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OpenSignal Releases Android “Fragmentation” Report, Counts Almost 19,000 Different Devices

opensignal fragmentation3

That chart, situated at the top of this post, represents 18,796 different Android devices that are in the wild, according to OpenSignal’s latest Android “fragmentation” report which looks at the number of devices that have downloaded their app over the last couple of months. That, is a lot of devices. In fact, in last year’s report, OpenSignal reported that there were 11,868 different devices, which means we saw a 60% growth year-on-year. In 2012, that number stood at 3,997 individual Android devices. Calling the growth of the Android platform “impressive” would be an understatement.

So what’s the point of this report? OpenSignal wants to show the level of “fragmentation” in Android devices, to somehow relate that back to the benefits and negatives it creates for developers. Mostly, they point out the negatives, but do note that the range of devices in the Android world also makes the opportunity for developers greater than any other platform.

We really just like looking at this report for the neat charts and to see which devices and manufacturers are leading the Android charge. 

Here are some notes from the report:

  • Samsung still dominates, with the Galaxy S3 owning the biggest piece of the “fragmentation” pie. Following the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 also carry plenty of the load, along with the Note series. Samsung also ranks highest in terms of devices available, makes up for 43% of the total share (down from 47.5%), and owns 12 of the 13 most popular devices.
  • Google’s Nexus 5 and Motorola’s Moto G, surprisingly, are next in line behind a variety of Samsung devices. We know that the Moto G has sold well for Motorola, but the Nexus 5 has been a mystery since Google refuses to release sales numbers for it.
  • Sony apparently stands in second place with 4.8% of the share, with LG right behind it. The chart actually makes it look like LG is in 2nd, but we’ll take their word for it.
  • The Chinese takeover is real. Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo all have major presences in terms of devices.
  • HTC remains mostly irrelevant in these charts. The One (M7) and One (M8) barely make a dent when compared to the other flagship devices we just mentioned.
  • 20.9% of devices tracked are on Android 4.4+ Kit Kat. Almost 50% were on Jelly Bean. In other words, more than 70% of Android devices are on the top two version of the operating system, even if these charts make it look much worse than that.
  • The report calls out Samsung for adding new sensors to their newer devices each year, using the term “fragmentation” to describe the growing number used. They don’t necessarily ding them for trying to innovate, but as we all know, the term “fragmentation” typically means something negative when using it to refer to Android.

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opensignal fragmentation1

opensignal fragmentation1

Overall, the report shows us a bunch of information which has been documented often. Android continues to grow like crazy. New versions of Android take time to adopt, because there are dozens of manufacturers involved, along with carriers. New sensors are being introduced. Samsung is still winning, though their share has taken a hit in the last year. Chinese OEMs are coming.

Finally – piss off, OpenSignal, for calling this a “fragmentation” report.

Via:  OpenSignal
  • Competition Rules

    I don’t have time to read all comments, maybe this was stated already. Moving in a different direction than bashing anyone…I think this is great! Why is Android winning (total users) vs Apple = competition (on the hardware). Good big data review. Not really surprising results. But it highlights a good thing for all us consumers. Competition = better devices. If this became a ‘1 Android device’ vs ‘1 Apple device’ no one would be motivated to keep making newer better phones year after year.

  • http://www.SkyCapture.net/ Ian Smith

    piss off…. why?

  • skinja

    None of this matters to google, so long as the devices are running some version of android.

  • Bill Anderson

    Impressed by the Nexus 5. Everyone says it’s a niche product for techie-geeks, but it has sold serious numbers.

    • skinja

      These are not total numbers sold above. These are people who doenloaded the app, right?
      So wouldn’t it make sense that peoeple who buy a Nexus are techminded enough to download the open signal app.

  • Justin Kos

    People love attacking android for this ‘problem.’ smh

  • Shane Redman

    Hooray choice?

  • Shawn Gthorndal (Silent G)

    ….and of them all, over 93% are running the *latest* Google Play Services API.

    Suck it, OpenSignal.

  • creed

    I don’t know how you can say “New versions of Android take time to adopt, because there are dozens of manufacturers involved, along with carriers. New sensors are being introduced.” Then follow that up with “Finally – piss off, OpenSignal, for calling this a “fragmentation” report.”

    Unfortunately, this is the very definition of fragmentation.

    frag·men·ta·tion

    noun
    the process or state of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts.

    • derp hurr-durr

      Definition and how it applies to s specific subject are entirely different things.

      A billion devices all running the same exact API’s does not equal fragmentation in the sense they are trying to portray here.

      You’d think the supposedly knowledgeable crowd of Enthusiasts might understand that…

      • creed

        You don’t think dozens of manufacturers with multiple dozens of different hardware all having to try and keep these devices updated isn’t fragmentation?

        • Justin Kos

          Its all about the API’s broseph

          • NexusPhan

            Bingo. OS version doesn’t mean anything on Android anymore. Google apps, (Some) OEM apps and Play Services are all updated outside of OS updates. Those are the updates that actually matter.

          • creed

            If OS version means nothing, then please explain to me why some apps require android version 4.0+.

        • derp hurr-durr

          Bingo.

          …at least not in the context of software/API. (The more varied an OEM’s hardware, the more effort they must put into drivers/hardware support, but that is a completely different context than what is implied in the article as it does not apply to the Play Store, OS level, Apps, or APIs.)

    • Higher_Ground

      there’s more to the definition than that. Here’s a few others:

      2. the disintegration, collapse, or breakdown of norms of thought, behavior, or social relationship.

      3. the pieces of an exploded fragmentation bomb or grenade.

      4. Computers. the process, or result, of storing a file in non-contiguous sectors on a disk. As files are created, modified, deleted, etc., both the allocation of the files and the remaining free space on the disk become fragmented, slowing down data access speed on the disk.

      But even the definition you chose uses the words “breaking” and “being broken”. That’s not the same as splitting off, diverging, growing, expanding, or any other term that could be used without the negative connotations that “fragmentation” carries.

  • flosserelli

    “Fragmentation”? All this shows is the incredible number of different android devices. Yes, the last chart shows older android versions being replaced with newer versions, but graphs of other OSes over time would be similar. This is just another attempt to spread FUD and influence people who fail to recognize what these charts actually show.

    • Krazonite

      It’s especially cute when you factor in the stuff that actually drives those “sensors” they called Samsung out on. Most of which is now built into Google Play Services, which by last I/O was at around 93% penetration. Fragmentation, my ass.

  • webharsh

    I see nokia X there :o

    • Mike

      Nokia doesn’t own Motorola yet, if that’s what you were referencing.

      • NexusPhan

        He’s referencing the Nokia Android device called “Nokia X”. Been out for a while now and is a very irrevalent phone.

        • webharsh

          Yep. Didn’t expect to see Nokia X there.

  • MichaelFranz

    im sick of the word fragmentation….

    lets be honest, Android is such a huge ecosystem that is easy for it be”fragmented”. The simple fact his you have more of a hierarchy that gets updated every year. You have your top flagship devices throughout the world that are always on top, your prior year devices that while were on top last year are still right below this year beause they are still somewhat new, somewhat up to date, and perfectly capable of lasting. Then you have the devices that OEMs push out with mediocre specs that may see a few updates here and there and are probably forgotten within a year. because of this we have so many devices being created. So many companies eager to make their next buck from all aspects of the market.

    Unlike Apple who puts out 1 device (with the exception of the 5c) for each year they are truly givin each device a 2 year lifecycle before it reaches its end of life for that user.

    There really isnt anything wrong with this if you are thinking negative.

    • hoosiercub88

      Let’s also be honest.. if we’re going to use the word ‘fragmentation’ let us not solely focus on Android and Google. Because Apple’s iOS, and even Microsoft and their own WindowsPhone have fragmentation among devices and OS versions.

      • Higher_Ground

        Let’s be even more honest. It’s not a word that means “variety” or “lots of choices”. It’s a word that implies confusion and disorder. Before all the anti-android articles, most people probably thought back to when they used to “defrag” their computers. It has been a poor choice of words from the very start, as android was never “breaking apart”.

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    “Finally – piss off, OpenSignal, for calling this a “fragmentation” report.”

    This is exactly what it is, and if you don’t like it, why did you post it?

    • Neo

      Fragmentation refers to different software loads, not how many different hardware devices. Over 70% of all android devices run the latest 2 versions – both of which use a standard API.

      • creed

        You need to check the definition of fragmentation again.

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        Look at the third picture. It’s showing you the number of devices on each OS build.

    • Krazonite

      Because it isn’t. It’s a map of different devices.

      Different devices, by itself, is *not* fragmentation.

      As reported during Google I/O – over 93% of all Google Android devices are running the latest Google Play Services APIs. (This includes access to most of the sensors they call out Samsung on.)

      That stat is probably higher now.

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        You clearly missed the screenshot showing the number of devices on each OS build.

        • NexusPhan

          OS build is now almost entirely meaningless on Android. Google apps are updated in the play store. Play Services are updated in the play store. That’ where the real updates that matter are and they are all independent of OS build.

          • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

            Except for that small part about most apps requiring 4.0+ to run. So no, OS is not meaningless.

          • NexusPhan

            Good think Android devices running 4.0+ is the same as the percentage of iPhones running iOS 7. And those that aren’t are few and far between. Been about 2 years since I’ve seen a device below 4.0.

          • John Davids

            This is all moot to the OP’s point. These are fragmentation charts. They are advertised as fragmentation charts. Stop being personally offended by the word “fragmentation”. Stop looking at everything through the prism of Apple v Android, or more broadly Us vs Them.

          • NexusPhan

            Did you read the article from the source? It’s an attack piece saying how fragmentation is a bad thing. I’m saying fragmentation a great thing with pretty much zero negatives other that bad media bias that OP was propagating that aims to attack Android.

          • John Davids

            “Fragmentation is both a strength and weakness of the Android ecosystem”

            “Despite the problems, fragmentation also has a great number of benefits – for both developers and users.”

            “in this report we look at the different shape of fragmentation in countries from different economic positions, as a way of showing that fragmentation benefits Android much more than it hurts it.”

            “One of the strengths of Android fragmentation is that it allows for a great amount of freedom for device manufacturers, meaning that consumers are able to get a device that perfectly fits the specifications of their demands.”

            Yep, totally an attack piece. Do you even listen to yourself?

          • derp hurr-durr

            *laughing*

            “most apps” – he says…

            You’ll say just about anything won’t you? Even when it’s blatantly false….

          • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

            Okay, “Guest”

          • derp hurr-durr

            Yes, because that’s relevant.

            You sure wouldn’t want to comment on your “most devices” line of blatant BS…./smh

            Because hey, the user calling you on your bullsh*t didn’t bother signing in..so it doesn’t count; right?

            Keep on lying, then. (Like you’d stop even if I took the time to log in…)

          • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

            And how many older versions of Android run on smartphones capable of running a game decent anyway? I hardly think a 2.3 smartphone is used for many apps, apart from whatsapp and FB perhaps.

    • Higher_Ground

      It’s a statistical report. Obviously “fragmentation” is loaded word and I’m quite sure they know that. Even outside the context of mobile devices it carries a negative connotation.
      It is what it is, but there are plenty of choices for a title that don’t envoke a sense of controversy. I guess those don’t get the all-important clicks, though.

  • droidrazredge

    Napa: What do the OpenSignal Scouter Reports say about the number of Android Devices causing Fragmentation ?
    Vegeta:

  • Guest

    Napa: What does the scouter say about Androids Fragmentation ?
    Vegeta:

  • http://www.twitter.com/macpro88 Jacob

    Hot dang, no wonder why Android dominates the global market share. It seems Google’s master plan is working!

  • DanSan

    I also noticed just by hovering over some of boxes that they list the same phone more than once because they are counting each variant (international, verizon, sprint, tmobile, etc)

    no wonder the unique phone count is that high.

    • j

      Well, that makes sense. Potentially different hardware and different software make the phones different, not the same device.

  • slick

    Samsung is the biggest culprit here, they flood the market with all kind of variants some with $hitty software support. I was using galaxy s2 back in 2011 and it was so bad it was like using an alpha software not meant for daily driver. I felt cheated to spend so much money on a piece of junk and have to cope with countless bug and random restarts and they eventually update it to jelly bean but still hardly makes a difference, feels like a half assed effort update. Flashing cyanogenmod makes my phone alive again but then I moved on to nexus, best decision ever, f*ck you samsung.

  • sean parmenter

    Conveniently “reported” just weeks before the next iPhone announcement…

    • NexusPhan

      I’m seeing this article very differently. I feel like it shows exactly how much fragmentation is a non-issue on Android. Think about it. The fact that the developer, and really any developer, can write one app single that works on 19,000 difference devices is truly unbelievable. With iOS, you’ll have trouble writing one app for 2 devices. Need a separate iPhone 4s, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5 and soon to be more. And that’s all that really matters!!

      • sean parmenter

        Very true. It could also be a subtle way of the developers over at OpenSignal bitching about developing an app for 19,000 different devices. After all, these numbers were derived from the amount of downloads of their own Android App. Still, like you said, remarkable numbers for one OS environment.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      10:1 odds that this data if not one of these actual graphs will be used in the keynote.

  • http://www.twitter.com/cltnwd Colton

    Those graphs are beautiful.

    • Bryan Mills

      Colors are cool, i agree

  • schoat333

    Alright, who are the crazies still on 2.2 and 2.3?

    • Bryan Mills

      Third world countries

    • PoisonApple31

      Sprint users.

      • Justin Kos

        I lol’d a bit

        • PoisonApple31

          I only replied that way because I know several Sprint users on ancient Android devices.

    • Cael

      HTC, LG, and Samsung users.

    • derp hurr-durr

      It’s crazy to find new uses for old hardware instead of just throwing it away?

      – – news to me.

  • DanSan

    when they “Samsung still dominates, with the Galaxy S3 owning the biggest piece of the “fragmentation” pie” does that mean they have the most of any device out there? or do they mean that within the Galaxy S3’s there is the most fragmentation (i.e different software versions between GS3’s on different carriers)

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      More Galaxy S3s in the wild than any other phone.

      • DanSan

        So according to them any time you make a device, once it gets replaced by a new one it will be considered fragmentation. I see the logic.

        So Apple must have tons of fragmentation with the iPhone 4 and maybe even 3GS still in the market somewhere.

        • sean parmenter

          Although they did not expose iOS “device” fragmentation, they did show a pie chart comapring the two OS’s. And then gave us these notes on the bottom of the “report”:
          “The API Level Fragmentation Graphic is based on data made publicly available by Google.
          iOS API pie chart is based on data made publicly available by Apple.”

  • 213ninja

    so all of you read this report and thought immediately that Samsung needs to be bashed??

    • schoat333

      The bigger they get, the more bashing you will see. Ask Apple.

      • Maxim∑

        I’ve seen Apple bashing reduce a lot. Samsung has been getting most of the hate, but Im saving my popcorn for the iPhone 6 keynote and the DL comment section

        • Christopher Moore

          I put the over/under at 5 for Android bashing at Apple’s iPhone announcement.

    • Kevin

      Oh look. The Samsung white knight.

      • 213ninja

        no, the common sense and general logic and rationality knight.

    • koopadoop

      Success aggravates the unsuccessful (see. Occupy movement).

  • cadtek91

    Oh Samsung…

  • Bryan Mills

    When you spam the market..that’s what happens

    • https://www.heartbleedbug.com/ Intellectua1

      Remember that “HTC best seller” you were talking about earlier??? Yea like I said HTC is irrelevant not only to me but to the world.

      • Robert Boluyt

        HTC is irrelevant? Why are they the only ones that seem to be able to design a decent looking phone these days?

        • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

          Apparently there isn’t a universal definition of “decent looking”. Who knew?

          • koopadoop

            What do you mean? Black bezel logo bars are all the rage!

  • Josh P.

    Samsung and the S III, King Nothing.