No Unity in Android’s Fragmented World


Android fragmentation

OpenSignal (OS) conducted an extensive survey where they analyzed some 682,000 Android devices currently in use.  This is the same sample size they used in 2012.  This survey revealed the split between manufacturers, their products, Android versions and screen sizes.

The one thing that this survey clearly indicates is Samsung’s dominance in the Android smartphome market.  The OS data shows that Samsung has a 47.5 percent share of the market and this is distributed over more than one hundred different models.  Samsung’s bestsellers are the flagship Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II but the best seller list also includes some other less high-end handsets.  “The Galaxy Y, a super low-cost handset from 2011, is still the third-most used Android phone in the world”.  Ironically, the only non-Samsung device in the top 10 is the LG Nexus 4, while the Asus-made Nesus 7 just makes the top 15, and the first glance of a Sony device is 21 place.  HTC’s well-received flagship One, is their only entrant in the top 30.

Android fragmentation is caused by the mix of old and new hardware and lax update policies from manufacturers.  Apple always jokes about this.  This is also cited as being a huge problem for Google.  According to OS, the situation seems to be getting worse instead of better.  Even though Android has reached level 18 of the Android API, but OS ‘s charts do not reflect the new change.  The most common version of Android is the Gingerbread which was released in 2011 and this is API level 10.  The next most popular is the Jellybean and then the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.  The marketshare of the leading API (level 10) is lower than ever, but “the rise of a more modern API level will undoubtedly be a good thing for Android”.

Additionally, there is also an immense difference in Android screen sizes.  “Android is designed to work across a huge array of product types, from smartphones, tablets and all-in-ones, to unexpected devices like fridges and ovens.  Google has put a lot of effort into tools that allow developers to adapt their apps across various devices, and after seeing the variation in screen-sizes, everyone can see why.

source OpenSignal via The Verge