In my mind: Fragging. >_<
Stop ‘yer bitching about fragmentation!
Alright, so for my first formal blog post, I’m going to go and attack one of the biggest discussion topics involving the android community thus far: Fragmentation. What is it? Do I believe in it? How harmful is it? etc.
Now with Android OS being such a giant, widely-adopted platform, it’s very easy and beneficial (at times) to spot out some problems with the OS. Fragmentation for us has been called various names, my personal favorite being “Differentiation“.
I’m not going to try and hide the fact that yes, android is a victim of fragmentation. Look at the stats, there are four major versions out now: 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, and 4.0. And the last I checked Gingerbread (2.3) had the most devices connected to it. Atleast in the general view, Apple seems to have done that right, keeping all their devices on the same firmware.
As we all know though Android is different. Very different. Apple has one manufacturer, we have many. Apple comes out with one tablet, one phone, and one media player a year, while we come out with one a week . Let’s take a look at Motorola, whom last year released ~25 devices, that’s a shit load of devices. It’s hard for a company to keep up with those devices, and so we (as consumers) end up having devices that a company might lose in all their other products. So when Father Google unveils a new OS, the company forgets about our device, and we’re left with an old product. Or the new OS that requires certain specs, and when Moto released a phone earlier this year with last years’ specs and then a phone later that year with newer specs, we have an incompatible phone.
So what’s the solution? Do we, as consumers, just wait for the best phone to come out? No, because if you’re always waiting for the best thing in technology, you’ll never buy anything. Ok, so do we petition to manufacturers to makes less phones, so that they can always be followed and updated? Somewhat, 25 phones a year is a lot, especially for only 4 major carriers, but not incredibly less, or else it will decrease innovation and competition. So what do I feel will be best for our ecosystem? Have Google be more strict on android. Don’t close source or do anything drastic, but start implementing or following laws. Cut of the allowance of having phones released with old firmware. I like the idea of having one OS version for phones and another one for tablets (ICS and JB(?)) that could work well for different resolutions and whatnot, and also keep things under control. Let manufacturers keep their skins, even with one OS innovation will continue and so will competition.
TL/DR: Do I believe in fragmentation, yes and yes it is harmful. It creates confusion and dissapointment, especially with consumers. But it can be controlled, I believe. Starting with Google.