all they want but they can suck it, Android is here to stay…..with YOUR so called “fragmentation”.

    • Stating El Obvious

      sheep alert.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t you have a bridge to live under??

        • Stating El Obvious

          Don’t you have a floor to put your knees on?

          • Anonymous

            Why yes I do.  Would you like to come over?

          • Stating El Obvious

            Stop trying to get laid online, bro.

          • Anonymous

            LOL!!

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I don’t want things to be like Apple. I think Google should do things more like Microsoft. They should allow for multiple form factors but enforce one OS without skins. If you read the article, I said that UIs fragment the user experience. Does it affect apps? No, but it fragments the experience, which is problematic. Try setting up an Exchange email account on a Sense phone and a MotoBlur phone. They’re totally different experiences. As I said in the article, device fragmentation is a rare problem, but devices like the Rezound have some issues when devs don’t update their apps to accomodate for new specs. Also, in the article I did call out chipset makers. I think using one standard chipset would solve that problem (or force devs to make universal apps). Like I said at the conclusion of the article, if you’re part of the “So What?” crowd, I understand. This article was for people who want to see Android improve by resolving these issues. 

      • Stating El Obvious

        exactly.  the “so what?” crowd are the sheep, and the ones who actually want android to improve (and that doesn’t automatically mean we want it to be like Apple) are the ones who appreciate what you write.

        But you should know by now, the sheep far outnumber the sensible people here.

        • Anonymous

          No, the so what crowd are the majority of users.  The nerds on this site are the only ones who care about this crap.  

          • Stating El Obvious

            Wrong.  The majority of users are wondering why the hell their “state of the art phone with 5 processors” doesn’t seem to work the same as their old one did, and the sheep are the one who say things like “no one is affected by it, because I’m not”.

          • Anonymous

            Did I say that I wasn’t affected??  No, so stop claiming I am a sheep and troll elsewhere.  The majority of the nerds on this site wonder why things have changed.  The actual majority of real users could care less that there phone has Blur, or TW, or Sense, or what OS # its running.  All they care is that they can play Angry Birds, make a phone call, and check their emails.  This is exactly why iOS is successful, because it just works.  No one on this site can seem to think out of their little nerd box that people don’t care about bootloaders, or ROMs, or even that ICS is a new OS for android and not just a delicious treat.

          • Stating El Obvious

            The “majority” of users are just complacent, or turned off by Android because of the inconsistency.  It takes a special type of moron (not you) to insist that fragmenting your OS is somehow a positive.  The fact that the AT&T iPhone outsold all of their android phones (yes…ALL) 8:1 is not some crazy coincidence.  

            Android needs a shitload of work, and it’s already been over 2 years since the Android “boom”.

          • Anonymous

            busted!!!  you didn’t use “sheep” or “fandroid” in that sentence!

          • Stating El Obvious

            Go on…

          • Anonymous

            you’re a little too eager to insert yourself and apple into every comment, even when it’s not relevant or hostile toward apple.  it’s times like these i miss mctypeanything as the DL resident troll.  bro.

          • Stating El Obvious

            You’re doing great.  I’m almost fed.  More?

          • Anonymous

            nah, just giving you feedback dude.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Eh…3/10.  Take another shot.

          • Anonymous

            your mom.

          • Stating El Obvious

            A little better.  Keep going.

          • Anonymous

            What planet are you on saying android needs “a shitload of work”?  Maybe back in donut days, but ICS is miles ahead of most of the older versions.  Are there still tweaks and changes coming/needed, why of course and there should be.  But, android is number 1 for a reason and continuing to stay number 1.  You talk about a boom like it was the think and now its not (i.e. housing boom, internet boom, etc.), but…..Android is still number 1 and that is not going to be changing anytime soon.

            As for AT&T, really it explains itself since it is the worst major carrier in the US….nuff said.

          • Anonymous

            However, more people choose a phone with Android OS than do a phone with iOS. 

            If Ford offered one car in two colors and put all their efforts into it do you not think they would sell more than any single one of 30 GM cars?  Could it be that GM has *choices* that appeal to different kinds of people because we are not all drones?  Your logic is about as bad as the iSheep get. 

      • Anonymous

        Oh yea cause Microsoft is doing well right now.  Patent trolls are more hurtful to android right now compared to this “fragmentation problem” that you talk about.  Do I want to see android improve, yes.  But in ways that make sense.  Limiting things to one device is NOT the solution.  Limiting to one chipset is NOT the solution.  Now limiting how intrusive UIs are will help getting updates faster, which intern will help with OS fragmentation.  Bottom line is there is choice, and that is what there all should be.  I hate Sense and TW, hence I will never buy an HTC or Samsung with their skins on it.  Others will never buy a device with Blur on it.  Some will only buy one with a keyboard.  Choice!  The nerds on this site think that Nexus is the supreme being and should be the only device out, but they are the minority of users. If you have problems with apps, blame the devs for not supporting a certain device.  As for you comment about setting up exchange or other activities, anyone with half a brain can figure out how to set it up, perhaps that is part of the issue here…..

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          I’m not saying we should move to one device, I’m saying we should resolve these issues with fragmentation. As I said in the article, I like choice. I think it’s one of Android’s strengths, but I don’t think UI and OS fragmentation are helpful. As for Exchange, I have set it up on every skin, but the clients I support don’t have any idea how to do it, much less what Exchange is. Every phone with a skin sets up email slightly differently, so we have to make extensive documentation to help them set it up. It’s an example of how this sort of thing affects the regular user. 

          • Anonymous

            Honestly, yes things like that are dumb to have set up differently.  But you must be able to see that fragmentation has been getting better as years go on and it has become second to real problems like patent trolls.

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            It has become less of an issue, but it is still something that Google needs to deal with. It troubles me that the chairman of the board for Google and Android’s lead designer are trying to say that it doesn’t exist. Hopefully most of these issues will be cleared up over the next year – we’ll see. 

      • Anonymous

        So how’s that working out for Microsoft?

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Microsft’s problem isn’t so much their device approach as it is that they were super late to the game and haven’t given carriers enough incentive to push their devices over Android or iPhone. If they had come out with WP7 sooner things would be different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raphael.uduhiri Raphael Uduhiri

    The solution to the fragmentation claim is simple.
    “You cannot eat your cake and have it”

    I think it’s is crazy that people essentially want to impose their preferences on others with the claim of fragmentation

    If you want 1 unified OS where everything looks the same and you get a guaranteed OS update once a year for 2-3 yrs, get IOS

    If you want 1 unified OS but still want to dabble in different form factors/features and still want all devices to get updates roughly around the same time get WINDOWS PHONE

    If you want total ability to customise your phone look and experience and want to be on the cutting edge of the specs race get ANDROID

    All these OSs have their pros and cons so is seems disingenuous to continue to harp on “android fragmentation” as if there aren’t any trade offs with IOS or WINDOWS PHONE.

    The good thing is competition causes companies to get better which is a win for the customer so we will see the legitimate issues like apps/games compatibility get better but it will never go away

    You know WHY???….its because the things that cause “fragmentation” are the same things make ANDROID stand out and have led to its success….. so watch what you wish for.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

      Well said.  We all have a choice of which OS to go with.  If you don’t take the time to research the pros and cons of each one (and they all have their own pros and cons), that really is on you.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’m not sure that the four fragmentations have led to its success. UI fragmentation definitely helped in the early days, but I’m not sure that many would care if Sense or MotoBlur disappeared. I think Android can be just as successful in the future if these fragmentation issues are resolved. 

      • http://twitter.com/eatmode4life Ray Mendoza

        My wife has used Sense since the Eris, Dinc, Tbolt, Rezound. She is now a proud iPhone user. She prefers iOS because of the quality of the apps. She liked Android for the widgets. I would put her in the 70+% of Android users out there. She played with my GNex and HATED it. Called it too much of a “geek phone”. She would take Sense over Stock Android any day of the week.

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Not everyone is going to agree. I think most people who want a really polished experience would be happy with an iPhone, people who want a super simple experience would probably like Windows Phone 7, and people who like to customize their phones probably tend to like Android. Stock Android still needs a lot of polish in my opinion, but ICS is definitely a big step in the right direction. 

  • Anonymous

    Ron I think your last paragraph sums it up great.  It’s not going to kill Android (at least not any time soon) but it’s still something that needs to be addressed and cleaned up as much as possible.  It can never be completely eradicated as long as there are multiple OEMs, but it sure can stand to get better than it is now.  Hopefully ICS will help usher in a more unified platform across all these devices for app devs to work with.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Thanks! 

      • Anonymous

        Ron you can’t tell someone that here we have this great OS that is free and open sourced and then dictate what someone does with it.  That flies in the face of being open.  You change that and then Android becomes no better than iOS or WP.  Android is made to be allowed to be used how anyone wants to use it.  Whether it be in a car stereo, TV, fridge, stove, tablet or phone.  Why do you hate freedom??!!

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Drill baby drill! USA! USA! Is that freedom loving enough? Android isn’t totally open if you want to use Google’s services. If you want to use Android on your device with Market access and Google apps then you need to meet Google’s device requirements. Just because something is open sourced doesn’t make it amazing or useful; it takes a lot more than that.

          • Anonymous

            Ok, you made me laugh there Ron.  You’re alright.  I still disagree with the article to some extent but I understand your view.

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            Good. :) I was hoping for a laugh. I totally understand where you’re coming from too. It’s comments like this that keep me going. It’s often too easy for people to freak out instead of debating the topic. I appreciate the effort you put in to engage respectfully. 

  • http://twitter.com/eatmode4life Ray Mendoza

    User Interfaces: The second a manufacturer changes the look and feel of Android, it is now Android by the manufacturer. For instance, while android apps work on HTC and Motorola, they have different UIs. A strength of Android: you can get it however you want. Granted these skins slow down roll outs, sites like this and the news say “Google’s Operating System” when in fact, it is only the base and not the whole thing when you buy an HTC phone. Apple can control this because they release (1) phone per year. iOS is updated when they want it and is pushed to THEIR devices. Google does not have ANY DEVICES (Nexus line excluded, that is a different story). The end user does not understand because there is no education out there. No one is saying “HTC Sense powered by Android” or “MotoBlur powered by Android.” There is no separation because the manufacturers dont create one. There really needs to be.

    Operating System: Yes, this is due to the manufacturers slowing down the process because of skins. Honestly, there needs to be a EOL for each OS. There is with Apple and they can control that because they dont give it out freely. After Google creates the OS, it is open for whatever the user/dev/manufacturer to do. Google cannot be at fault because in order to control it, they would have to close it. Which is the main reason many devs love android. A 13 year old kid can make a ROM for thousands of people to use. Its beautiful.

    Device: Again, you can do what you want with it. Put it on a toaster if you like. I hate the number of devices there are with the Android OS. Way too many. It dilutes the quality of android. However, the manufacturers are doing this like they did with their proprietary OSs. Look at Samsung with Bada OS. They had it on every phone they released. Google and Android are not to blame for this. I believe the manufacturers are.

    Gaming: This is also a “put it on what you want” response. There is no set processor that has to be used, so if you can get it to run on a IBM computer from 1986 and sell it, then go for it. While this can be considered a drawback, this is a manufacturer decision.

    When it comes down to it, it is all up to the manufacturer of the device. If HTC want to put 6000 phones on everyone’s network, then they can. Google cannot stop them. You take the good with the bad with Android. It is open, but that can cause some issues of the manufacturers are complete idiots.

    If the manufacturers get smart and look at what apple is doing, they can create something even more beautiful and incredible with Android than with iOS: structure where there is none.

  • Guest

    Removed

  • Anonymous

    The author of this post presents fragmentation as a problem that needs to be fixed in almost all cases. The key omission he makes is neglecting to discuss the trade-offs and unintended concequences of “fixing” any of the types of fragmentation he points out.

    Although I agree that these types of fragmentation pose problems, I think the overarching factor is that the ways Google could attempt to fix them would create larger issues in many cases. Google is no doubt debating all of these possibilities and there is a reason they haven’t been more aggressive in addressing these issues.

    I’d like to see a follow-up post from the author with his proposed solutions and an exploration of the adverse effects of Google making that change.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I’d be happy to tackle those. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter to discuss it. 

  • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

    ..

  • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

    I agree, it’s definitely a problem.  I’m also concerned about other native Android problems. One of my biggest pet peeves is the seemingly unshakable less-than-instantaneous feedback.  I’m talking about the slight delays in reaction to my touch/gesture that seem present regardless of the phone.  I hate comparing a i4S and a G Nex and STILL being able to see a difference in homescreen response or in-app response (granted it’s smaller than the difference was between the i4 and DX).

    I don’t understand why this problem is still present with Android.  I get why pre-ICS we saw the that type of thing: Android was still pretty young and had no hardware acceleration.  I get that the iPhones still have stronger GPUs, but come on, this really shouldn’t be noticeable AT ALL anymore. I have never tried a windows 7 phone and I haven’t done much reading about them, but I’ve heard that they too have that instantaneous, no-stutter response that the iPhones have.  Again, I can’t verify that, I just read it somewhere regarding the Mango update.

    Here’s my question: why not me?  I seem to recall some high level engineer or developer coming out a while back and saying that this type of thing was a fundamental flaw in the Android framework or something.  I don’t want to believe that, but I would’ve expected that if he was wrong, the G-Nex would’ve smashed that analysis to pieces right out of the box!  From the few I’ve tested (not just the crapped-up ones at stores), this isn’t the case.  WTH.

    Dejectedly Yours,

    A Very Pouty Android Supporter

    • ddevito

      Anandtech did a full review and analysis of ICS and the GNex. I do agree that occasionally the GNex hiccups. The author goes in dept to say that Google finally caught up in UI performance. The problem might be the GPU used, and that Tegra 3 devices will undoubtedly run faster. This is all due to Google’s use of Open GL ES.

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/5310/samsung-galaxy-nexus-ice-cream-sandwich-review/2

      iOS is smooth but frankly I’m tired of hearing how great it is. It’s fast, yes (my wife has an iPad 2), but you have to remember that aside from all the UI engineering you hear about, iOS isn’t built the same way Android is. Android was always meant to be a full multitasking, cloud-connected, fully flexible workhorse. Android’s “intents” (which allow data sharing) alone is light years ahead of anything similar to what iOS offers. iOS also doesn’t handle background processes quite like Android (which probably explains the battery life issues iOS 5 has).

      No system is perfect. And don’t forget how new ICS is, give Google a chance to make further enhancements

      • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

        Thanks for the link and explanation.  Is it likely that future Androids (read ‘by this August’) will be able to achieve this instantaneous feel?  I know it doesn’t bug a lot of ppl who think their phone is “fast enough” or whatever, but it really bothers me.

        • ddevito

          I think it’s likely and I personally think that in about 6 months from now all performance issues will disappear.

          Google simply took a different approach and path. I think their software development prowess saw this 5 years ago when they first thought about it, but hardware simply hasn’t caught up yet. Android’s architecture is quite advanced for a mobile OS – multitasking and intents are two perfect examples. iOS and windows Phone 7 still can’t multitask quite like Android and neither has the concept of intents.

          And also, I don’t think Google realized how important it was. After all it is indeed difficult to beat Apple at their own game. Combine that with Google’s super nerdom and perhaps they didn’t care about performance. Take a look at Google’s other products and services – does performance ever scream out (sans the search engine of course)? Nope. But they’re learning and improving.

          ICS – you might say – is simply a merge of a phone and tablet OS. If you think about, ICS doesn’t really have many features, just mostly improvements. I predict the next version will introduce more features that made Android stand out (navigation, chrome to phone, voice control, etc).

  • Steve McD

    People who want or care about the skins or things not working more than likely will either get a new device, leave android, or root it biotch

  • Steve McD

    People who want or care about the skins or things not working more than likely will either get a new device, leave android, or root it biotch

  • Steve McD

    Honestly Ron I think your write ups are terrible. Jus sayin. 

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Any reason why? 

      • Stating El Obvious

        Because it doesn’t fit into the “there’s no fragmentation!” sheep denial mode.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve only had stock devices (OG and GNex) so the skins aren’t really much of a concern to me. I do find it irritating the way games are only available for certain devices, though. And I find it REALLY irritating that HBO can’t seem to get it together and support Android 3.x and 4.x with HBO GO. I sent them an email about it a week ago or so and got a fairly BS response about how they “hope to support Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich in the future.”

  • Dude

    The word fragmentation is misused so it makes sense that Google is denying it. It doesn’t matter how many journalists or non industry professionals say otherwise.

  • Stating El Obvious

    Bravo to this post.  I found it hilarious that Kellex just dismissed fragmentation.  That’s what sheep do.

    • PC_Tool

      …or people who remain unaffected by it…

      While it may be an issue for *some*…It isn’t for me, but here I am…stating the obvious.  ;)

      • Stating El Obvious

        Are you not affected by it, or are you just ignoring it like a sheep?  You fail to realize that it affects everyone, because at some point you’ll be upgrading your phone and apps you used may not work, or you may not have the latest OS version with no idea when you’ll get it.  Only a sheep (see you) would argue that just because it doesn’t affect you, means its not a problem, especially when it affects everyone (well everyone who isn’t in denial about it like you).

        • Anonymous

          How does Siri work on your iphone 4 or your ipad 1 or 2?  It doesn’t. Fragmented.

          • Stating El Obvious

            This is the best you come up with?  Siri is not some app you download from the app store.  It was built specifically as a selling point for the 4s.  How does face unlock work on honeycomb, and froyo and gb?  It doesn’t.  Fragmented.

          • Anonymous

            No need for more.  My point is that they are all fragmented and it doesn’t matter.  Its technology.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Yes, that is my point too.  Not sure what iPhone has to do with it.  Oh, it’s that penis envy that all Android users have right?  Ok, carry on.

          • Anonymous

            WOW……..

          • Anonymous

            My point is that it happens in all tech, in all companies and it is not a problem.  Your point is “Only a sheep (see you) would argue that just because it doesn’t affect
            you, means its not a problem, especially when it affects everyone (well
            everyone who isn’t in denial about it like you).”
            I guess if your point is different you may be having trouble understanding the language.

          • Anonymous

            oh no! mac’s are switching to Intel chips?!?! whaaaaaat? But will I be supported??? My programs don’t work?!?! 

          • Stating El Obvious

            i dont get why you fandroids have to bring up apple every chance you get.  my original post, before you guys started whining and getting your victoria’s secret panties in a bunch, was that saying fragmentation doesnt exist amount to being a sheep.  suddenly all you little babies started talking about apple…what’s that about?

            someone sounds like they want an apple, but are too afraid to admit it to the android cult.

          • Anonymous

            what are you doing on an android website?  it’s kind of sad you’re wasting your time trolling.

          • Stating El Obvious

            I’ve actually been here since the beginning of this site, but thanks for asking :)

          • Anonymous

            i thought i’ve seen you around, just not in a while.  you’re a feisty troll.  out to prove something it seems.  carry on.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Thanks for your permission.  I needed your approval.  :|

          • Anonymous

            you go girl!

          • Stating El Obvious

            Nice.  Feeding the troll.  The sign of someone who is upset.

          • Anonymous

            Nah, you’re funny.  You use “fandroid” in every sentence.  Kind of comical.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Right.  I’m funny. I’m sure you’re laughing uncontrollably at my funniness.  :|  Stop trying, sheep.

          • Anonymous

            baaah!

          • Stating El Obvious

            There you go.

          • PC_Tool

            “It was built specifically as a selling point for the 4s.”

            Holy crap…you just said that?  Way to prove you have no idea what you are talking about…

            Siri was available in the App store well before the 4S. Apple bought it in 2010…they most certainly did *not* build it.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Oh man, you again?  LOL.  So you’re saying that the app store implementation is a clone of the 4s implementation?  That’s what you’re saying??  LOL!  Apple did nothing new to it, huh?  They just took Siri out of the app store, made zero changes to it, and then just put it on the 4S…that’s what you’re saying right?

          • Anonymous

            His point was, Apple took Siri out of the App store and made it exclusive to the 4S. Up until that happened, it worked on every other iPhone version.

          • Anonymous

            Siri is part of iOS 5.  But that iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S is not the same iOS 5 you get on the iPhone 4 and further less than the iOS 5 on the 3GS.  Fragmented.  The *OS* on one iPhone does not function the same as the iOS on another iPhone.  Period.  When you have the same version OS that strips out features as you go back on phone generations, that’s OS fragmentation.  You iSheep call it what you want, but if Android is “fragmented” then so is your beloved iOS.

        • PC_Tool

          *laughing*

          So because it “may” one day affect me…it affects me? Nice logic.

          Gotta wonder how you go through each day obviously greatly effected by our sun’s eventual heat-death….

          Sorry, I don’t claim to know the future…so the future…doesn’t really affect me.

          It’s only arrogant know-it-alls (see you) that think they know…everything, that get so uptight when someone points out how little you actually *do* know.

          • Stating El Obvious

            You are an idiot.  What phone do you have?  I’ll cater my post specifically for you since you’re in denial.

          • PC_Tool

            Galaxy Nexus.

            Go.

          • Stating El Obvious

            LOL!  Seriously?  I mean, are you trying to just throw me a fastball down the middle?  Geez.  Just Google “Apps that don’t work with Ice Cream Sandwich”.  Goodness man, you truly are in denial if you think fragmentation doesn’t affect you.  I’m here thinking you were gonna say you had like a RAZR or an Incredible or something.  You list the ONLY phone running the latest version of Google as proof that you’re not affected by fragmentation?? LOL…sheep alert.

          • PC_Tool

            I took your advice, and then went a step beyond that even. See how fast I learn??

            I compared “Apps that do not work with ICS” with my “List of Apps I use”, and wouldn’t you know it? No matches.

            Funny, but it wold seem I am still not suffering the ill effects of fragmentation.

            Would you like to take another swing?

          • Stating El Obvious

            Ah, I get it now.  So your solution to fragmentation is “I just won’t use those apps that don’t work!”…and you’re trying to prove you’re not a sheep?  Is that it?

          • PC_Tool

            That would peg me as you would have me pegged, but sadly, it is not the case. All the apps I use I have used since I had my fascinate… And they all work with ICS.

            Care to try for strike three??

          • Stating El Obvious

            Sadly, it is the case, buddy.  The fact that there are apps out there that don’t work for your phone, regardless if you may or not use them, shows you are affected by fragmentation because you have no choice but to say “oh well i just won’t use it” if you ever wanted to.  When you’re in denial mode, though, the logic doesn’t shine through.

          • PC_Tool

            You utterly fail to see the difference between, “Oh, I just won’t use those..’ and never even having having considered them. How convenient…
            If I do not know they exist (I.e, I have never even attempted to look for them, much less install them)…how can they affect me?

            That’s like saying that book you’ve never heard of, that has never been published on Nook, but is available on Kindle affects all kindle users. It’s bullshit…and you know it.

            You keep saying “logic”…but you don’t actually use it. I’d say try again, but you’re out of strikes. Have a nice day. :)

          • Blootzm3

            don’t waste your time with him. he’s too dumb to understand. it’s like way back when people use to think that the world was flat, and only the smart ones could see that its realy round. he will never understand due to the limitations of his brain.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Yeah it’s clearly a primitive, if not childish thinking.  “I can’t see it, so it doesn’t exist”.  Feel like I’m playing peek-a-boo with an infant.

          • Blootzm3

            LOL +1

          • Kablammo

            I THINK DISMISSING EVERYONEWHO DISAGREES WITH YOU AS A SHEEP IS PRIMATIVE.  i ALSO THINK YOU ARE A SHEEP.

          • Blootzm3

            and as he wastes his money with apps that don’t work with his new phone or operating system, we will already have our own solution. we will be prepared because it is our concern, but hopefully it will be addressed.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Yep that’s all I was saying.  But the sheep here couldn’t take it and it (naturally) devolved into an Apple vs Android argument (because they can’t keep Apple’s name out of their mouths).

            My original post was simple.  To deny fragmentation exists is what sheep do. PC Tool has proven that 100 times over.

          • Stating El Obvious

            https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=apps+that+don't+work+on+ice+cream+sandwich 
            There you go since your denial will probably prevent you from Googling.  There are countless apps that still haven’t been updated to work with ICS.  What a maroon.

          • Kablammo

            Uhh, there are only a finite number of apps on the Market.  All finite sets are countable. For being the most counted animal(GET IT? COUNTING SHEEP? IT’S A SLEEP JOKE), you guys sure suck at it.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Hey look! You just dismissed me, like you do with fragmentation.  Nice.  When you can’t argue your point any further just say “Well, whatever, goodbye!”  

            Oh and your stupid Kindle analogy?  That’s not what’s happening here.  What’s happening is your friend with a Kindle is reading a book you want to read, but that book doesn’t work on yours so you say “Oh yea?  Well I don’t wanna read it anyway!”

            Are you 4?  Or 5?  

          • Kablammo

            You asked for this phone, he answered.  Where’s your response?  I have a Galaxy Nexus too, for the love of god, cater to me.  You said you would.  Ya know what animal habitually break their word?  Sheep.  You woolly son of a bitch.  

        • Mr. Twister

          Just jumping on the Android fragmentation bandwagon? God, you’re such a sheep. Sheep sheep sheep.

          • Stating El Obvious

            LOL, is that how it works?  You guys should try a little harder.  Put some effort into this stuff.

    • PC_Tool

      …or people who remain unaffected by it…

      While it may be an issue for *some*…It isn’t for me, but here I am…stating the obvious.  ;)

  • Sirx

    Thank you for a rebuttal to the “Fragmentation is SOO 200X” argument.  Osmos HD was recently released for Android, and I was ecstatic.  But I could not find it in the market from my HTC Incredible.  So I went to the market online to buy it, and was informed that my device was not compatible.

    The funny (read: sad) part?  I side-loaded the apk, fired it up, and it works and plays beautifully.  So here I am, desperately trying to throw money at Hemisphere Games to encourage more high-quality devs to migrate to Android, and I am flat-out denied. 

    If I want to play a simple game such as this, I HAVE to pirate it!  That is inexcusable, and a clear indication that Google must strike a balance between maintaining an open OS, but laying out some basic requirements.

    Still waiting for that Google Balls app…

    • Paul

      How many devs are not supporting certain hardware out of prejudice or profit?

      • Sirx

        I would think effectively 0.  Not supporting hardware out of prejudice hurts only the developer, since (s)he is effectively strangling off a large percentage of potential customers (read:  additional revenue!).  That’s the exact opposite of what (s)he should be going for.

        • PC_Tool

          Vimeo.

          They released their streming video client with the 2.2+ restriction on it….even though it works just *fine* in 2.1.

          Dev-houses do this.  For varying reasons I am sure, but regardless, they do it…and it contributes to this whole mess.

          • http://twitter.com/TubbyMofo Marcus Villabrille

            They probably are aware that it does run fine in 2.1, but that’s just to say that if it ever does stop working on lower than 2.2, they won’t be going out of their way to fix it.  

          • Stating El Obvious

            The reason is because from android version to android version things break and backwards compatibility is not a guarantee.  It saves them time and money to not have to support 8 different variants of OS.

    • Blockkkkk12233

      I encountered the same thing on my Incredible even though im on ICS. Is it a hardware “limitation”?

      • Sirx

        It is not.  I play it on my rooted Incredible, running MIUI (android 2.3.5).  Works like a charm.  Check it out if it should become available on the market at some point.

    • http://twitter.com/GoldenCube Toys Samurai

      I wouldn’t blame the developer for that. If I was a small Android developer and sold my app for a price instead of giving it out for free, I would also block out devices that I haven’t tested my apps on.

    • Anonymous

      If you still want to encourage the developer, you could always get a hold of em, explain your situation, and make a donation. 

  • Anonymous

    Kellex is part of the “So What?” crowd.
    He keeps claiming the “argument” is over. Clearly Eric Schmidt is paying him off.

    • Anonymous

      Dr. Droid didn’t write this genius.

    • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

      This is an Android site, chances are that’s the common response you’re going to get. I’m an open fan of all mobile technology. I understand the pros and cons of all camps. As much as I love Android, fragmentation is an existing problem that I’m not afraid to admit. Ron really makes a great argument supporting the claim that it does exist. Google could easily fix the issue with some guidelines that they’re willing to be strict with an having OEMs tone down their modifications — as well as bring back that Android Alliance they talked up at Google I/O.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Ron great post. I’m not a android fan at all but I like to read about technology because I’m a fan of it, but here something I wish u had brought up & nobody else likes to bring up as well…whatever happened to this android update alliance that google & the tech press were saying how great it was. And when google was asked how it would work they didn’t have a answer to it & u haven’t heard about it since and that was back in may

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I linked to it in the article, but I didn’t bring it up by name. It used to be brought up more often, but I think most in the Android community have given up bringing it up because of the lack of an update. When they announced the update alliance Rubin said that they were still figuring out how it would work. If you read the documentation for the Holo requirement, that gives some insight on how they’re trying to make it work. 

  • http://twitter.com/mikesaimname michael broder

    Good points….but I think we know that things won;t change and will continue to get worse before they get better.

    The thing that gets me is when they release a new version of the O/S, it takes months for other devices to adopt it. Google should be rolling these out to developers as soon as they can so that at the end of exclusivity periods, you’ll have a more widespread adoption.

    • PC_Tool

      ” Google should be rolling these out to developers as soon as they can”

      The moment Google posts the OS to it’s AOSP project, it is available to every manufacturer.  Google doesn’t “push” or “withhold” it at all.  The only form of exclusivity Google partakes in is the Nexus Device…which is the unit the OS was developed, tested on, and released with. 

      …and AOSP had 4.0.3 well before the G’Nex hit US shores (I should know, I was running it on my Fascinate.)

      • ddevito

        Not to mention the big OEMs got ICS before it was officially available as open-source

        • PC_Tool

          That too. (Which just makes folks wonder what the hell is taking them so long considering our XDA / Rootz devs have gotten it running on quite a few devices already…)

  • Anonymous

    I’d rather have my choice of OS “fragmented”, than limited. *cough cough iOS*

    • Sirx

      Boo! Tell me that after you have NOT played Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run, Autoir, Infinity Blade, Bit Trip Beat, etc.

      Android’s reputation as chaotic and unstructured is scaring away top app and game developers.  I’m not sure in what way that is NOT hurting us.  Don’t hate structure just because it belongs to Apple–we’d do well with at least a bit of it over here, too.

      • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

        Completely agree. We need a little structure with Android.

      • Anonymous

        All top app and game devs have come to android.  Stepping back, is android the one to blame or the carriers for having a strangle hold on devices, skins, and OS versions?  Apple is fragmented.  how many apps do you have to hit the 2x button to make it avail. on ipad?  If you want to break down different types of frag. you will find something to complain about.  I do not believe the majority of users or devs think android is chaotic or unstructured, i would believe the devs think its more pliable and easy to manipulate.

      • Anonymous

        all offended lol

      • Anonymous

        So with how incredibly fragmented PC hardware is, how is it that developers are able to create stunning top games that work across so many PCs?  I mean there’s what, billions of combinations of hardware that can make up a PC?

        Now if you are talking about scaring away whiney iOS devs that pout because its a little more challenging to write for Android than iOS, that’s their issue.  If they don’t want to write for the most popular platform around, so be it….there’s plenty of Android devs today that are upping their game and bringing great stuff….without the whine.  Yes, its harder to write games for Android.  But if the iPhone wasn’t around, writing for Android and having to include a few more lines of code would be normal and people wouldn’t think twice.  But because iOS is a couple devices that haven’t changed sizes in 3 years everyone thinks it should be as easy as writing for them.

        Open source software can’t force people to conform.  Conforming is for Apple drones.  Open software is there for people to develop as they wish.  If you don’t like it, then Android and its principles are obviously not for you.

    • Anonymous

      excuse me, it’s *iCough iCough iOS*

  • ddevito

    This “problem” exists because Android is open (or open-”-ish”). This is absolutely no different than how Linux works in the desktop (or server) space.

    For crying out loud, look how many versions of Linux distros are based on Debian.

    http://www.debian.org/misc/children-distros

    And ubuntu, which is the most popular Debian based Linux distro of them all, that in itself has distros built off of it – Mint, etc – and those are usually a bit behind in version updates – this is natural because it takes the respective programmers time to alter it.

    The open source community calls this a strength for Linux yet somehow it’s called a weakness for Android.

    This is seriously so over-hyped and gets too much attention in the media because they’re all attention-starved Apple fanatics.

    • Anonymous

      You make some fantastic points and I totally agree. Although it may be an issue for some (emphasis on some) people, the vast majority of people couldn’t give a rats terd about the so-called problem of fragmentation. I, for one, love having different options. I actually like a lot of things about Sense 3.5, and Moto’s new “Not-Blur,” or whatever they call it has some really cool widget animations.

      If people don’t like slow updates and OEM skins, they should stick with a Nexus device (as we all should), but if you get a cheep phone, don’t be surprised if you get a cheep  experience.

      The same can be said about any phone, or operating system, or computer, car, spouse, game, hobby, etc. Anything worth having is worth spending the money on.

      • Anonymous

        One problem with this is that up until last month, Verizon (NA’s largest carrier) didn’t have a Nexus device. Therefore, us Verizon subscribers were forced to deal with non-nexus devices. And before you say switch carriers, it’s not always that easy for everyone to do that.

        • http://www.facebook.com/japultra Jason Nguyen

          Well, we really only went about a year without an unlocked device. The OG Droid was pretty much a “Nexus” device. 

          • Anonymous

            You must have forgotten how long it took the droid to get updates compared to the nexus one.

          • Anonymous

            not that long, thanks to Peter Alfonso :)

          • Anonymous

            You got that right =)!

          • Anonymous

            Don’t forget how easy it was to root either. I was on Gingerbread before just about any other phone out there. +1 to Pete :)!!!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Kirk/1386021939 James Kirk

            i had an og droid every update was released 4-6 months after it came to nexus devices 

        • Anonymous

           First of all, if you are a VZW subscriber, and still have an unlimited data account, I would never, ever, tell you to switch carriers. But, you kind of lost the point: the point was not to say that everyone should have a nexus device (although they probably should by now), I was simply stating that there are multiple high-end devices to choose from that offer a great experience.

          The RAZR is pretty awesome (and preferred by the “Woz”) and takes about 5 minutes to root. The Maxx’s battery life makes it that much more attractive.

          Just saying, I think the only fragmentation people should concern themselves with is whether they get a high-end or low-end phone. If you get a low-end phone, you will have to expect a lower-level experience. That’s just the way it is…

    • http://quiklives.tumblr.com quiklives

      I agree with you, as a Linux and Android user.

      But I also know that the reason Linux is still such a small percentage of users is because it requires you to take some responsibility as the user for how your computer runs. I use Ubuntu mostly, and it is much more user friendly than a lot of distros, but Linux is never going to babysit you in the same way Windows does, and while it’s my daily driver, I am still typing this right now from my Windows partition where all my school stuff lives (side note: going back to college as an adult is an adventure) because the rest of the world is just now acknowledging Macs, nevermind Linux, in terms of software compatibility.

      So I think it’s hard to equate Android to Linux in this sense, because that requires making an assumption that Android users are, by and large, as capable and responsible as Linux users, and that’s simply not true. A billion distros of Linux ARE a strength, because the people using them and building them are creating new things. But Android is “for the masses” and sometimes we, as tech geeks, forget how much of a bubble we live in. No, most people don’t care what version of Android they’re on or whether it’s vanilla Android or a skin of some kind…but they care if they go to download that game and it’s not there in the Market for them, and they care when things stop working on their phones, or it starts rebooting in the middle of every phone call because it’s running on old software and struggling. (My wife’s Fascinate did this 10 minutes into every phone call she made, starting about 6 months after she bought the phone.)

      • ddevito

        I agree with you but that wasn’t my point.

        My point isn’t how easy or difficult Android is to use or maintain – Linux is difficult in ways but in others it’s not. I gave my Dad my old PC running ubuntu and 4 years later it’s still his primary computer. Sure you’ll never see him in Terminal but then again you’ll see him at the command prompt in windows either – again, not my point and that’s a discussion for another day.

        Point is – Android is A LOT like Linux in terms of how it’s distributed. No wonder considering both are open(“ish”), and Android being based on it.

        There are tons of variations among Linux distros. It really is not different. Google isn’t to blame. As for the bad software it’s most likely because it isn’t stock – stock Android may not be pretty but it sure is stable. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

      As someone who has used linux for a long time this is one of the reasons I bought the OG droid. Open source shall always be best in my mind.