How Fragmentation Issues are Holding Android Back

May 22, 2013 - 3 minutes read

android fragmentationAt last count there were over 3,000 possible combinations between different devices and software running on the Android platform. Fragmentation issues don’t just create stressful headaches for Android developers but heart attacks as well.

There are various reasons as to why Android fragmentation issues effect Android even though the platform offers developers so many alluring options. One of the common problems that a user will face is applications failing to work when needed. Some applications become problematic especially when running on older versions of Android software or on antiquated devices. On top of this not all device manufacturers take app development needs into account, releasing cheap low grade hardware that inhibits software performance.

Phones running on the Android platform vary in screen size from tablet sized devices on the high-end to mini screen pocket phones on the low end. Manufacturers also have released hundreds of phone models utilizing different micro-chips processors, leading to inconsistencies in software performance from phone to phone.

Android devices

Android devices breakdown

Software updates present a major pain point for Android users. Each new version of Android released to the public may be loaded with impressive new features but unfortunately consumers with older devices often don’t get to benefit from the new software release. This is due to the fact that most devices aren’t able to support automatic software updates like iOS devices do. Lack of a unified update system leads to a split tier market.

Most Android developers are forced to spend time unproductively creating apps to run on old software versions instead of moving forward with development for the new Android versions. Problems like this often render older Android versions out of touch with the changes that are necessary to improve the app experience for the user.

In case one adjusts beyond a certain screen size, it is almost obvious that there will be a likelihood of cracking. The option of different screen sizes therefore might not auger well with those who do not follow the right guidelines. Standardizing screen sizes and creating a minimal hardware performance threshold could help eradicate many of these major shortcomings.

As a mobile app developer it is apparent that even though Android devices represent a large majority of the smartphones sold worldwide, the platform still is lagging iOS in many ways. Android has come a long way in a short time, but until Google comes up with a practical solution to fragmentation issues I expect iOS devices and the quality of apps on the iTunes App Store to remain superior to Android.

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