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


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40 Comments

3. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

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

7. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 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

10. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 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.

23. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

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

24. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

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

29. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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.

46. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

33. eDiesel

Posts: 142; Member since: Mar 17, 2012

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

42. jove39

Posts: 2148; Member since: Oct 18, 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!

51. jlscott777

Posts: 45; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

6. gp284

Posts: 120; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

what is fragmentation?

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31349; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

56. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31349; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

26. jamrockjones

Posts: 345; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

28. PimpStrong

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 25, 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.

44. KaiTech

Posts: 20; Member since: Mar 20, 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.

14. bragzter

Posts: 53; Member since: Feb 21, 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?

31. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 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.

15. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid

Posts: 127; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Now this is certainly not good news!

17. Fallout09

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 17, 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.

22. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 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...

21. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

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

25. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 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?

27. jreed2560

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

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

32. vslayer

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 12, 2011

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

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.

35. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 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

43. KaiTech

Posts: 20; Member since: Mar 20, 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.

36. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 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.

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