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    Default Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

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    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    I completely agree with it being overblown, but I think for different reasons.

    With almost 2/3 of users on 4.0 or higher, we're all pretty close on the software being used, and the entire point of IO was that they're working to take the carriers and OEMs and the Android Verision out of the equation, in so much as possible, of the end user experience in terms of what software features are available for your device, etc. The release of the GPe devices helps with this in that we now know, should they care to, it is possible for OEMs to include their software features without a gaudy UI, merely by providing some custom framework behind the scenes. I don't think we're ever going to reach a place where everyone is on the same software version, especially as long as there are "skins" (hate that term, very misleading) out there... but Google is working hard to make that irrelevant.

    The point that most consumers are unaware of which version they are running is also pretty important. For them it is 100% about whether or not their needs are being met by the device and less about a couple of numbers buried in the settings. Would that we were all so wise, perhaps, but I suspect some of us nerds are unaware of what the actual changes, aside from a couple of features in apps, are between API level 17 and API level 18, etc.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    I agree with Miner. My wife couldn't care less what version of Android is on her phone. It met her needs when she bought it, and it meets her needs today. In fact, were I to root it and install a newer OS, she'd be P.O.'d, because she'd have to learn new ways of doing things.

    The only place I see fragmentation as an issue is with regards to security, and the lack of security fixes from the carriers. But I think that has less to do with "fragmentation" that it does with carrier reluctance to spend money on anything that isn't going to generate new revenue.
    PLEASE, when asking for help provide as much information as possible. We can't help unless we know what the symptoms are and what you did before they began.

    LG G3 on Sprint. [Stumped and Bumped, Debloated, Startup apps managed, Trickster, Nova Prime, Swiftkey, G3 Tweakbox]--> Runs smooth as silk, now.
  4. #4  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    This is so right. The Google Edition devices prove that you can still have the Touchwiz goodies with an AOSP interface.

    I am running the google edition rom on my Us Cellular S4, and you can just move the Touchwiz camera to system apps and it runs flawless..actually all of the Touchwiz apps do.
    This proves they can differentiate, while maintaining the look of AOSP.

    /Nergasm
  5. #5  
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    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    It's not Google's fault. Apple managed in the early years to dictate to carriers how their phones are updated on Apple's terms, not the carriers. Any carriers who resisted this in the beginning (and some certainly tried) eventually ended up caving in due to the demand for the iPhone. The iPhone is a unique case. Android OEM's, WP8 OEM's, and Blackberry have all been unsuccessful in making similar direct-update demands to carriers (or never bothered to try).

    But having said that, fragmentation is only overblown if you happen to NOT be a smartphone enthusiast. Smartphones aren't just a thing I use to instagram my breakfast, check my facebook while I take my kids to soccer. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and many other devices are a hobby for me as well as a tool. I know that makes me the minority. I just don't happen to care what the majority thinks.

    Happily Google also makes phones for people like me so I don't have to deal with excuses. But if you think smartphone enthusiast communities don't care about the frequency of OS updates, you're kidding yourself.
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  6. #6  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    My understanding of fragmentation is that it is more an issue of developers having to code an app for multiple versions of the same OS, and less so of a problem for consumers.

    In short, it's something to be hammered out with app developers behind closed doors, rather than being publicised on news websites. When Apple raised this point in WWDC 2013, it was in the context of trying to entice app developers to code for IOS, by highlighting how quickly they could get their apps to market because there was less work involved compared to coding for Android. Which is important because when you think about it, IOS is essentially a bare-bones app launcher, and its success ultimately hinges on the quality of apps available for the consumers.

    However, other news websites quickly pounced on this piece of information and went on to report it entirely out of context. When I visit websites like cnet and engadget, I see so many people debating based on their own unique definitions / understanding of what fragmention means to them. Such threads usually end up going nowhere.

    In summary, I won't say it's overblown, just that it's largely irrelevant to the average consumer like me.
  7. #7  
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    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    Quote Originally Posted by abazigal View Post
    My understanding of fragmentation is that it is more an issue of developers having to code an app for multiple versions of the same OS, and less so of a problem for consumers.
    It's no longer a multiple versions issue since ICS unified the code, but there are still a variety of sizes. Android more or less handles sizing changes for you, but if you want a specific look/feel to a size category it requires a little extra work; for example making a tablet UI show up without making a separate app is a little harder than just having a larger version of the same UI.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    Quote Originally Posted by NothingIsTrue View Post
    It's no longer a multiple versions issue since ICS unified the code, but there are still a variety of sizes. Android more or less handles sizing changes for you, but if you want a specific look/feel to a size category it requires a little extra work; for example making a tablet UI show up without making a separate app is a little harder than just having a larger version of the same UI.
    Except if that chart by Apple is any accurate, there is still a significant number of handsets still in gingerbread. Also, ICS doesn't support the newer features like Google Now, so if I wanted to code an app to take advantage of Google Now's notification system, it wouldn't work on the older versions of the OS.

    In contrast, even though newer versions of IOS is technically an update on older devices in name only (for example, you only get a small handful of new features on your 3GS when you install IOS6), you get all the APIs, so apps updated to incorporate those APIs would theoretically run just as well on older handsets.

    That said, I think Google did announce that they will update their core apps independently via the play store, so that should help resolve the issue somewhat.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    The intrinsic problem of fragmentation stems from hardware and software differences and revisions. The ultimate result, however, is indeed a negative impact for both developers and consumers; in other words, the more difficult it becomes for developers to build high-quality and highly-compatible applications, the lower the quality or number of them becomes. At the very least, it results in longer waits for new apps, app updates, etc. Conversely, however, the easier it becomes for developers to account for wide ranges of hardware and software configurations, the higher the quality and number of apps becomes.

    The basic example of fragmentation is that in the beginning, iOS involved a device with one set of display specs, while Android involved devices with multiple different display specs. As Apple introduced different (the iPad) and evolved (the iPhone 4+, iPad 2+) devices, there were an increasing number of display specs to assure compatibility for (e.g. iOS developers actively 'updating' apps for Retina displays with higher densities). On the other hand, Android has made advances in respect to application scalability, in particular through granular application distribution controls and API elements such as the Fragments API.

    Taken from the Android Developers Best Practices section on Android Compatibility:

    You manage your app’s availability through a simple three-step process:

    1. You state the features your app requires by declaring <uses-feature> elements its manifest file.
    2. Devices are required to declare the features they include to Google Play.
    3. Google Play uses your app’s stated requirements to filter it from devices that don’t meet those requirements.


    This way, users never even see apps that won’t work properly on their devices. As long as you accurately describe your app’s requirements, you don’t need to worry about users blaming you for compatibility problems.

    If you’re familiar with web development, you may recognize this model as “capability detection”. Web developers typically prefer this approach to “browser detection”, because it’s very difficult to keep up as new browsers and new versions of current browsers are released. By checking for support for specific required capabilities instead of the current browser, web developers get better fine-grained control. That’s the same approach Android uses: since it’s impossible to keep up with all the Android devices being released, you instead use the fine-grained controls Android provides.
    As a developer, I can easily preclude an application from showing up in Google Play on devices that it cannot or should not be run on.

    Disclaimer: I'm tired. I'll proofread this post tomorrow.
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    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    Quote Originally Posted by abazigal View Post
    Except if that chart by Apple is any accurate, there is still a significant number of handsets still in gingerbread. Also, ICS doesn't support the newer features like Google Now, so if I wanted to code an app to take advantage of Google Now's notification system, it wouldn't work on the older versions of the OS.

    In contrast, even though newer versions of IOS is technically an update on older devices in name only (for example, you only get a small handful of new features on your 3GS when you install IOS6), you get all the APIs, so apps updated to incorporate those APIs would theoretically run just as well on older handsets.

    That said, I think Google did announce that they will update their core apps independently via the play store, so that should help resolve the issue somewhat.
    Around a third of Android devices are on versions older than 4.0.

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  11. #11  

    Default Re: Android co-founder: Fragmentation issue is ‘overblown'

    Here's the information from the current Android Dashboards page.


    Platform Versions

    Version Codename API Distribution
    2.3.3-2.3.7 Gingerbread 10 34.1%
    4.0.3-4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich 15 23.3%
    4.1.x Jelly Bean 16 32.3%
    4.2.x 17 5.6%



    Screen Sizes and Densities

    ldpi mdpi tvdpi hdpi xhdpi xxhdpi
    Small 9.9% 0.1%
    Normal 0.1% 16% 34.9% 24.0% 4.9%
    Large 0.6% 3.2% 1.0% 0.4% 0.5%
    Xlarge 4.1% 0.2% 0.1%
    Total 10.6% 23.3% 1.0% 35.6% 24.6% 4.9%



    Additionally, 99.8% of Android devices are running OpenGL 2.0. The remaining 0.2% are on OpenGL 1.1 only.
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