Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

A Look at Android Fragmentation: The Good, the Bad and the Pretty Charts

There’s no doubt that there is a great deal of diversity when it comes to Android.

There are a half-dozen flavors of the operating system, with products made by dozens of manufacturers and literally thousands of individual designs. Whether this is good or bad depends on one’s perspective.

But the sheer number of different products is mind-boggling. In a report this week, OpenSignalMaps looked at data from 600,000 users who downloaded its signal-measuring software. The company found that its software has been downloaded by nearly 4,000 different devices. Some of these are actually standard devices running custom software. But even factoring those out, there are still upward of 2,000 different Android products in the wild.

Of the nearly 600 different brands, Samsung rules the roost with nearly 40 percent market share, followed by HTC, SEMC, Motorola and LG. At the bottom end of the market-share battle, the company spotted a pair of the ill-fated Fusion Garage tablets and a handful of Polaroid’s smart cameras.

For its part, OpenSignalMaps notes the downsides of so many makes and models, but says that the opportunities outweigh the challenges.

“Developers tend to bemoan Android fragmentation yet there’s much here to be celebrated,” the company said in its report. “While the number of different models running Android will continue to increase we’ve seen Samsung take the lion’s share of the Android market, most of that due to the Galaxy product line. Testing on the most popular Samsung & HTC devices will get you a long way.”

Besides, Android means reaching to all corners of the globe. OpenSignalMaps says it has collected data from nearly 200 countries, with the most popular being the U.S., Brazil, China, Russia and Mexico.

“One of the joys of developing for Android is you have no idea who’ll end up using your app,” it said.

The report is chock full of interesting numbers and charts, and is well worth a read.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work