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Not every problem with Android should be called "fragmentation"

0. phoneArena 22 Mar 2012, 16:40 posted on

Every single time we post an article about the next Android OS update, there is the inevitable calls about fragmentation, and how Google should fix its "fragmentation" problem, which people claim is exacerbated...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 17:57

29. plgladio (Posts: 311; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

This really makes sense, so all the manufacturer should update their devices to the latest one in few months. I have read that some where.
So can we hope that going forward we will be getting updates less than 6 months or so?

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:01 2

31. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Unfortunately, right now the timeline set by Google is 18 months for an update.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:04

33. plgladio (Posts: 311; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

But I see as "For instance, the members of the update partnership could say that a new device should still be able to receive Android OS updates within the first 18 months of release; however, companies would not be obligated to stick to that guideline, and that does not mean that phones would access every new release"

Is that mean first 18months from the device has been released or OS released? I think device released. Correct me if I'm wrong.


posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:11

36. plgladio (Posts: 311; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

http://androinica.com/2011/05/android-updates-for - 18 -months/

*please remove the space after hyphen (-)

posted on 24 Mar 2012, 06:07 1

113. Devfrost (Posts: 5; Member since: 24 Mar 2012)

True but manufacturers has prove their words so far
HTC already updated sensations to ICS in europe and will start updating other regions as well
Samsung also have updated S2 to ICS in few regions
Sony well, this one is a bit surprising as it release the aplha and beta of their ics for xperia arc and based on what I see, the beta is already stable and based on their blog, they just need more testing to get the permission to release it.

And all this within a few months of ICS release. And the thing I surprise me is that they outpace custom rom developers in releasing a stable ICS. update. Cyanogenmod still has their ICS (all devices, official or no) in alpha with video recording and hardware acceleration not working.) So this open handset alliance started to show results I think we should start to trust manufacturers more, despite their past before the alliance.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 17:55 2

27. christianqwerty (Posts: 460; Member since: 05 May 2011)

It is fragmented because the samsung galaxy nexus has been the only phone to run the newest version of ICS for a few months now, while phones way more powerful are still limited to an older operating system. Just now the htc vivid is being able to update when ICS came out in december.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:04 5

32. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Why does that mean the system is fragmented? Apple releases one device with the new software and leaves it to the user to update. Google releases one device with the new software and leaves it to the manufacturers to update.

Calling that fragmentation means you blame Google for the update problem, not the manufacturers, who are the real guilty ones.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:08 2

35. drtech (banned) (Posts: 135; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)

The difference android users don't have the option to update because of the manufacturer not making it available. iOS user have the option to update. BIG DIFFERENCE :)

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:14 6

38. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

dont know what your talking about. Ive been running ICS for over 3 months now on my SGS1 vibrant.

If users want to update, its there, and in most cases its not all that hard.

the difference is, when the carrier allows the update, the update hits all devices, with or without the user having to know there is an update. on iOS, if you dont hear about the update, you might never know there was one... and thus, add to the "fragmentation" of iOS, if thats what you want to continue to call it.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:51 2

45. drtech (banned) (Posts: 135; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)

1. If you have to hack you're phone to get the latest software you're suffering from fragmentation. I don't have to hack my iPhone to get a software update

2. With iOS 5 there's OTA updates so iOS users get their updates right away just like android users. No iTunes required.

You're wrong on everything you just posted.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 19:15 5

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

You don't necessarily have to hack the phone to install the latest update yourself.

If the update is leaked it is literally as simple as putting the file on your SD card, naming it "update.zip" and going into the boot loader to install.

If its a custom ROM then yes you would need root access.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 20:32 5

58. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

apple doesnt even release full versions of the new OS to older phones. Quit fooling yourself. you will NEVER have full iOS5 on the i4 or 3gs... with our without jailbreaking.

with iOS5, which still requires a manual install to get.. good luck getting all iphones on that. well, the ones that get supported for iOS5 that is.. and of course, the ones that get FULL iOS5.. oh wait.. thats just the i4s. woops.

quit thumbing yourself up, its sad.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 22:15

71. drtech (banned) (Posts: 135; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)

Lol so now you change the argument. Why did you post that iOS required iTunes to update? Did you not know or lie? So now you're new argument is its not a full update. Come on you can do better.

Android is fragmented. Deal with it.

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 18:53

133. darkkjedii (Posts: 9309; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Not officially.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:37 5

43. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Still not the point.

posted on 25 Mar 2012, 09:29 1

114. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

dude, it is because apple release it to iDevices, it is like google releasing to Nexus devices.. it is simpler.. if you can't see that, then don't call yourself a doctor of tech..

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 20:10 3

56. KennyWRX (unregistered)


Call it whatever you want (inconsistency, fragmentation, differentiation, division, delay...), but the fundamental PROBLEM is still there. What percent of devices currently being sold in retail stores are able to officially run the current Android 4.x? Now, what percentage of phones are currently being sold in retail stores with an outdated Android 2.x?

When Android progresses from version to version, it miserably fails to provide compatibility with CURRENT devices, not just OLD ones, but CURRENT ones... hence the Android Platform becomes divided into different groups of devices supporting different OS versions of the SAME platform, Android.

Now, by Google's own definition: Fragmentation is the process or state of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts.

Can you see the analogy??

Then you bring up the argument that it's the manufacturers fault, BUT manufacturer will do whatever is in the best interest, an interest that is blindly interpreted as raw sales figures. Their line of thinking is "Why spend resources updating current devices when we can just pop out a new phone with the newer OS?". Whether you like it or not, the delay you talk about which is caused by manufacturers and carriers, CAUSES fragmentation on the Android platform.

I think that Google, as the platform owner, needs to find some COJONES and protect their OS from becoming even more FRAGMENTED than it already is. They do a half a55'ed job at this with their Nexus brand and the whole "Pure Google Experience" marketing BS. The fact that this exists is proof enough to say that the "experience" with Nexus is different than others (HTC/Sense, Samsung/TW, Moto/BLUR) causing FRAGMENTATION not only in the Android OS version sense, but also within groups of devices that support the SAME version of the OS.

Fragmentation need not be necessarily bad, but in the Android situation, it is definitely a negative aspect of the platform. Given a REAL CHOICE, users would choose the current, most feature rich Android OS.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:50 3

64. freedomispopular (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

Given a choice, I'd say most average end users don't give a crap. They just want a cool phone that works. Outside of the niche that follows tech sites, I'm willing to bet most average users don't even know that Ice Cream Sandwich or Gingerbread is.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:26 2

104. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Your definition of fragmentation is sound, but the connection to Android is not. Each update for Android does not break anything, nor does it leave out current devices. Android 4.0 is compatible with new devices and many old devices. As I've written before, this is the first update with which Google has really tried to make a leap with Android and that is going to leave out some older devices. That's just the way it is. For everything else, it's on manufacturers to ship devices with the software on it. Good manufacturers, like Asus push out the update in a reasonable timeframe.

Either way, how does this end up with (CAPITAL LETTERS) "fragmentation"? Software updates are a way of live with computers. It doesn't matter what version of Android you have, you can still get on the Play Store and use any app you want. If there happens to be an app that doesn't work, more than likely there is an alternative that will (Netflix and Hulu are exceptions that prove the rule, so please don't bother).

I have an Android 4.0 device and you have a 2.3 device, we can still use the same apps, and have all of the same functionality in our devices. The only difference is that mine has a couple extra features and (depending on opinion) has a better UI. Same thing for a phone with a manufacturer UI. The apps work, the phone works, and all the features work. So what is "broken"?

Nothing. The only thing that's wrong is that you get pissed off because you can't have the newest thing right away. Have a little patience. Stop looking at the Android ecosystem as having an upgrade cycle that goes from December to December, rather look at it as one that has an upgrade cycle from June to June. By June, the vast majority of new devices have the newest software, and most of the top shelf existing devices as well.

There you go, no more supposed "fragmentation" problem. It's a regular update cycle just like anything else. If you think your device updates too slowly, get a Nexus or another stock device that will get the update faster.

All I'm saying is that the main selling point of Android is that users have an experience choice. There is a pure Google experience, but that is just one choice for your experience. Some want a flashier experience, and go with something like HTC. Some want a cleaner, candyish experience, and they usually go with Samsung. What choice are they losing by not having Android 4.0 out immediately? Face Unlock is a gimmick, and Beam only matters if you have NFC. The camera and browser are improved, and the UI is improved. Well, the UI is improved over stock Android, some people prefer manufacturer UIs. And, why would you want to take away that choice from users?

Besides, why does it matter if there is homogeneity in the UI of Android devices? Do you walk around with 3 different phones and get confused by the UI? People learn what they know, if you have a phone for a day or two, you know it. If you like it, stay with that manufacturer. Easy

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 18:12 7

37. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)



for finally writing something throwing some logic into these idiotic "android is fragmented and iOS is not" fanboy rants. its like... its like someone reached down from the heavens and heard my constant cries for an article that sheds light on iOS fragmentation, to shut iCrazies up.. It could have only been better with hard statistics, which of course, we know are hard to come by.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 19:16 8

50. hepresearch (unregistered)

First of all, excellent article by Michael... thank you!

Now, I have to say that, based on the great majority of comments here, whether from Android fans OR iOS fans, most of you all are missing the point entirely. Apple fans are crying foul on Michael for speaking the truth, and as they protest it seems as though the Android fans are crying foul on Victor... greatly representative of the "other half" of PhoneArena that, to some, appears to push iOS preferences. Neither Victor nor Michael seem too far off-base to me. If anything, they are like two sides of the same coin here at PhoneArena, and at this point you simply cannot have the one without the other.

I think that both Michael and Victor point out great stuff about the Android/iOS controversy. Android and iOS are both excellent platforms for certain kinds of people, and they both have very different styles of operating their businesses and developing new products which cater to their own greater ecosystemic models, and by extension, favored market demographics. Now, they are each trying to expand their favored market demographics to be more inclusive of people who might fall in the middle ground, but even Windows Phone is now poised to start gobbling up folks who fall in between the two marketing demographic extremes.

Android attracts people who are looking for something that gives them a lot of ability to customize, not just the appearance of their devices, but also the deeper settings and even an ever-wider variety of custom ROM's. Android also offers OEM's the freedom to support a wider variety of hardware choices catering to custom needs and purposes in both general and niche markets. As a result, Android devices tend to be on the bleeding-edge of new technology offerings and processing power advances. Android offers a lot of choice, variety, customization, and ease of software tweaking for those who are looking primarily for such things (and, contrary to the belief of some, there IS a decent market for such variety).

iOS, on the other hand, attracts people who are looking for a device that is very simple and elegant to use, and that is designed to perform in a consistent and predictable manner under many different possible conditions. By heavily controlling the design, production, and programming processes, Apple is able to provide that highly-consistent user experience across all of their devices. Although there are a few tweaks and custom ROM options for iOS devices, most who come to iOS do so for the effortless ease-of-use that Apple prides itself in. As a result, Apple tends to cater to its narrowly-defined, but very large, nearly-universal market with offerings on the bleeding-edge of super-usability.

Both are good for what they were designed to do, but it is natural for those who fit the mobile demographics to favor the one that fits them, without always understanding that the coin has another side to it.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 20:00 1

54. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


posted on 22 Mar 2012, 19:55 1

52. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

I agree with the general tone of the argument, but I think Google needs to address the slow rollout of updates. And, I think the way to do it is approach Android more like Windows XP/Vista/7, etc...Mandate that OEM UI's like Sense, Blur, TouchWIZ, etc...must be apps like SPB Shell, Go Launcher and others, and can be disabled, and stock Android UI enabled. Don't allow any real modification of the OS per device, just drivers for the hardware would be OS specific.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 20:35 4

59. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

in order for google to fully "address" the update, they would have to take control over android and become more like apple. Which is against the android philosophy at its core.

There is no "slow rollout" from google. Google releases the code.. that is their end of the bargain. The "slow rollout" comes from manufacturers fitting it to their devices and from carrier testing and approval. People point the fingers at the wrong parties.

And if you just have to have an update the moment it is released, get a nexus device and quit crying. If you dont have a nexus device, then you should never complain about updates, because you KNOW ONLY the nexus is promised quick updates directly from google. Thats what makes a nexus so special.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:53 2

65. freedomispopular (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)


And even then, a Nexus device can take a few months, because they have to actually code the software, which people don't seem to comprehend. It actually takes time to code and beta test the software before it can be released. It's not like they just snap their fingers and *poof* there's ICS.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:58 2

67. freedomispopular (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

As long as its open source, manufacturers and carriers can do whatever they want with it. I'd rather deal with this downside than deal with the downsides of the closed garden approach.

And in actuality, the delay has more to do with the carriers than the manufacturers. Buy an unbranded international phone, and you WILL get regular software updates.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:28 3

61. Stuntman (Posts: 669; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

Great article, Michael. Always informative whichever platform you are writing about.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:41

62. cellphonator (Posts: 298; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)

OMG look what I did talking about fragmentation in the JB article, I'll be more careful next time, I didn't mean to upset anybody, apologies :)

...but at least I opened the subject to be cleared ones for all, maybe (?)

Now waiting for Michael next piece that talks about the real thing, as he stated.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:42 4

63. k1ng617 (Posts: 234; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

Another excellent article, telling it how it is. Cheers!

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 21:57 3

66. radeon (Posts: 9; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

Well said !

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 22:28 3

73. Sniggly (Posts: 6492; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Another wonderful article, Michael. Loved the arguments presented here, and it's true: blame for slow updates should be placed on carriers and manufacturers, not Google so much. If anything, Google's only responsibility should be to tighten down the window for updates to a year or less instead of 18 freaking months.

However, those who cry for Google's blood over not enforcing fast updates enough miss a huge problem: how, exactly, can Google enforce an update schedule if the manufacturer doesn't comply? There is no real way to punish the manufacturer without also inadvertently punishing the customers.

Also, the manufacturers and carriers seem to be getting a little better at software updates as well: for instance, the first Gingerbread updates didn't hit AT&T until late July. I remember because the Atrix was the first, and i didn't buy it until after Gingerbread was out for it which was literally the end of July. The first Gingerbread phone on Verizon was the Droid X, and that didn't receive its update until April I think. It might have even been May. I don't remember what the timetables were for Sprint and T-mobile but i don't think they were much better.

Now we already have an update for the Vivid, with Samsung's entire premier lineup almost ready for the update too. HTC is also pushing to get the update out for their phones out very soon, and Motorola, as far behind as they are, are still on a timetable to get updates out in the next two to three months. On a standard update cycle that still gives current customers of the newest phones a solid year or so to enjoy their new software before they can get the next phone.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:30 1

105. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That is a good point. Everyone wants Google to take control of the ecosystem by forcing updates or banning manufacturer UIs, but there's really no way to do that. The best Google can do is to build the tools to make it easier on developers and manufacturers.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 22:43 3

74. cttan456 (Posts: 44; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

Well written, kudos to Michael H. I particularly like the part where you mentioned how the term fragmentation was coined by Apple to bring down Android. Before Apple coined this term to attack Android, we've never heard of OS fragmentation. In fact, the only people who keep harping on it are Apple people. Truth is, consumers don't know or and don't care about what OS fragmentation is. To consumers the only type of fragmentation they are concerned about is whether their phone would fragment when they drop it, and those made with aluminium and sandwiched with glass fronts and backs are most prone to fragment upon impact as many of my friends have found out.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 10:01 1

93. trollCall (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Sorry, survey says "X"! WINDOWS MOBILE is where fragmentation originated on a large scale and where it continues Android is Windows Mobile reincarnated. You can blame on developers if you want, but the fact of the matter is Google did and is continuing to do a sloppy job of setting the table rules in the Android house, ESPECIALLY when it comes to developers. Even with Android 4.0.2, contacts sync broke for all things not Google+ because Google AGAIN changed the freaking API, and is set to do so YET AGAIN with Android 4.0.3. How is that the developers fault that Google keeps changing the API. Android's brain trust needs to get its head straight. With every update comes a change at the developer level that is so drastic that it renders apps or functions of apps useless because of a poorly coordinated change. THIS is what causes fragmentation.

posted on 22 Mar 2012, 23:28 3

76. roscuthiii (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Another interesting read Michael. You know you're pushing the right buttons when you consistently get page after page of discussion ( i.e., debate, insight, instruction, relation of personal experience, & fanboy trolling) on the commentary.

My way of thinking regarding OS fragmentation is this: Does the device still not do what it did that lead to its purchase in the first place? Anything people receive after purchase is gravy to be thankful for and the only thing owed by the vendors is bug fixes.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:43

106. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Yeah, people also seem to greatly overestimate the value of software updates. Early in a platform's life, sure there will be some big updates with each new iteration, but by version 4 or 5, changes aren't that major any more.

I mean, if you were just updating software, and no buying an iPhone 4S, what do you really get with iOS 5? The only major improvements are the notifications and iCloud. Everything else is either just a way to get you to spend more money (Newsstand), or relatively minor changes to existing features.

Same with ICS, the major jump there is with the UI which you won't get if you have a skinned phone anyway, so what are you really missing out on? Face Unlock, a better camera and a better browser? No one uses Face Unlock, and you can get better cameras and browsers in the Play Store.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 00:08 2

77. ThreeFourSeven (Posts: 26; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)

I find this funny. People are blaming Google for Samsung releasing the 7.7 Tab with Honeycomb. Are you kidding me?! I

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 00:30

78. piyath (Posts: 150; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Android easily wins!
This articl confirms that ios & android are same in the case of OS broblems.
But if we look in to functionality & usability with high standards and openness, android is the clear winner. To build up such an open but working flawlessly on various apps on various phones is amazing. There is alot of effort than ios in aking such a flexible and Interesting operating system.

Making a software which is very much. compatible with every aspect along with giving the maximum performances in particular device is marvalous!

Thanks for the clear idea you gave ppl to see the truth.
one day android will become the only OS in the world. it wilk catch up soooon....

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 00:49 2

79. hepresearch (unregistered)

I have said before that I fear the idea of iOS becoming the only smartphone OS left in the world... although I tend to have more of a soft-spot in my heart for Android, I actually hope you are wrong. I would dislike a world with just Android JUST AS MUCH as I would dislike a world with just iOS. In fact, I would be highly dissatisfied if Android and iOS remained, but kicked out all other competitors. I am leary enough of a three-ecosystem market (with Windows Phone being the likely third candidate if BlackBerry drops out, along with all of the others like bada and webOS disappearing)... I would prefer MORE choice than what we have now.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 07:46 2

85. ilia1986 (unregistered)

What's wrong with a word consisting only from Android? Android is open source - so anyone could turn it to anything. Put ANY user interface up, introduce ANY concept to it, implement ANY innovative idea that it would support.

Heck, you could even turn Android into iOS minus the closed ecosystem given enough time and effort!

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 08:41

90. hepresearch (unregistered)


posted on 23 Mar 2012, 09:04

91. hepresearch (unregistered)

I'm having browser issues intermittently, so I apologize for the comment that says "Loading...", as I have now apparently produced several such posts by accident.

In reply, I would hope that other ecosystems may continue to survive for the sake of just having a choice. Not everyone wants to take the time to modify Android to their liking... iOS is very successful in part because it is convenient, and everything about the OS, behavior-wise, is essentially set up already out-of-the-box. There are people who do not like Android because they do not want to have to take the time to make it their own, and although some of us cannot understand why anyone would want this at face value, it is still the truth. In short, iOS has an important place to fill in the market, even for those of us who think that Android could replace them all anyway.

I want to be able to make my choice of OS based on my need for convenience at the time of purchase, and not have that choice made for me just because Android could be made to look like anything I wanted it to, and thus Android is what I get and I have to put in the time to make it into what I want it to be whether I have the time or not.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 10:24 1

95. roscuthiii (Posts: 1717; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

To sum it up, iOS works, and sells, because it's plug & play.
Plug and play is a pretty compelling characteristic in an age of instant gratuitous gratification.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 11:54

98. hepresearch (unregistered)


... and that is why I am more worried for the survival of Android than I am for the survival of iOS. I don't want to see either one leave the market any time soon, but Apple absolutely has it made on how they positioned iOS for a long-term stay in the market... and although I like a lot of what Google has done with Android, I worry more for them.

Unfortunately, I fear that more closed-systems is where the consuming public is headed at full-throttle... instant gratuitous gratification is only growing in demand all the time as technology makes it more possible, and more convenient. So, in a way, the demise of open-source is already built into the current market trends.

+1 to you for effectively saying, in two sentences, what took me two entire paragraphs to explain!

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 14:24 2

100. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

wait.. your worried about the long term survival of the worlds most popular OS, that is only gaining in popularity, that is also FREE for ANYONE to use in anything they can see fit??? over the closed OS that loses market share pretty much every year to android???

You do realize that NEITHER are going away right? Not as long as apple retains its high margins or android is free to play with. They are both huge money makers. They just go about things differently.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 14:53 1

103. hepresearch (unregistered)

I would agree with you, in that I don't think Android is going away, either; however, if they keep laying into each other with all this patent litigation garbage that cuts everybody up, and ultimately makes the biggest loser's products cost more than the biggest winner's products over time, then they will start bringing each other down until only one can survive... and I am worried that Apple already has the upper hand in that. Android may be exploding into new record sales territory every week, but the iPhone is more secure in its market than Android is in its own market, even if the iPhone's market isn't growing nearly as fast. If certain conditions come to pass, then Android sales shares could start crashing back down from the ceiling. Also, while it is only 30% more likely that an iPhone owner will upgrade within the iOS platform, as opposed to the likelihood of an Android owner upgrading to a newer Android model (honestly not a huge difference), it is in fact 7 times more likely that an Android user will upgrade to an iPhone, as opposed to an iPhone user upgrading to an Android device. So, while Android sales are huge and through-the-roof right now and for the next couple of years, the exceedingly-higher customer loyalty of Apple customers will begin to have a balancing, and eventually devastating, effect as the smartphone market becomes more saturated.

posted on 25 Mar 2012, 15:08

116. cellphonejunky (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)

You know, as a society we are still transitioning out of the industrial age despite what most people think. Don't believe me? The manufacturing of like objects for interchangable parts to be easier to implement while also being more accesssible. But then the concept of Brand Names really started taking momentum and different manufacturers have different parts and we're back at square one, nowadays we are still at the same place we were 200 years ago (On that topic, obviously, I can already hear the smart@sses)
Buy a foreign car and try to Ford parts in it, some might fit, but not all of them. Apple is far taking over on a global scale or the states for that matter, but the reason android (or an android-esque replacement in case it collapses) will always be available is because the majority of the world will not comply to Apple's restrictive policy. Around the world, online piracy is a lot more popular and a lot harder to enforce (That kind of goes hand in hand) and pirated content is a B!tc# to put on iPhone, I have a lot of friends abroad who are not tech saavy but stream piracy 24\7 which is a luxury I don't see anyone parting with in the near future, let alone for an iPhone

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 19:27

134. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

what people miss about iOS is that Apple has dedicated their App store to the concept of "making it their own". there is something out there to download for any interest level & believe it or not, most of them don't cost. a lot of the apps i use deal cross-platform w/Android users. that's why apps are so popular b/c you can find something that you are in to. People make it seem as if you take an iPhone out of the box, you get a few options, & there you have it...that's it. i think Apple has focused on the level of customization that matters to the majority of buyers. i'm not into custom ROMS, ring tones, launchers, or any of that...yet i have built computers from scratch so i am techy. Apple doesn't only appeal to the simpleton. BUT i do agree w/the idea of not limiting OS options. I like WP7, Android, iOS, webOS, & blackberry (even tho i'm not impressed w/their hardware choices).

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:45 1

107. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

As long as you don't buy an iOS device, it won't be the only choice. Simple as that, nothing to fear. Just because there's no other major choice other than Android right now doesn't mean nothing will ever show up. If something strikes a chord with users, it will gain popularity.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 01:38 3

81. procoder (Posts: 10; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Its a very well written article.

Simple Solution is ...

1. Device manufacturer should separate their launcher or UI update separate compared to google OS update.( so google update OS, it shouldn't affect manufacture laucher or UI )..depends can be decided by google .

2. Developer should build apps with google fragmentation jar file which will help app run across all platform Android Version.

3. Developer should build UI on 2 uniqueness like you do for IOS ( one for iphone screen and one for ipad ). one for resolution for standard androd till galaxy s2 resolution and other for tablet resolution, which will make less of mess..

This 3 points will make Android experience more better for user.

why Apple Sucks sometimes.

1) After OS updates older phone and older ipod touch become much slower, i faced it..i m not sure you faced it which will tend user to move to new device..
2) After OS update some functionalities in app is not supported cause of compatibility reasons.

please add on some other points if you have..


posted on 23 Mar 2012, 06:22 2

83. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Michael, awesome article, as always.

However 2 things bother me:

1. If you say that developers are to blame for the "fragmentation" - aka not every app can run on every device despite having the same OS version - then that means that Android is already dead! Without developers, android would be like WebOS! I don't know if Apple is to blame here by allowing developers to rip us off via 2 versions of each app (one for iPod\phone and one for iPad), or the developers themselves have become way too spoiled, but this is insanely disturbing, to say the least.

2. You say that there are variations in hardware among manufacturers and devices. That's true, but in the PC world, A Toshiba Laptop can run the same software as an Alienware Desktop. Provided both run Windows 7, etc. Traditional PCs also have hardware variations, AMD, Intel, nVidia, dozens of soundcard manufacturers, lan card manufacturers, MB manufacturers, differen chipsets, RAMs from different companies, etc, yet there is absolutely ZERO hardware incompatability. Only System requirements based on performance. I could understand a developer of an uber graphical game on the Android market, requiring say, at least a Mali400 chip, or a 1Ghz Dual core processor, or something like that, but why limit apps to only specific devices??

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:48 1

108. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

1) Never said that developers are to blame for "fragmentation", I said that devs are to blame for incompatibility.

2) Zero hardware compatibility? Are you mad? You've never wrestled with drivers have you...

posted on 26 Mar 2012, 02:59

117. ilia1986 (unregistered)

1. That very incompatibility is what causes fragmentation. On iOS, you buy even the 3 year old iPHone 3GS, and you get iOS 5.1. You can be certain that every app which requires iOS 5.1 and above (which is all of them, really) can run on the 3GS. Sure, games like Infinity Blade 2 or such won't look that good - but they will work. The only exception is truly heavy games like GTA3, which require an iPhone 4 and above. When a new device comes out - the developer simply updates this one device into the sys. requirements.

On Android - and this is something I noticed myself, I've seen apps being restricted only to specific devices, for no good reason. This may not sound that bad, but think about it - if there is an app designed to work only on the SGS2 due to it's sheer power - and is designed for the Mali400 chipset, when the SGS3 comes out - and has a chipset from a different firm - say a PowerVR - unless the developer updates the sys.requirements check in the app for ALL devices which have higher processing power than the SGS2 - and those new devices come at break-neck pace - any new phone which comes out which doesn't have a Mali400 chipset cannot run that app.

2. Well, almost zero hardware incompatibility. Even when I needed to struggle with drivers - usually on XP machines with hardware made in some basement in India or something, there were drivers for it. And this is on Windows - an operating system much much more closed than Android. On Windows if you install say Skyrim - which is a very resource-hungry game - you can run it on millions of machines with different hardware variations. There is no restriction by the developer to run it only on nVidia cards, for example. Or only on Dell PCs. Or only on machines with an Intel chipset, etc etc.

The smartphone app industry is very young, unlike the PC one. What developers need to do is program apps which are compatible with EVERYTHING which is there, be that qualcom, exynos, tegra, or even the Apple A4\5\5x (so they will have easier time rewriting the app for iOS later). PC developers can do that. All of them. They only ask you have a powerful-enough machine in order to run the app properly. No reason why Mobile app developers can't either. especially when sales of mobile apps easily enclipse sales from all the software PC industry to consumers.

posted on 26 Mar 2012, 09:15

118. cellphonator (Posts: 298; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)

Games, games, games, it's all about games, do you have a job?

posted on 26 Mar 2012, 15:40

130. ilia1986 (unregistered)

You think that hardware incompatibility is restricted to games only? lol..

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 10:20 2

94. trollCall (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Congrats Michael. You just wrote the most compelling argument towards me getting rid of my Galaxy Nexus. No matter the developer, Google has done a poor job with Android overall, whether it be its policies with OEMs and carriers or the poorly coordinated changes in API with developers. Google is not to blame for carriers and OEMs not providing updates. Googe IS to blame for not mandating that they not code on top of Android and preventing Google from doing the updates themselves like Apple does. I have had a Windows Phone and iPhone in the past year as well. Only Apple seems to get it, as carriers can and are blocking updates to Windows Phone. End users, the ONLY people who count here, don't want to be frustrated with pseudo-fragmentation and cloudy understanding of the all too many moving parts of an Android update. You can't start a car, put a broom stick on the gas pedal, put the car in drive, and let it loose on a crowded street, then blame the car manufacturer for making a car that doesn't brake itself and the city for not detecting the runaway car and somehow clearing the street of other cars (existing Android installations) to make room for this new car. That's exactly what Google does with Android, INCLUDING the Nexus line. It's insulting that you'd even scratch the surface of debating whether to call it fragmentation or not and then blame it on developers? Really? Really dude? That's what you do? Oh, Google doesn't need to fix anything because it already put the platform out, huh? Nevermind the sloppy-ness in how the updates get delivered and nevermind the sloppy development environment it fosters. Google is the main agent of change here. That's what counts at the end of the day. Google develops Android. It'd behoove them to develop a better way of delivering it and enabling a more efficient development environment for it.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 10:40 2

96. Whateverman (Posts: 3158; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Android and iOS user for years and i've suffered no ill affects from "fragmentation". I see more force closes from my iPad then I've experienced with all of my Android phones combined, so all this talk about how horrible a job Google is doing just makes me laugh. If you dislike your Nexus that much, I'll be more than happy to take it off your hands at a fair price. Just so you can experience all the FREEDOM that comes with Apple. You said how end users are the only thing that counts here and I would agree. It would be nice to get the updates 5 days after its released, but most end users don't know ICS from Eclair. It's only about 10-20% of Android users, the more technically inclined users like those of us here, who are all up in arms about fragmentation, and let's be honest...don't we tend to blow thing way out of proportion here sometimes?

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 14:25 2

101. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

what??? NEVER!!


posted on 25 Mar 2012, 10:18 1

115. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

" most end users don't know ICS from Eclair. It's only about 10-20% of Android users"

hahaha! this is really true! my gf wanted to get rid of her iPhone after playing around with the Xperia S and i told her to wait for the One X as i have experienced first hand the capability of it.. i told her that the One X is a quad-core device and already running ICS out of box, and guess what she said?
"hhmm, but i like this one because it has that Tag (the smart tag) and the shape is comfortable.. bigger than my iPhone.."

so yeah, most users don't give a crab about it.. the only real problem with the over-bombastically hyped "fragmentation" that i have ever faced is when i wanted to help a friend of mine installing whatsapp on her X10, which was still running Cupcake or Donut (can't remember, but definitely 1.X) and again, that's not really Google or SE's fault, but rather incompatibility problem of the app itself..

so it's more like incompatible than fragmented..

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 16:53 1

109. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Plenty of people like manufacturer UIs. You know, all of those normal users who don't know or care what version of software they're using or read websites like this one.

Since you obviously aren't one of those people, you have a Galaxy Nexus, so you don't have to worry about any of that.

If you want a company that mandates every aspect of an ecosystem, Google is not the place for you. Easy as that.

I'm not saying Google has nothing to fix. I'm saying that the problems most people point to are not necessarily problems to most users.

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