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Android co-creator: Fragmentation “an overblown issue”

Posted: , by Chris P.

Android co-creator: Fragmentation “an overblown issue”
Ask any group of developers to name one major problem with Google's mobile OS, and two times out of three you'll get into a rant about Android's fragmentation and how big of an issue it is.

Enough is enough, though, for Rich Miner, the co-creator of the world's most popular smartphone OS is out to talk about the issue head-on: “I think this is a bit of an overblown issue, frankly,” he said during the Massachusetts Technogloy Leadership Council this Tuesday, “Don't forget, there are 1.5 million Android phones being activated every single day. There are 900 million devices out in the market,” Miner added manning up to the widespread criticism.

In other words we have to accept that the inherent allure of the open platform is also its biggest flaw. Miner, who admittedly has more of a personal stake in the fortunes of the OS than most, nevertheless makes a good point:

Us techies read the blogs and know what features we may be missing. I think if you asked a consumer, 'Do you feel like your phone OS needs to be updated today?' they're pretty happy with the results and the performance they're seeing. So I'm not sure it's a major issue.” 

And this rings especially true with some of us – ever asked your less technically adept friends what version of Android they're running? Try it. We have, and most often they won't even know where to find that information, let alone talk you through all the features they may be missing out on. And these people make up for a significant chunk of the close to billion Android users.

Regardless, there's a second side to the coin. Namely, OEMs and carriers who are known to take forever to release the latest bug fixes and software updates, and in some cases even give up altogether. Addressing this flaw, Miner claims that Google has become far more flexible in this regard and points to the quick containment of the latest Android-wide threat.

"Clearly, in the early days of Android, there was some learning that had to be done between Google and the ecosystem—the handset OEMs. I think Google is much better, as we’ve seen with the latest security release. Google got a patch out … very quickly to the OEMs.” the co-creator said “The OEMs, sometimes they might be a little bit too conservative. But they have to make sure that those releases are verified and tested, as do the carriers. Because it’s a Verizon or an AT&T that’s getting the phone calls from customers if that release isn’t robust.” 

His statements are sure to hit a sensitive spot with the more involved Android crowd, and some will even go as far as condemn them as self-serving – we're sure you're going to let us know in the comment section. And us? Our gut feeling is that Miner may be correct, statistically speaking. Does that make it any less relevant? Absolutely not.

source: Xconomy

23 Comments
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posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:00 11

1. ajac09 (Posts: 1367; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


agreed. The only ones that whine about it are isheep and there isheep websites

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:39

7. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Maybe they should rename android as mobile OS made for Samsung.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 18:58

14. joey_sfb (Posts: 3079; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


it's not Google problem in fact they have to slow down for the benefit of oem manufacturers.

anyway upgrading my Mac and iPad to new iOS version I keep thinking about the feature I miss out E.g airplay mirroring for my MacBook despite having the same version number.

When I upgrade my android device, I am pleasantly thrills with the new experience it's like owning a new device. No wonder I am hook and keep pestering my android manufacturer to keep up.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:39 1

8. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


exactly, of you buy more expensive device you have no problems....
if you buy a s**t for 100$, don't cry
it's freedom with android, it's not fascism like with iToys....

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:06 9

2. sriuslywtf (Posts: 275; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


No os are perfect.. Nuff said..

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:12 1

3. hms2407 (Posts: 94; Member since: 25 Apr 2013)


*is :P

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:38 1

6. sriuslywtf (Posts: 275; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Thanks.. Nazi

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:26 7

4. Slammer (Posts: 1117; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


There is always a trade off with every OS. Android is no exception. It is the most diverse OS for the average user and the user base is easily the most vast world wide.There is bound to be some fragmentation. However, if we look at the evolution of Android, it has successfully transformed itself to become the most powerful and comprehensive OS in just 6 short years.

As I have expressed in past posts, I have enjoyed immensely, the ability for Android to grow with my needs rather than having to wait for the OS to catch up with these needs.

John B.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:35 2

5. isprobi (Posts: 219; Member since: 30 May 2011)


The average Android user may not know what version they are running. But they do know when a friend has a cool app but they cannot install it on their phone. And they do know when an app stops working properly after they follow instructions to install an OS update. I think Google should put OS releases on hold for maybe 6-8 months to let phone makers catch up. After that releases should be on a reasonable schedule unless it is a security issue.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 13:38 2

11. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Apple covers their share of "Fragmentation" with help of their rhetoric and rants. Android's so called fragmentation is not DECEPTIVE like Apple's latest OS running on all devices.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 13:57

12. Zero0 (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Why hold up releases?

Release 5.0 today and all Nexus users have it instantly. Everyone else waits a few months.

Release 5.0 in 6 months and all Nexus users have it in 6 months. Everyone else waits yet another few months.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:45 3

9. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Fragmentation? What's that?

Seriously, I don't get it.

Look at the play store. At least HALF of the apps there require as low as 2.2. We're talking about an OS version from 2010 ffs. The rest require 4.0. That's an OS version from a year and a half ago, like it or not. Almost nothing requires 4.1+.

But say you got little johny running 2.1 on his little HTC hero and he wants to have that app but it requires 2.3? Well no problem as he can easily find an apk of an older version of the app and still enjoy it.

What seems to be the issue really? Developers worrying about which OS version to develop their apps for? Okay. But the majority of android users are consumers, not developers.

So do tell me please why the hell is fragmentation considered such a major issue? I mean - aside from Tim Cook's hysterical and deceiving babble about it at every apple event.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 18:47 1

13. Igneel (unregistered)


Well, there are quite a number of 4.2 only apps.. :P

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 22:24 1

18. networkdood (Posts: 6301; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Here here!! A common sense post

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 10:49 1

10. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


Fragmentation is really a big issue for android. I mean why can't both of my android phones run the same android version and use all the apps ?
Luckily there are always custom ROMs to the rescue .

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 22:08 3

16. jroc74 (Posts: 5173; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


But older iPhones and iOS versions not getting all the stuff from the latest OS version isnt a problem?

No OS is immune to fragmentation and its not an issue for most OS's. I would probably say it isnt an issue for any OS. Even on desktops....sometimes you have to update the hardware to run a newer OS. Thats a form of fragmentation.

Sometimes you have to update hardware to get all the features from some software. Fragmentation. Its just easier to get around it on a PC.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:02 2

15. roscuthiii (Posts: 1857; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


What's the meaning behind this statement: "His statements are sure to hit a sensitive spot with the more involved Android crowd,..."

Why would that statement hit a nerve with the "involved" Android crowd? The involved crowd already knows his words are true. The involved crowd is either familiar with OS version discrepancies and/or has found a workaround using 3rd parties.
And as stated in the article, the uninvolved crowd doesn't know any better anyhow.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 22:11 1

17. jroc74 (Posts: 5173; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Exactly. Most of the involved Android crowd already knew fragmentation was overblown.

The uninvolved...like my kids mother....blocked the update to ICS on her Nexus S for many, many months...because she just didnt like the look n feel of it.

Thats why this fragmentation is overblown and just something for anti Android ppl to pick at.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 03:24

20. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


I don't really mind if apple remove some features from iOS 7 for the iPhone 5 .
You still get a brand new UI and you can still run all the latest apps

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 07:29 1

21. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Do all those apps fit the screen or do many still have a big black border to them? There's problems on both sides of the fence, no OS is perfect.

posted on 13 Jul 2013, 16:27

23. jroc74 (Posts: 5173; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Whats funny about that is for Android.....they have a feature in the OS called....Fragments.....that helps the apps scale to whatever the screen size, resolution is.

But many still hate on Android. Apple has more tablet apps...but Android lets developers design apps to scale to the device size. That means if I get the same app for my phone and tablet...it will look different on each device....no need to create 2 separate apps. Its just up to the developers to take advantage of the feature.

Ppl really need to start giving Android more credit.

posted on 13 Jul 2013, 16:20

22. jroc74 (Posts: 5173; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


The point is what about features from iOS 7 that wont make it into iOS 6,5,4. What about features that wont be in the iPhone 4S, 4?

If an iPhone user wants all the current, latest features...they need to be on the latest iPhone.

Fragmentation.

And lets see what happens if/when Apple makes a cheaper iPhone what happens to features..

Fragmentation.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 22:25 1

19. networkdood (Posts: 6301; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Yawn!!! Next overhyped issue please.

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