Android fragmentation issue is overblown, says platform’s co-founder

News Richard Goodwin 11:01, 12 Jul 2013

Stop moaning about Android fragmentation, it’s fine – most people are happy with their devices, says Android co-founder Rich Miner

The issue of Android fragmentation is grossly overblown according to one of the founding members of Google’s Android platform.

Speaking at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s technology forum, Rich Miner voiced his opinions on why fragmentation – at least these days – isn’t such a big deal inside the Android kingdom.

‘I think this is a bit of an overblown issue, frankly. Don’t forget, there are 1.5 million Android phones being activated every single day. There are 900 million devices out in the market,’ said Miner.

And Miner sort of has a point, too – upwards of 60 percent of Android devices are now running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and when you combine this with things like TouchWiz and Sense overlays you can see his line of reason: most people either a) won’t care their device isn’t running 4.2 or b) won’t notice. 

‘I think if you asked a consumer, “do you feel like your phone OS needs to be updated today?” they’re pretty happy with the results and the performance they’re seeing. So I’m not sure it’s a major issue,’ Miner added. 

Ice Cream Sandwich introduced a lot of updates to Google’s Android platform – it was something of a watershed moment for the OS, and the first real sign for many that Google well and truly had Apple beaten.

Android Jelly Bean took it a couple of steps further with the addition of Project Butter and better security, but aside from these features the core experience is remarkably similar (even more so to the untrained eye). 

The real issue with update issues lies with OEMs, argues Miner. Google does the software, pushes it out, and it’s up to companies like Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and Huawei to get them working on their devices. Basically, it’s not Google’s problem.

‘The OEMs, sometimes they might be a little bit too conservative. But they have to make sure that those releases are verified and tested, as do the carriers. Because it’s a Verizon or an AT&T that’s getting the phone calls from customers if that release isn’t robust,’ concluded Miner.

Fragmentation is still apparent within the Android Kingdom, but with more and more handsets running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean (61.2 percent, respectively, according to the latest Google stats) it is increasingly becoming a moot issue. 

34.1 percent of handsets still run Gingerbread and while this is problematic – especially with regards to services, app compatibility, and security – that figure should decrease dramatically inside the next six months.

What’s your take? 

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So those 34.1% will not be care for with an update, but rather they will be hidden in the cloakroom while everyone else has a party of newly compatible apps? This will also happen to the ones that have the latest handsets, they will also be that 34% one day.

"Android Jelly Bean took it a couple of steps further with the addition of Project Butter and better security, but aside from these features the core experience is remarkably similar (even more so to the untrained eye). "

So better security is not something that 34% of people deserve, this article is trying to justify something that everybody else sees as a HUGE problem.

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