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Android still fragmented, but is that all bad?

News by Luke Jones on Saturday August 23, 2014.

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Apple fan boys in the red corner, Android fan boys in the blue, each looking for particular sticks to beat the other with. One of the Apple fanatics core arguments is that Android is simply too fragmented compared to iOS, and it is an argument that is hard to fight with. Even Google concedes this is the case and Android 4.4 KitKat and the upcoming Android L have been conscience efforts to address this, as well as the upcoming Android One program.

It is sort of starting to work, but we are still treated to regular news on how Android is fragmented and how that's a bad thing. Before we discuss the latest study, we should say that while OS fragmentation is not something Google wants, it has had huge benefits for Android and its growth... so, two sides to every story and all that.

British company OpenSignal conducts an annual user study for its app and this year has found that the number of different Android devices accessing its app has grown by 58%. This would be phenomenal for Google if it wasn?t for the fact that the number of different Android variations on those devices is more than ever. In fact, there were 15 different versions of Android in user across OpenSignal's base. Possibly worse than that is the fact that no single Android version truly dominates, with the most successful (we presume Jelly Bean) not even reaching 30% of the share.

The downside to this is of course that Android is still badly fragmented on an OS level, which is nothing new to anyone who pays attentions to the platforms monthly user stats. As I mentioned, Google is constantly working on improving this, but for the time being it is a problem that is not going away. However, that fragmentation means that the sheer diversity of Android is what has driven its frankly astonishing growth.

Moving away from the study, it is clear that the sheer amount of devices that now runs Android has a) caused fragmentation at a software level, but b) driven huge hardware growth and ensured that Android is on 1 billion devices, and they are just the ones that Google recognises officially. There are hundreds of millions of tablets, smartphones, and other programs that are not officially recognized by the company as they do not have Google's services.

source: OpenSignal

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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