Despite its No 1 status, Google’s Android is facing an unusual threat of fragmentation.
Unlike other OSes, Android has many versions and has handsets in various price categories with different specifications. Though the Android Market has many apps but not all of them can be operated on all the Android devices owing to their hardware and software capabilities.
There are numerous single core devices on which many games just won’t run. Many games don’t even appear in Android Market app in the Android phones, though they do show up in the web based Android Market. This is fragmentation in full force when developers are creating products for certain processors or specific phones only.
There are clear guidelines given by the Android authorities to the app developers on how they can scale the same app to different screen sizes and pixel densities. Many developers do not pay attention to these guidelines, mostly because it may increase the cost of making of the apps. As a result, some apps even crash on unfamiliar screen types and sizes and others don’t look good.
Talking about the different Android versions, there are several apps in the Android Market which work on certain Android versions only. So the other users with other handsets may be left in the lurch for those apps incompatible with their Android operating system version. The situation becomes even worse if one user has a tablet and the other one has smartphone, as there are numerous tablet specific apps in the Android Market due to rush among the developers to come out with tablet specific apps, they skipped the smartphone apps altogether.
Even when Google brings out new user features for new Android versions, for example faster code compiler and native tethering for Froyo, the users having other Android versions missed out on the fun. Same thing happened when global audio equalizers and efficient memory management came for Gingerbread, but other users could not get these features.