Here's what Android fragmentation really looks like
Data reveals thousands of devices running wild in the global Android jungle.
Open Signal Maps is a nifty free Android app and Web site that crowdsources where the strongest and weakest cell signals are. But along the way, it's also managed to amass a ton of data about what kind of Android devices are out there in the wild and they pulled it all together into some visualizations that dramatically show the extent of.
OSM started logging the Android devices that download the app six months ago and created the above visualization -- the interactive version on the site is a little more informative -- from a sample size of . What it reveals is that Samsung's Galaxy series, particularly the Galaxy S II, is far and away the top dog, followed distantly by the HTC Desire series. After that, it turns into quite a mess of devices ranging from other heavy hitters like Motorola's Droids down to the Hungarian Concorde Tab, which showed up once.
Fragmentation might not be quite as awful as it looks though, because custom roms were counted as unique devices in this particular study. But even if you remove the more than 1,300 devices that only came up once in the count, well...that's still some serious fragmentation.
The big winner in all this is clearly Samsung, which lays claim to 40 percent of all the devices logged. HTC comes in second.
The introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich has only added more flavors to the Baskin Robbins franchise that is the Android universe, too. While there's not quite 31 flavors, there are more than last year, yet the overwhelming majority still run some version of Gingerbread -- no surprise there.
Perhaps it should also be no surprise that a free operating system yields as much as one unique device for every 170 users. Makes you wonder why all of us here haven't gotten together yet to come up with our own CNET phone.