Fragmentation and Android: What’s the Real Deal?
Believe it or not, not all Android users have the latest version of the operating system installed. Here are the pros and cons of Android OS fragmentation
Perhaps you’ve viewed the latest Android fragmentation results, a report that looks much like blobs of color. Have you wondered what it means? With most Android smartphone models using different versions of the operating system, fragmentation is not another Android myth.
What is Fragmentation?
Consider each smartphone that uses a version of Android. With thousands of these Android versions out there, there’s a big variation on what types of phones are running what version. In fact, some reports state that the recent Marshmallow release hasn’t hit anywhere near a quarter of these devices.
If you have ever wondered why it takes longer for new apps to grace the Google Play Store, even those that have already been on iTunes for a significant amount of time, developing apps compatible across multiple operating systems is partly to blame. Differences in screen size doesn’t help either. Not every Android app developer can handle the tweaks and fixes involved in adapting one app to a variety of dissimilar screen sizes. It’s great for consumers, who can choose the best screen for their needs, but just a little bit more complicated for developers.
Many devices are still operating on versions that were first released four years ago. What’s the problem? Incompatibility with apps. Outdated software is more vulnerable to malware and code issues. Manufacturers adapt Android’s open source code, sometimes abandoning updates if they have too many models on the market, complicated changes, and not enough resources to make it happen. All too often, older, more inexpensive models never receive updates–yet are still in use today.
Mixed Views on Fragmentation
For some, fragmentation creates more complications when designing new apps and app updates. For the rest of us, this fragmentation serves as a welcome diversity, a way for Android users to have more choice and opinion about how they want their devices to work, and what they want them to look like.
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