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Android loses developer interest due to fragmentation

Android loses developer interest due to fragmentation
Android fragmentation is continuing to erode developers’ attitude to the platform and for the first time coders detract their interest in the world’s most popular mobile platform. IDC carried out a survey among 2,173 developers asking them about their priorities and preferences. A follow-up survey of 484 devs cemented the findings.

"We've seen a steady erosion of interest in Android" among developers, Mike King, Appcelerator's principal mobile strategist said. 

Looking back at the charts, it’s the first time that fragmentation is making developers reconsider their intentions and sentiment towards Android. Previously, programmers were almost as willing to work on Android as they were for iOS, and now interest is fading. 78% of devs were interested in developing for Android phones, and only 67% were keen about Android tablet programming. Fragmentation even brought a new category into the listing - Ice Cream Sandwich tablets.

"The fact that Windows Phone is increasingly a strong third in interest level, and the fact that we're getting some compelling Windows Phone devices out there, I think is going to cause some problems for Android over the long term if they don't do something to curtail that fragmentation," King commented on the another factor for the decline in dev interest.

As for the rest of the platforms, interest has simply nosedived for RIM’s platform, webOS and Symbian. Check out the numbers yourself in the charts and let us know what’s your sentiment towards developing for Android and will Windows Phone affect it.

source: IDC via The Register

Android loses developer interest due to fragmentation
Android loses developer interest due to fragmentation

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posted on 20 Mar 2012, 07:54 3

3. bloodline (Posts: 691; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


Is it me or is the rest of you guys dumb? Once android 4.0 has completed its distribution...guess what no fragmentation

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:07 12

7. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


and when will that happen 6 months after the next major android release. oems are still putting out phones with 2.3 on them. no android is screwed that is why windows is the future

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:24 6

10. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


The whole concept is that after 4.0 there will not be such a gap between OS upgrades.

We'll see... who knows what will actually happen.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:19 7

23. drahmad (Posts: 478; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


their is so much more in the way of Android, i foresee a very dim future for this platform.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:21 4

24. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


If I wanted psychic readings I'd be calling Miss Cleo.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 10:40 3

29. Whateverman (Posts: 3191; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Yeah, what with all the "Doom and gloom" predictions for an OS that is currently doing very well? ICS is designed to address that issue, so only once we see 4.0 on new and current devices will we be able to tell.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 12:42 1

46. drahmad (Posts: 478; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


take this pill
http://wmpoweruser.com/vuclip-survey-37-of-us-people-prefer-nokia-as-their-next-device/

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 11:01 8

33. eDiesel (Posts: 141; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)


Windows..... the future HAHHAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAHHAHAHAAAHHAHAA.
no.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 12:33

42. jove39 (Posts: 1273; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Well...Android is feature rich platform...and now with integration with linux kernel 3.3...doors for new possibilities are opened...fragmentation is definitely a issue...big issue...and Google is not willing to do anything about it!

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 16:53 1

51. jlscott777 (Posts: 45; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Linux/Android will go the same way for mobile devices as it did for desktop and laptop platforms. The Windows platform will roll over it just like it did before.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:06 1

6. gp284 (Posts: 120; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


what is fragmentation?

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:20 6

8. darkkjedii (Posts: 10956; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Too many different versions of an os on too many different phones.

posted on 21 Mar 2012, 01:55 1

56. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


When you buy an android handset, and the OEM refuses to give you the latest android OS. As a result, you have android devices running different versions of android OS.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:32 14

13. darkkjedii (Posts: 10956; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Seriously though fragmentation is a big issue with android. I was talking to a guy that develops for both iOS, and android while waiting in line for the new iPad... He told me that due to the various versions of android os's,manufactuer skins, and different screen resolutions that android is a nightmare to develop for,and that he was considering dropping his support. This has plagued android since the first os update. I've said it before, and I'll say it again android is a great platform, but it's in too many hands. Apple controls the entire experience from hardware,to software,to chipset design, and due to that iOS is a better optimized platform (while definitely not perfect), it's more polished, and smooth running. Both iOS, and android could learn from each other, but google needs to take more control,and that will make the platform better. I think that's one of the reasons google decided to buy Motorola. In time Motorola will be smoother than the rest of the android experience, just watch, and yes I'm an apple guy,just unbiased.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:48 6

26. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


It's the different size of phones and looks that attract people to Android in the first place. The only option you have for iPhone is white or black. Not every wants the same screen size, color, shape. Google simply needs to up their requirements for the low end phones and keep the software updates more basic.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 10:32 3

28. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


I agree. Completely agree about the choice part especially. I just want to point out that even with this huge update from GB to ICS, Samsung and HTC have updated their (select) devices relatively fast at right around 4 months.

If I had the I9100 instead of the T989 then I would probably have ICS within this month as well BUT I have the device that T-Mobile feels I would like(I do though).

If the next update is written in a way that allows skinned devices to easily update in 2-3 months then I would be satisfied and I hope the Devs would be as well.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 12:39 1

44. KaiTech (Posts: 16; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


True, variety is what makes Android attractive.

Plus keep in mind that with the release of the iPhone 5 this year Apple will either have to:
1. Keep the customers happy with a larger screen size and piss the devs off with fragmentation of their own.
2. Piss the customers off with another 3.5" screen and keep the devs content.

Either way iOS is headed in a similar direction, maybe not as severe as Android is right now, but it will remain an issue for all platforms. WinMo7 is headed there as well in their next release.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:39 1

14. bragzter (Posts: 44; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


OEMs and carriers have to be blamed for this. OEMs wanna put touchwiz, sense, blur and whatever they wanna call their UI to try to deffrenciate themselves is causing that. And also carriers pushing upgrades to certain devices so they cal load their bloat on them and force users to buy a new device if they want the latest version of the OS. That's where Apple and Microsoft has the advantage. They push the upgrades themselves, and all devices gets it. Now what if Google decides to close Android and starts setting rules for updates to reduce fragmentation. Will devs and users like it?

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 10:56

31. ngo2dd (Posts: 781; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


OEMS skin on app has very little to done with it. If you make an app work for say 2.3. Then all phone with 2.3 can run it. Where you run to problem with app is the Screen resolution, the amount Ram, the CPU, the GPU, and OS.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:39 1

15. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid (Posts: 123; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Now this is certainly not good news!

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 08:45 3

17. Fallout09 (Posts: 414; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Developers are stupid. Why would anyone want to miss out on the smart phone market share leader? Just develop for the majority version and have a little forward thinking in your code to implement updates as needed.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:14

22. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1264; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


What you are saying makes sense to most people. But it is hard for the developers to do so. Keep in mind, a lot of newer phones now are a lot more powerful than the ones came out 1 yr ago. They want to push the apps to their full capacity, but if they have to be functional with the older ones, it is just hard to do. So they need different version. It is like making one main app, then modify it for 25 different versions. Every time you revise the app, you have to do that 25 more times. It could catch up to you fast. It gets old...

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:09 3

21. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


Fragmentation is really hard to control especially for Android since it has tons of OEMS. Google has a little control over them.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:44

25. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Such poppy cock, all the devs have to do is build the app for the lowest common denominator because Android 4.0 can still run the apps anyway. Losers complain when they find that they have to do a little extra work. Apple is in the shade because there is only one bloody iPhone and a single OS but there is still fragmentation on their side. Once the adoption of 4.0 is greater than 50% you will see the difference as 4.0 is built to scale automatically depending on what device it is on, what will developers complain about then?

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 09:51 1

27. jreed2560 (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Mar 2012)


Fallout is right. As long as android continues to dominate market share, developers aren't going anywhere

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 11:00

32. vslayer (Posts: 34; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


it matter the software coding of an OS this is what is all about

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 11:44

34. ilia1986 (unregistered)


I wait for a comment from Sir Sniggly to respond to this. I trust that he will offer us a clarification on the matter.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 11:45

35. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


time will tell as long as google keeps getting bent over by oems and verizon they will lose market share i give it 2 to 3 years

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 12:34

43. KaiTech (Posts: 16; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


I think you will "eat crow" in 2-3 years.
Android will continue to dominate, the 4.0 OS structure changes will ease developers lives. Unfortunately this is something that has to take time. ICS only has 2% propagation, once it's at %50+ everything will change.

Also with the changes in 4.0, even skinned OS updates will be quicker due to the separation of the UI from the core OS.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 11:59 1

36. ibap (Posts: 692; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)


How long has the "new" Windows phone been out? There hasn't been a major update, so saying there is no fragmentation there is just saying they haven't been around long enough to get themselves into the same situation.

Ask those with phones that Apple declines to put Siri on if they think there is no iOS fragmentation.

I was a "Windows Phone" user back in the days of the Palm Treo 700w and the HTC Touch Pro 2. Tell me there is no fragmentation. That's how you achieve no fragmentation - you just abandon the platform completely.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 19:28

54. 14545 (Posts: 1106; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Exactly. I was a happy WinMo user though my TP2 and W6.5, but when windows decided to chase iOS I was out. I like WinMo because of the ability to customize it, but MS screwed it up with WP7.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 12:05 1

38. Sniggly (Posts: 6920; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


This survey has problems. There's only "very interested" or not at all, that we see anyway. Also, while the title implies that no one wants to develop for Android anymore, the fact is that 80 percent of that really small sample size still are "very interested."

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 13:02 1

47. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


2 things

iOS is more fragmented than android. proven fact that reporters seem to want to ignore.

also,
if you look at the graph, iphone took the exact same dip as android in the last space. so why is the article focusing on android and not mentioning apple? hmmmmm? in fact, the only uptick on any OS in the last space is for WP7.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 16:28

50. rudlie (Posts: 182; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


blame it on google. they release so many version of android without os development path. and blame it to android's device brands which release so many models and so slow os updates.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 17:54

52. qxavierus (Posts: 25; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Well.. nobody said programming should be easy. You work harder to make your app compatible for all OS versions and hardware, but you also get bigger market share. Fair enough if you ask me...

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 19:19

53. 14545 (Posts: 1106; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Honestly, this is way overblown. iOS suffers from it, as well as WP. No, it's not as bad on the other platforms, but it does happen. That being said, half the apps on the market are crap anyway, so the devs that we are likely losing are not ones that should really be cause for concern.

posted on 20 Mar 2012, 20:08 1

55. Slammer (Posts: 999; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


This sounds a little premature.

Apple's ios is based on their 30 year old system and business practice. Android is only 4 years old and has been a powerhouse. I fail to see the logic on why developers would rush judgement on such a new OS. There needs to be room for improvements and Android with every new update and iteration. Ice Cream Sandwich is undoubtedly proof that Android is getting their stuff together.

I have this feeling that developers are rather spoiled and forging an unfair analysis too early into the game.

John B.

posted on 21 Mar 2012, 02:18

57. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


If Android is too fragmented, then just develop for the few high end devices. The one thing I realized is that developers get very discouraged when they get negative remarks on their apps, but they don't notice it's by people who are using budget models like the Galaxy Mini, Ace, Droid 2 and so on. Most apps I've used on my Galaxy S2 works perfectly with no force closes. To me there's 2 ways to develop :

1) Make it work well with budget models (and with that, the high ends should have no problem too) or

2) Focus on the high ends.

posted on 21 Mar 2012, 05:44

58. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Gulp, if you want to see blind, out of context, missinterpreted and shortsighted articles, tech sites are up there with yellow "journalism".

I know Eric Schmidt feels the same.
Android is a no.1 mobile platform that grows rapidly, and in the foreseeable future this trend will only accelerate.
This happens exactly because it's openness, to which "fragmentation" is simply inevitable side effect.

You see, It's just inherently out of place to even compare android and iOS.

iOS is simply an extreme success story, without the potential of ending in "everyone's pocket", exactly because of it's closeness.
It will never become a prevalent platform simply because it's a single brand we're talking about.
That's the nature of things.

So the only thing left, that we can actually talk about comparing android with, is windows phone.
Windows phone at the moment is by far the easiest platform to develop an app for.
And you know why? Every WP phone out there has the same processor, RAM and screen resolution.
And you know what? That's exactly why it's ending up at margins of market share.

If WP ever comes close to android in terms of market share, it will mean that it became just as fragmented as android.

posted on 21 Mar 2012, 05:54

59. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


and oh, some raw facts to consider:
- android market gets around 30-50 thousand NEW apps each month.
- windows marketplace has about 60 thousand apps IN TOTAL.
- 78 percent of developers is "very interested" in making apps for android, at the moment
- 40 percent of developers are "very interested" in making apps for WP(despite of it being by far less difficult than making an all-phone app for android)

- this year will see about 350-400 million new android phones sold
- the most optimistic estimates for widows phones sold this year are topping in at about 70 million

now, do the math

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