Ronnie05's Blog

Android: Addressing platform fragmentation

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on April 2, 2010

In an earlier post, i had discussed about the fragmentation of the “open” Android platform.The fact that Android gave the ODM the choice of customizing the platform was one of the USPs of Android. However, this then causes the open platform to fragment as ODMs dig deep into parts of the operating system. So then Google Android starts branching out like the Moto Blur or the HTC Sense. This post speaks about Google’s efforts to stem and hold the fragmentation of the Android.

There have been a spate of Android handsets running as many as four different versions of the operating system in the last few months. This complicates life for application developers, who have to either pick a version or two to target with their application or conduct lots of testing to make sure they can run across Android handsets. (That is where the Apple Application store is so hassle free with just one device to contend for). Four separate versions of the Android have been released over the last year –1.5, 1.6, 2.0, and 2.1–as part of Google’s mad rush to improve Android, and it sounds like the company is more satisfied with its recent progress.

Google is supposedly shifting development away from Android’s core to focus on applications and also plans to put more separation between those applications and the core operating system. That means that new applications that arrive along with new operating-system releases could also be downloaded for older phones through the Android Market without having to pass through the handset maker or carrier’s approval process.Google will start to make this happen during the next release of Android codenamed Froyo and take it through to the next release of Android, codenamed Gingerbread

The plan makes sense on several levels: having worked frantically to catch up to the iPhone, Google is in much better competitive shape with the 2.1 release and can start prioritizing developer stability over core features. And, of course, giving users a way to obtain those key applications directly from Google falls in line with its long-term strategy of shifting control from carriers and handset makers to software providers.

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  1. […] Google has been battling with fragmentation in the Android platform with in various OEMs, who have leveraged the “open” source Android to create differentiation for themselves while sticking to the core platform. The best cases in point are Motorola’s MotoBlur and HTC’s Sense. The fragmentation of the platform is a big stumbling block against a uniformity of user experience a…. […]

  2. […] experience to users. That was Nexus One. The pure, pristine bit is mainly due to the fact that other manufacturers have a way of tinkering with Android to build in their own levels of differentia… which is very understandable (Click here for more details). Inspite of the initial failure of Nexus […]

  3. […] Store fragmentation. Generally developers seem to prefer a unified, single store experience like Apple’s App […]

  4. […] “We want one OS that runs everywhere.” And Android is making a good pace of getting there. So while Gingerbread was a full tablet support one, Google’s latest OS, Icecream Sandwich will be a one stop solution with support for multiple devices like smartphones, tablet PCs and convertible laptops, with just one version. It will have all the features from Google’s earlier operating systems besides a bunch full of newbies. Thus the Ice-cream would not only act as a tie for all screen sizes, those on handsets, tablets, Google TV, and the lot, but that it would make for a much easier world for developers to live in. A single API framework for what may be the easiest Android version to develop for yet. While the version name hasn’t been decided yet (Rumored to be either Android 3.5 or Android 4.0), the best part is that Ice-cream wont have any new hardware requirements. That means it’ll be able to work on older handsets galore! This then is Android’s grand plan to address the issue of platform fragmentation that has been rampant in the OS releases till date. (Read more about Android Platform Fragmentation) […]

  5. […] Mobile Browsing and App sales on Android has not been linear with its popularity and growth Android: Addressing platform fragmentation Google Android (Open Platform): The Development and Deployment conundrum Android Tablet faces […]


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