Sunday, April 3, 2011

Android All Over the Place

As a Moto Droid user, I love my phone.  I find the Android platform to be an amazing platform to not only use and have fun with, but to work with as well.  It functions wonderfully as a gaming platform, as a social platform, as a phone OS, and as a Productivity platform.  However, there is one glaring issue with Android.

This image is from Phandroid. Thanks for the visual aid.The problem with Android is the fact that there are so MANY variations of the OS spread out across the various carriers and handsets.  It starts with the diehard G1 users stuck on 1.6 to the newest handsets sporting 2.3.3.  I not counting Android 3.x as that is the tablet intended variant of the OS.

What is the big reason behind the fragmentation of the OS?  Hardware limitations.  Some older handsets can not support the newer versions of the OS.  So, they are stuck where they are.  Another issue is the lack of updates pushed out to the various devices.  Manufactures decide to place specialized UI’s on their phones.  These specialized UI’s require the manufactures to take time to rebuild the UI to work well with the new updates in the OS.

Google seemingly has recently stated that they are locking down on the OS to fight this fragmentation.  Google’s intent is to help get updates out to handsets faster.  What the manufactures need to implement is the concept we see with the Home Replacements found in the market.  They sit comfortably within the OS as an app, but replace the existing stock UI without hindrance to the platform.  Companies like Motorola, HTC, LG, and Samsung need to really make their UI’s function the same way.

Users want updates.  They want the latest version of the OS on their phones to get the benefits that come with the updates.  App developers want less OS fragmentation to help push out their apps with less time taken on bug testing.  Eliminating the fragmentation issue is beneficial to EVERYONE.

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