Is Android fragmentation a thing of the past?

Is Android fragmentation a thing of the past?On Thursday we reported the latest figures from Android Developers concerning the distribution of Android users across different versions. Scouting around on ye olde interweb, it’s interesting to see how different sites report the news.

Pocketnow, for example, reckons Android fragmentation is “no longer an issue”. But is that really the case?

Inevitably the Android bloggers will be somewhat biased in favour of their favourite operating system. Indeed, they acknowledge the Cupcake and Donut stats as "significant" but they're content that the figure is ever-decreasing. Those guys only make up 8% of the user base after all. But another way of putting that, if one were being negative, is: “Almost one in 10 Android users stuck on antiquated operating system”. See? Interpretation.

They’re also keen to point out that 92.2% are on “Android 2.1 and above”. Android users unite. On the other hand, I’m thinking that that figure encompasses Éclair, Froyo, two slices of Gingerbread, and the tablet-specific Honeycomb. Five different versions of one operating system.

And while 90.3% of Android users are partying in Eclair and Froyo land, that figure is bound to decrease in the coming months as more smartphones are released with delicious Gingerbread, not to mention the numerous Honeycomb tablets.

In time, Eclair and Froyo will become the new Cupcake and Donut. It’s inevitable. We’re merely in the midst of a transitional phase where one can twist the figures to suggest fragmentation is old news. It’s not. Can anyone say: Ice Cream?

To further confuse matters, two rumoured handsets from HTC are said to rock Honeycomb. And here we were thinking that it was exclusively for tablets. But even dismissing the HTC Revolver and Pyramid, Android fragmentation is here to stay, baby. Deal with it.

Read more about: Android

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JanSt / MOD  Mar. 19, 2011 at 21:31

Absolutely. Firmwares always varied from market to market and network to network. But whereas in the past updates were mostly about fixes (and some market-specific features...), these days people are lured with new features, and scared with the prospect of not being able to run the latest apps... boohoo baaaaaah.... I remember when Android 2.0 was announced people were saying incompatibility would no longer be an issue once "2" was up and installed... LOL, yeah... Just today I saw 6 Android handsets in Irish shops that are still on 1.6! No skype, no this that and the other.
Meanwhile the N8 can run most apps that run on the 1st firmware of the N97. And on my winmo 6.5 HTC HD2 are apps that I copied from my ooooooooold Palm Treo 750v.
I'll get heat now, but hey :p =>>> Android has produced some great handsets, but it is also the OS that most emulates the Tesco-fication of our world. Get the newest most improved and bring your credit card and a lot of time.


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