Fragmentation has its pros and cons.  It can allow users to choose from multiple devices while still using their favorite OS.  However, with so many different kinds of devices and sizes, it can be difficult to create an app that looks universally presentable.

Android Fragmentation Challenges

This is the big challenge for Android developers, as the Android market is one of the most fragmented with over 680,000 devices.  OpenSignalMaps (OSM) experimented with this fragmentation by logging the devices that downloaded their Wi-Fi finding app, OpenSignalMaps.  They came to some interesting conclusions:

Model-wise, OSM discovered 3,997 distinct devices, with the GT-i1900 (The Galaxy SII) being the most popular.  Many devices were simply not widespread, such as the Hungarian Concorde Tab and the Spanish Energy Tablet i724.

Brands are also extremely fragmented in the Android market, with over 500 distinct brands.  Samsung is the most popular, capturing over 40% of OSM’s market, with HTC and Motorola close behind.

A challenge mobile app developers face in the fragmented market would also be Android OS.  Last year, Gingerbread, aka version 2.3 was dominant for OSM.  This year, it’s a revision of Gingerbread (2.3.3+), not Honeycomb (3.0) or Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), as some would believe.  Older versions of Android OS seem to stick around, making it harder for app developers to spread their wings in the market.

While fragmentation tends to make things complicated, it also gives people choices: with so many devices and OS available, consumers aren’t put into a box and can choose a device that really suits their needs and personality, even if it isn’t the most popular device on the block.  This variety has also made Android a force to contend with not only in the US and Europe, but also in Brazil, Mexico, China, and Russia.

With Android apps reaching so many markets, being able to diversify has never been more crucial.  We can help your app not only reach the iDevice market, but also Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry users.  Request a call or contact us at 603-881-9200.

Tags: android, android fragmentation, app development, fragmentation, Mobile Apps, mobile devices, technology