Android Apps And Google Fragmentation

One of the biggest strengths of the Android OS is that fact that it can run on so many different devices and the global growth where they are now the market leader. Android looks to maintain that lead for many years. But it is that strength which has turned into its growing weakness which has manifested itself in fragmentation of the market. While it does look like Android updates are not supporting all the phones, a bigger issue may be the problems with Android apps which are not keeping up with all the phones which could be a bigger problem.

If you start to look at all the various types of phones which have to be supported, it quickly starts to show the problems that app builders have to contend with. Just look at the size of the screens across all the various handsets and if you have something that has intense graphics such as a game, you see the problems which start to emerge. A 4 inch screen versus some of the newer 4.5 and larger screens have to have code written for the size of the screen. If you have done that for Android 2.2, that does not mean that the same will run correctly under Android 2.3.

In the market right now, you can walk into a wireless carrier and find Android phones which are running different versions of the Android OS for sale. That is the basis of the problem and should not be the case. The bigger problem is that these different Android OS phones cannot always purchase and run the same Android apps. That is a recurring theme in the complaints that are being made. Let’s say you have an Android phone which is running Android 2.2 and your friend shows you a really great app on his Android 2.3 phone that you really want to have. It could be that you cannot download that great app because it is only supported on Android 2.3. This is part of the bigger problem that Google has to figure out a way to resolve for the long term and all the coming Android phones with ICS.

CNet is currently running a survey about whether Android phones are upgradable enough and at the moment, 70% of the responders are saying NO. While they only have 715 people responding, it is an indication about how people feel about the Android OS. If the general perception is that they are not, what is that going to mean for the market for those Android phones? Apple has proven that their phones going back to the iPhone 3GS can support the most recent iOS 5 version. There are reasons that the Android OS cannot duplicate this, but they need to come a lot closer than they currently are.

Most of this current rise in questioning Android versions came about because of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) which is Android 4.0. When it was reported that Android 4.0 would not run on Nexus One it created a lot of questions about all the different versions of Android that are still in the market and being sold on new phones.

Hopefully with ICS, many of the app problems and compatibility are resolved. 0

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