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Fragmented, So What?

Don't usually post but I've been lurking the site for years and I'm seeing an oft used comment on Android that I think needs further discussion: Fragmentation.

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In reply to: Fragmented, So What?

I agree that it is not that much of a problem now, but at some point Android developers are going to face a ton of different hardware, with a ton of different versions of the Android software installed. I have experienced this problem myself in a former company and it is just painful.
If you look at the market share of mobile operating systems , Android has been on it's way to catch iOS, but in the last months of 2011 Apple was able to leap ahead again, if you only look at the US the numbers look ever grimmer for Android.

That could have a various amount of reasons, but I would consider fragmentation as one of them.

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<span id="INSERTION_MARKER">Very valid points daw91, I think though that when it comes to apps and programs, again, we just have to follow the PC market. With PC, you have hundreds of different devices. For a developer, you can either choose the segment you want to support or you make different versions for everybody. Take Blizzard for example, arguably one of the best game developers in town with Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. They didn't stop making just one version, they kept updating them to go along with technological advances and changes. And normally, when you buy a program, they have minimum requirements, meaning, I probably wouldn't be able to play Starcraft 2 on my netbook, well not well anyway.<span>

<span>With Linux, it's even worse because fragmentation is much more widescale, with different communities making builds that are specific to them, PLUS the developers have to make the programs for free!

<span>With Android, I'm seeing it being split into two main branches: Mainstream and High End. With High End, you will have newer, faster hardware for gaming, multimedia etc... With mainstream, you have those more networking oriented features, basic browsing and multimedia/gaming. Again, not everybody wants high end if all they wanna do is chat and maybe browse a little: not surprising considering that most of the world is still using dumbphones for just call and text.

<span>Point is, just like with PC, that's the way it works in an open system. The developer has to figure out which segment they're after and adapt to the changes or someone else will most probably take their place. With Intel joining in with their own processors, things will get even more hectic. So, adaptation is even more crucial now.

<span>Granted, you're saying, why should the developers even bother to adapt to a platform that they don't want to support? Of course this is true, but market share is still not something to scoff at. Even with Apple's late surge in the US market, they've had to catch up A LOT and Android is still ahead, albeit with a slim margin. Worldwide, Android is, I think, still far ahead.

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