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OpenSignalMaps Reports on the Best Part of Android – How Many Choices in Devices You Have

See what I did there? While the rest of the world is spouting off in their best Honey Badger voice, “Oh my gosh, the Android is just sooo fragmented,” I took the other route. OpenSignalMaps posted this report that shows off the thousands of different devices that have downloaded and installed their app. They even used the words “fragmented” in their findings, however, I’m just not buying the idea that having multiple devices available is a sign of fragmentation. I look at it as choice. Oh who am I kidding, I’m really just sick of every non-Android site with nothing to write about, finding another reason to bring up “fragmentation.” The platform seems to be doing just fine if you look at every market share analytics report over the last 2 years. Again, I’m over it.

But hey, check out these neat charts! Samsung clearly has taken over the world of Android. HTC is a distant second. Verizon is the top carrier. ZTE somehow is smacking T-Mobile in the face. And AT&T is no where to be found.

If you hit up the source link, you can actually hover over each of those tiny boxes and it will tell you which phone, carrier or manufacturer it is. Have fun! 

Via:  OpenSignalMaps

  • jt04

    can someone explain to me how fragmentation is different for Android than it is for Windows? Windows runs well on thousands of different PC configurations – processors, memory, hardware, etc. Linux does too. They’ve never been accused of “fragmentation”

    so why is it different for android?

  • sagisarius

    I really want to start seeing articles about how fragmented Windows is, because there are all of these manufacturers, running slightly different versions of it… oh no! It’s technology, the whole point is to empower different uses and capabilities. Kellex, you are my new hero.

  • MARPATdroid

    fragmentation is what happens when your phone explodes… not what happens when you have choices in what your phone does, looks like, and operates.

  • Dino

    The problem with android is that its not streamlined like blackberry and iphone. I’ve had a droid X, Bionic and Galaxy nexus. I’m TIRED of constantly looking for a charger to plug into and resent the fact that when I was sent a replacement for my Nexus I had to go through a painful re-customization and moving of data from the old phone to the new. Why cant I back up my settings and restore to the new phone like blackberry or have all my stuff just show up on the new phone like iphone. I’m seriously considering moving on to iphone next time. I dont have time for this. I just need a phone that works well and doesnt die on me unless its constantly plugged in.

    • Grittymcduff

      Which items exactly do not show up? You’re pictures are automatically backed up to Google+, Contacts to Google, text messages can even be backed up with any number of apps, and your apps are record in the google market and your are given the option to install them right from there? What exactly is it that you are missing? I hate you burst your bubble pal, but thats way more than you will get from blackberry and the same information you will have backed up automatically in iTunes. You’re also joking right when you dont think you’ll have charge your iphone? Latest OS update destroyed battery life and its now its worse than most android phones. Want a battery, get a Razr Maxx other than that, don’t be an idiot and enducate yourself before sounding silly..

  • How is Verizon and Sprint “brands”? O.o

    • Charles In Charge

      really? first off “is” is singular and since you mentioned Verizon and Sprint it would be “How ARE Verizon and Sprint brands?” Once we get past your simple grammatical inefficiencies we are left with the basis of your question. Think about Coke or Toyota, I hope you would agree that they qualify as brands just as Verizon and Sprint are representatives of wireless service brands. Somehow you had brain blinders on and thought physical phone manufacturers were the only brands.

      • Droidzilla

        Don’t commit egregious grammatical errors while correcting someone else’s grammar. This is the internet; that stuff doesn’t fly, here.

  • When I saw this chart, my phone instantly broke and refused to run any apps. Fragmentation is so bad that Gmail won’t run on my phone.

    wait jk

  • MikeCiggy

    The fragmentation is not that huge of a problem. It would be nice if manufacturers could release ONE variation of the phone to ALL the carriers and not 5 different version of essentially the SAME phone. I mean look at the iPhones success and it’s the same exact phone throughout all the carriers, no commercial gimmicks there. Or maybe Google could enforce some type of standard.

    I also like the post about lack of 3rd party accessories. Can Android manufacturers team up and decide on a set spot for the charging port (bottom middle) and a set spot for the headphone port this way accessories could be designed with multiple device models in mind.

  • Raiden

    Kellex, Im not sure how important it is, the article states “and AT&T is no where to be found.” but There is a block with “Cingu…” on it, which I would guess is Cingular, which merged with AT&T right?

  • fixxmyhead

    YES!!! HTC second like always

  • fixxmyhead

    Yes!!! HTC second like always

  • Austin

    Android is about options not fragmentation, every single device runs andriod. True its a diffrent version but thats part of giving the consumers a choice of whay version they want, yes every device on android could be on ics but then weres the choice? Skins are what causes the diffrent looks and variations, thats the manafactures choice not googles. The bottom line is android works and acomplishes its goal(to be an open system), being diffrent is what android is all about

    • Answerer

      Right, giving a consumer the choice of running an inferior and older version of an Operating System, especially when they don’t know what that is, is certainly great!

      • grittymcduff

        Because you havent beena bout to buy a windows XP machine from anyone, anywhere for the last twelve years…..

  • kixofmyg0t

    I went through this map for quite awhile. I cant find the Galaxy Nexus…has anyone else found it?

  • Liderc

    Sorry, I still think fragmentation is holding Android back. It could be so much more if there weren’t so many variations for developers to create apps for and so many variations of phones for google to build software for.

    • Charles


    • r0lct

      I think the lack of third party accessories is holding android back more. Even oems can’t figure out a standard pit layout for just their own phones.

    • BrianWenger

      But Google doesn’t build software for the different variations of phones. That’s all on the OEMs.

    • zUFC

      No, regular people just see it as another “option”. i can’t even beleive it’s called fregmentation. I LOVE the choices. Thats why I hate the I-junk. all the same. My stupid work wants us all to start using I-phones ans I might quit just because of that!! It’s not “Fragmentation” it’s called “options/choice/variety/Etc”. and it’s the way it’s supposed to be and the way I want it!!!!!! I can’t even beleive somone came up with this to use as a bad thing. I can’t beleive it!!!

    • Droidzilla

      Welcome to a free market.

    • Michael Salinger

      No offense, but this argument is somewhat crap and doesn’t have any basis in reality. Sorry, but this argument is crap. Any developer who says that the # of devices is holding them or Android back either has no talent or is lazy. Think of all the screen sizes/resolutions/variety of hardware desktops have, yet somehow developers manage.
      Android is built for the specific purpose of being able to support all of those screen sizes and different hardware variations. The SDK hooks, the layout control, the fragment system, etc, is made just for this purpose, and it works really well (it’s quite brilliant, actually). Most of the problems you see come from devs who first dealt with iOS, which frankly makes it too easy on developers by not providing hooks for scalability. In fact, this is the reason the iPhone has never changed screen size to this point, because of the poor backend OS design would make all apps appear with black bars if the iPhone screen size changed resolution or aspect ratio (other than a perfectly doubling it).
      Android fragmentation should be renamed Android Scalability, because that’s what it is – the ability to easily scale to different devices and different form factors. If a developer architects their app correctly, it will work on 99% of Android devices, and issues will only occur with those oddball devices (such as the double-screen devices, weird 4:3 aspect ratio phones, etc.)

      • Liderc

        No the problem is there’s 1000 android devices and they all use different versions of the same operating system.

        So you could have something that works great on a phone that runs 2.4, but it doesn’t work on 4.0. You see the problem now?

        • Michael Salinger

          No, I don’t. If you’re talking about different OS versions, there’s really 3 major versions of Android in the wild right now: 2.2, 2.3,and 4.0 (if you want to include some android tablets, 3.1 should also be included, but that’s a small % of the market place). In the windows world, you have XP, Vista, and Windows 7 still in the wild. In the Mac world, there are still lots of people on older versions of OSX. This is not a problem, this is how most operating systems work.

          • Liderc

            Look, I’ve been writing software for over a decade, I think I realize when a problem is occurring.

  • azndan4

    Die motorola

    • fixxmyhead

      I second that

  • MagnaCartaHG

    Not getting the latest updates is not fragmentation. A million different devices, is not even fragmentation. Fragmentation is not being able to run software. Very few apps really require ICS, which still has pretty tiny market share.

    Not getting the latest updates is between you and your carrier. As a former Samsung Fascinate owner, I don’t recall apps not working. I do remember the International Galaxy S getting updates quickly and Verizon leaving me hanging out to dry, but then I just got a ROM. But even then, I just wanted the performance and UI tweaks of Gingerbread. Now my Fascinate runs ICS and I have a Galaxy Nexus running the same software.

    You know what’s really fragmented? THE PC MARKET!! No company even makes my computers! But when software says you need Windows Vista or higher, my Windows 7 machine still runs the old stuff. Sometimes software comes out that my computer can’t run because I don’t have a webcam, or enough ram, or a strange collection of hardware that the developer has never coded to… I generally don’t blame Microsoft for allowing such fragmentation to be possible, I just buy the hardware I need.

    No one complains that HP has a billion variants of all of their machines (down to Costco and Sam’s Club exclusives). Even when you buy a PC from a manufacturer, they put a bunch of crap on it and if you don’t want bloat, you install fresh Windows. Reminds me of getting rid of TouchWiz and installing CyanogenMod. Same OS, but less manufacturer crap. Everything still works.

    Say what you want about Windows or how much easier it is to install fresh windows vs. rooting and installing a new ROM, it is doable. My point is that even in a world where the USER (building a computer) can create unpredicatable hardware combos, the software still runs because of good APIs. I’d rather strive for a world where I can build my own phone to my exact specs and have things still work than a world where things only work if you have specific parts.

    • Droidzilla

      How on earth did you get downvoted? This man speaks the truth!

  • So this is the ONLY problem android has … OK … LOL

  • Spencer Petersen

    Why do Android developers have such a hard time (or choose to bitch about) programming for different devices with different hardware profiles and OS versions, and yet in the decades that Windows PCs have been around with myriad processors, graphics cards, printer drivers,etc., we never heard word one about “fragmentation”?

    • MttFrog13

      1. Windows is not skinned/customized anywhere near as much as android is.
      2. The PC world, although performance may vary greatly, has pretty standard mechanics of how the memory, processor, and computer in general function. You can swap any processor that basically has the same “plug”, with any motherboard and it will work. Same deal with a monitor and it’s hdmi/dvi/vga connection, you can swap it, and it will work. The smartphone tech era is much younger and there aren’t many standards. Do you think it would work or even be possible to swap processors or screens on android phones?
      3. Windows is not open source, and costs money, therefore M$ puts in the work to make sure windows will work on a wider variety of hardware configurations.

      And the biggest difference IMO
      4. Manufacturers of Window PCs (for the most part) don’t lock the computer with booby traps and locked bootloaders meant to stop you from customizing the firmware. If android manufacturers are going to lock bootloaders, they might as well keep the phone up to date when it comes to the OS which will also mean to better cross platform apps. Being more uniform across devices will help this.

      • Michael Salinger

        1) Skins have very little to do with the ability to run an app. Most apps work on most devices.
        2) Different apps have different hardware requirements on PCs. So I don’t see the difference here.
        3) Don’t see the difference. Android also works on a higher variety of hardware configurations.
        4) Agree with you on this point 100%, but this is changing with Windows 8.

        • MttFrog13

          1. Skins delay OS updates, therefore, they increase fragmentation between apps compatible on one version of android and another.
          2. PCs are still no comparison to just go and say, “look fragmentation is no problem on PCs so why are developers crying about it on android”. Windows is developed for a wide variety of hardware configurations. And once a programmer can get an application to work on the windows version, it’s pretty much set to work on any machine. Not to mention windows versions have a much longer life cycle than android OS updates, which gives developers way more time on windows.
          3. Google does not put in time to make sure that android will be very friendly with a wide variety of hardware configurations. Someone at Motorola agrees with me. They said, “When Google does a release of the software, they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped. The rest of the ecosystem doesn’t see it until you see it. Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries”.


    • Liderc

      Android itself is a different type of software and platform than windows ever was.

  • Ivealwaysgotmail

    Given this extraordinary chart, I propose a new name for this smattering of devices…. FLAGMENTATION! 😉

  • Neomastermind

    Oh no, you’re not spinning this into a positive. What’s the point in choice if you’re not even sure your device is going to be updated to the latest and greatest? What’s the point in having choice if your device can’t play particular games in the Android Market because they require particular chip sets?

  • Fragmentation is like asking what the average grade is in a class. Does it matter to an individual. Do good and you can break that average. Fragmentation doesn’t have an effect on me, an individual, i pick my phone carefully and then load roms to get the latest updates.
    A video on youtube made a good point. iOS has to be made in a way so that it can be ran on older hardware. The 4s’s os is the same as any other device runing iOS 4. But with android, they can simply move forward and make a new OS. ICS doesn’t run on a lot of devices? To bad, but its not being hindered by that fact.

  • MttFrog13

    Too bad 75% of the android devices are crap, and 98% of them aren’t really competition to the latest iphone or wp7 phones. There is a lot of needless fragmentation when it comes to android. If I were a developer, I would only develop for the nexus devices and the 15 or so best selling devices.

    The only reason 75% of those devices exist are because, 75% of android users are not tech geeks and don’t demand the latest software/hardware and are ok with buying a $50 android phone and keeping it for 3 years. My main problem with this and the main reason I say this is needless fragmentation is because when you are paying $80/month for 2 years, that comes to $1920, so why buy a crappy phone and keep developers side tracked on your outdated phone for the next 3 years.

    I really wish that at the least, google had resolution/aspect ratio, and strict RAM requirements for each android version. These type of requirements don’t necessarily have to restrict skinning to the device. Anyway, point is that despite your denial, fragmentation is a problem. Motorola’s CEO has even said that they want to make less devices. If less devices were made, and there were slight standards imposed on the devices by google, even if it were just the resolution requirements, it would make a world of a difference. If this isn’t better by the time my contract is up with Verizon with my gnex, and if the apps on wp7 increase, I will probably be switching.


    • As far as the “price” of a phone, think of it this way bc this is how people think when they decide to buy a phone:

      $100/mo or so is a sunk cost. I’m paying this every month regardless, on-contact or not.

      What I have to pay now to get the phone is what I care about, so I compare those on-contract prices

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  • r0lct

    As someone pointed out in the verge comments on this. 0.8% of the Android models make up 50% of the Android phones sold. So not killer fragmentation.

  • Jroc869, Cool story bro

    Fragmentation is a non issue IMO. at this point fragmentation is the only knock on Android they have left so they run with it.

  • Android1997

    Verizon isn’t going to be the top carrier for long…

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    • Fattie McDoogles

      Betcha it will.. What better option do customers really have? Sprint’s network isn’t great and is about to become very unstable as they move to LTE and T-mobile’s is worse and they throttle and wont have LTE for at least 2 years.

      • Josh Groff

        Throttling > charging overages. Also, HSPA+ is about as fast as WiFi with a good signal; what use does one have for over 10-20 Mb/s on a cell phone for anyway? That’s plenty fast enough to torrent (I download at 1-1.5 MB/s on my laptop over Comcast with a SBG6580 Motorola M/R combo.)

      • HeLLo

        Really 2 years?.Typical fanboy your ignorance is amusing.So because a couple people have had coverage issues with T-Mobile or Sprint makes them the worse?.When I had T-Mobile the covereage was awesome.So people like YOU need to seriously STFU and quit preaching as if a couple of experiences people had makes it official.Stupid fantard

  • Oh fragmentation, I love you so.
    No really. I do.
    All of the skins from HTC and Motorola have brought things to the table that wouldn’t be in AOSP if the skins didn’t exist. I wouldn’t personally like a skinned device, but that’s just me. It’s having the option that counts.

    • LiterofCola


    • I agree that those skins have brought some new ideas to the table. But I think the main point is that you don’t really have an option to get the phone you want without the skin unless you root it (or get a Nexus).

      Also those skins slow down the update process. It takes long enough to build new drivers for the devices the manufacturers make.

      In the end its not the fragmentation you like, fragmentation is an ugly by-product of the manufactures choice to give you “choice”

      • I agree, but they go hand in hand.

      • They don’t have to go hand in hand. If the manufacturer would sell their phone with their skin and give you an option to go stock android, and get faster updates as a result, then fragmentation would be less of a deal.

        It wouldn’t be gone completely bc they still need to develop special drivers etc. for each phone, and they may decide to stop updating a particular phone.

        However it would give the consumer a much more level playing field on which to compare the phones. Which means it basically boils down to specs. Which means they have to differentiate with specs rather than with skins. Which they don’t want to do because it costs them more money to develop competitive hardware than to just make a different skin.

        • I’m not saying I approve of them going hand in hand, but they do. In a perfect world, they wouldn’t.
          I completely agree.

    • mike

      I’ve never heard of anybody going into a cell phone store and asking what kind of skin does this phone have.