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87 percent of Android developers worried about fragmentation, survey says

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
According to a new survey, the overwhelming majority of developers for Google's Android mobile OS see fragmentation as a problem for the platform.

In a Q1 2011 survey of 250 developers conducted by analyst William Powers of Baird Research, 87 percent of Android developers responded with concerns over fragmentation, Fortune reports. Additionally, the percentage of developers who see device fragmentation as either a meaningful or huge problem increased over the last three months to 57 percent.

Developers also see store fragmentation as an issue for the Android platform. "Generally, developers seem to prefer a unified, single store experience like Apple's App Store," Baird wrote.

The survey found that 71 percent of respondents develop for Android, while 62 percent develop for Apple's iOS.

According to the report, iOS outscored competing mobile operating system platforms when it came to developer's perceptions of ease of development, app visibility and the ability to get paid. Regarding app visibility, Baird noted, "iOS continues to lead, followed by Blackberry, with Android still receiving poor marks in this category."



For its part, Google reportedly began implementing new restrictions on its Android partners last week in hopes of stemming fragmentation.

In late March, the Mountain View, Calif., search giant closed the source code to its Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform, ostensibly because the release is not designed for smartphones. The first device to feature Honeycomb, which Google touts as having been designed "from the ground up" for tablets, is the Motorola Xoom.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs warned of the increasing risk of Android fragmentation last year during a quarterly earnings call. "Unlike Windows, where PCs have the same interface, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs, including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it out," Jobs said.

Jobs also warned of application store fragmentation, calling them "a mess for both users and developers." "Many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions," he noted.
post #2 of 87
Glad to hear they are realistic!
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post #3 of 87
For a better, more pithy, more pungent take on the story, see this article from Fortune, "Android is a mess, say developers":http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/...azines_fortune

AI: Please put a bit more elan into your stories, a la DED. Take a stand? Thanks.
post #4 of 87
~90%!

Enough said!

I maintain MS and now Google both with their mis-guided approach to software development have done more damage to business development than any other factor. There is the MS/google way of doing things and there is the Apple way.

Go ahead and argue amongst yourselves on whether or not the above is true!

Best
post #5 of 87
Once again, Steve was right.
post #6 of 87
Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.
post #7 of 87
And as fragmented as android gets, it still produces market share numbers Apple is losing to. It doesn't matter if it's BOGO or very very cheap, you just can't beat the numbers. Yes Apple takes profits android can only dream of, but whatever floats your boat. I use an iPhone BTW.
post #8 of 87
Where are those holy souls who claimed that Android was finished when iPhone launched on Verizon. I still see a 7% growth for Android compared to a negligible 0.02% for iPhone. According to a survey, the Thunderbolt is selling more than the iPhone at most of Verizon stores nationwide.
post #9 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

They are going where the money is. iPhone is not growing anymore and is at a flat 23% since last six quarters.
post #10 of 87
Steve Jobs has been proven right once again.
post #11 of 87
android developers need to stop looking at fake market numbers and look at the real numbers

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os...-201101-201103

exactly how do they keep claiming Android has more US market share? THe answer, they exclude almost half of iOS devices sold because they can't compete with them,
post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

And as fragmented as android gets, it still produces market share numbers Apple is losing to. It doesn't matter if it's BOGO or very very cheap, you just can't beat the numbers. Yes Apple takes profits android can only dream of, but whatever floats your boat. I use an iPhone BTW.

Actually those numbers only represent smart phone market share, it is not "winning" share from Apple's iOS platform, of which the iPhone only accounts for less than half of. Furthermore, all the so called Android tablets are figured into those numbers as there is no differentiation in the OS when running on a phone vs. tablet (for non-Honeycomb versions of Android).

Quote:
Originally Posted by srathi View Post

Where are those holy souls who claimed that Android was finished when iPhone launched on Verizon. I still see a 7% growth for Android compared to a negligible 0.02% for iPhone. According to a survey, the Thunderbolt is selling more than the iPhone at most of Verizon stores nationwide.

The survey was of sales people at Verizon stores. Even Verizon has gone on record saying that the iPhone was their number one selling smartphone. No one considers the fact that many, many iPhones are sold directly from Apple.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #13 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


The survey was of sales people at Verizon stores. Even Verizon has gone on record saying that the iPhone was their number one selling smartphone. No one considers the fact that many, many iPhones are sold directly from Apple.

And many, many Thunderbolts are sold directly from Amazon, bestbuy, WireFly etc etc. By your logic, sales of Thunderbolt should be triple that of iPhone.
post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by srathi View Post

They are going where the money is. iPhone is not growing anymore and is at a flat 23% since last six quarters.

The money is not in Android.
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

I work for a company that develops mobile apps for all major platforms, mostly for third parties. It is in this business before the iPhone, when Symbian was the king and Windows Mobile was about to take over.
Currently the requests for mobile apps from third parties (larger number first) are in the order:
1. iOS
2. BlackBerry
3. Android
4. Others

(I expect BlackBerry to slow down).

Some clients want apps for several platforms. Usually they want a pilot version on one platform first. And that platform in most cases is iOS.
The iOS team was expanded recently and is about to expand further. Windows Phone team was reduced.
post #16 of 87
Jobs has been telling the truth the whole time. Multitasking by RIM and Android sucks the life out of the battery. Without code vetting viruses and malware will run rampant as on the Android platform (go check Symantec's list of threats for Android). Lastly, multiple hardware vendors, handset device form factors, and app stores creates fragmentation that causes even more frustration for end users.

The Verizon iPhone and AT&T-T-Mobile merger will put the nails in the coffin for Android at least in the US. Ironically the biggest winner may be Microsoft. That's my prediction.
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to a new survey, the overwhelming majority of developers for Google's Android mobile OS see fragmentation as a problem for the platform.

Wait... do you mean the fandroids criticizing everyone about spreading the fragmentation FUD were actually in denial??? Say it ain't so!!!
post #18 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by srathi View Post

the Thunderbolt is selling more than the iPhone at most of Verizon stores nationwide.

How many Thunderbolt sold to date?
post #19 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that anyone with a computer can be an 'Android developer' and register as one, even though you have no experience or talent, and are unlikely to ever release anything meaningful? Even my little brother is probably counted as an 'Android' developer some way or another, since he registered himself and got into the Google App Inventor program at some point.

If you wan't to register as an iPhone developer you need a Mac, and to develop and release your work you'll need to fork over $99. This already weeds out all the naive 'I want to be a developer but I don't want to invest anything'-types of people, and limits the pool of 'potential developers' to the less-than-10% Mac marketshare. Plus you need to know Objective-C, which is almost exclusively used on Apple platforms these days. Android is Java, and probably about anyone with a background in computer science or programming know will at least have had to program something in Java that once or twice.

As always, numbers and statistics are deceptive. Just like this '87% of Android developers worried about fragmentation' statistic by the way. It does show that fragmentation is not imaginary on Android though.
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

android developers need to stop looking at fake market numbers and look at the real numbers

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os...-201101-201103

exactly how do they keep claiming Android has more US market share? THe answer, they exclude almost half of iOS devices sold because they can't compete with them,

Especially outside the US, like here in Australia:-

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os...-201101-201103

Moving on, Google released details of Android platform versions, Honeycomb makes up 0.2%

http://developer.android.com/resourc...-versions.html

That indicates low sales numbers, no wonder no one is developing programs for the Xoom.
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post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

And as fragmented as android gets, it still produces market share numbers Apple is losing to. It doesn't matter if it's BOGO or very very cheap, you just can't beat the numbers. Yes Apple takes profits android can only dream of, but whatever floats your boat. I use an iPhone BTW.

Apple hasn't lost a single percentage point to Android. Android's gains are At the expense of Blackberry. Considering it was only on one cRrier until recently, that's actually impressive. I suspect that if iPhone was on all carriers from the beginning, there wouldn't even be Android phones.
post #22 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

AI: Please put a bit more elan into your stories, a la DED. Take a stand? Thanks.

Why should Apple Insider take a stand on an Android issue?
post #23 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Especially outside the US, like here in Australia:-

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os...-201101-201103

Apple has smashed it in australia, i was in Sydney recently, walking Cafe districts counting phone types on tables. It was obvious.

The change in 3yrs also. I go to get my iPhone update same time each release 10am launch day. I use it to gauge change. 1yr 1st, 2yr 30th, 3yr wait 3-4 weeks sold out.
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post #24 of 87
I am surprised it took Android developers this long to realize this whole business model was going to be a huge issue for them.

I will give you a another good example of this issue with Android platforms.

I just went from an original first gen android phone (work phone) to the most recent high end android phone which has a nice big high resolution display. Well some of the apps do not take advantage of the bigger display. A number of apps only use a portion of lager display. It appears it does not know what the display size is and scales according. There other features this phone has that the apps are not aware of so they do not use them or take advantage of them.

Hardware manufactures obviously can not and will not tell developer what they are up to so developer can make the necessary code changes to their apps. Apple does not have this issue they tell developer how to write apps so no matter what app does in the future the apples will work great.

There is no programing bible for android platform as exist on the ISO and OSX plateforms. so developer are left guessing what is next.
post #25 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

I don't think it's all that puzzling. I think what we're seeing is that the developers that don't have confidence in what they produce would rather try and be a "big fish in a small pond" rather than the other way around. It's not the way I would do it ... but hey .... to each their own.
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post #26 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

Not really. These are the developers that are writing apps that are not allowed on iOS devices, ie. Porn Apps, Racial Slurs, Homophobic, or just useless wallpaper apps.
post #27 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

And as fragmented as android gets, it still produces market share numbers Apple is losing to. It doesn't matter if it's BOGO or very very cheap, you just can't beat the numbers. Yes Apple takes profits android can only dream of, but whatever floats your boat. I use an iPhone BTW.

I'll let my competition "win marketshare" everytime ..... as long as I keep on winning the profit battle. As I always say .... try depositing marketshare in your bank.
See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #28 of 87
My company gave up Android development long ago. Right from the start, we realized that we needed a development team many times the size of the iOS team and not meaning to generalize but from experience, iOS users are more willing to pay.

For iOS, the hard part is writing an app that Apple will approve. But if you follow the rules and guidelines, your testing team can be very small since you are only testing against, the iPhone, iPad and iPhone. Lets say 3 generations of each device, 2 types of iPhone 4 (Verizon) and same for the original iPad (WiFi and 3G) and 3 types of iPad 2 (WiFi, 3G and Verizon).

Now look at Android, you have tons of manufacturers with tons of different products, anything from phones to tablets to eReaders. Each release has different hardware and different Android versions. 2 different devices from the same manufacturer can be vastly different. Different manufacturers will have different UI optimizations. A manufacturer will release a product and abandon it in 6 months and release something new. In other words, there are so many hardware and software permutations that there is no possible way for us to have enough testers to make it worth our while.

In the end we took the easy way out, develop for a potentially smaller market but a market that is more willing to pay and gives better ROI because our team size is alot smaller.
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by shard View Post

My company gave up Android development long ago. Right from the start, we realized that we needed a development team many times the size of the iOS team and not meaning to generalize but from experience, iOS users are more willing to pay.

For iOS, the hard part is writing an app that Apple will approve. But if you follow the rules and guidelines, your testing team can be very small since you are only testing against, the iPhone, iPad and iPhone. Lets say 3 generations of each device, 2 types of iPhone 4 (Verizon) and same for the original iPad (WiFi and 3G) and 3 types of iPad 2 (WiFi, 3G and Verizon).

Now look at Android, you have tons of manufacturers with tons of different products, anything from phones to tablets to eReaders. Each release has different hardware and different Android versions. 2 different devices from the same manufacturer can be vastly different. Different manufacturers will have different UI optimizations. A manufacturer will release a product and abandon it in 6 months and release something new. In other words, there are so many hardware and software permutations that there is no possible way for us to have enough testers to make it worth our while.

In the end we took the easy way out, develop for a potentially smaller market but a market that is more willing to pay and gives better ROI because our team size is alot smaller.

it's not that bad

HTC has 3 screen sizes and they mix and match different parts every few months. the Inspire is a HSPA+ radio but last year's CPU/GPU. Thunderbolt is all new hardware inside. and they use the same parts from the same manufacturers over and over again. just change the name of the phone.

the Evo/Inspire are pretty much the exact same phone

iOS is the same way. the verizon iphone4 is very different than the AT&T iphone 4
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I am surprised it took Android developers this long to realize this whole business model was going to be a huge issue for them.

I will give you a another good example of this issue with Android platforms.

I just went from an original first gen android phone (work phone) to the most recent high end android phone which has a nice big high resolution display. Well some of the apps do not take advantage of the bigger display. A number of apps only use a portion of lager display. It appears it does not know what the display size is and scales according. There other features this phone has that the apps are not aware of so they do not use them or take advantage of them.

Hardware manufactures obviously can not and will not tell developer what they are up to so developer can make the necessary code changes to their apps. Apple does not have this issue they tell developer how to write apps so no matter what app does in the future the apples will work great.

There is no programing bible for android platform as exist on the ISO and OSX plateforms. so developer are left guessing what is next.


ok, some of my iphone apps look so sensational on my ipad 2 stretched out or with a huge black border around them.

yet on MS Windows different resolutions have been standard for years and years and apps have magically adjusted and looked as good. except with LCD's where the monitor has one native resolution. but buying a better LCD will not make your apps look like crap

why are iOS and android having such issues with this?did MS patent it back in the day and no one can do it?
post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

it's not that bad

HTC has 3 screen sizes and they mix and match different parts every few months. the Inspire is a HSPA+ radio but last year's CPU/GPU. Thunderbolt is all new hardware inside. and they use the same parts from the same manufacturers over and over again. just change the name of the phone.

the Evo/Inspire are pretty much the exact same phone

iOS is the same way. the verizon iphone4 is very different than the AT&T iphone 4

You listed a handful of devices from a few manufacturers. There are tons more. Also we develop for the international market and not just the US, that means the number of devices goes up again.

Edit.

In case anyone is interested, here is a list of Android devices, there are hundreds and possibly thousands if you include different Android versions and I am pretty sure the list is not complete.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...ndroid_devices
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Especially outside the US, like here in Australia:-

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os...-201101-201103

Moving on, Google released details of Android platform versions, Honeycomb makes up 0.2%

http://developer.android.com/resourc...-versions.html

That indicates low sales numbers, no wonder no one is developing programs for the Xoom.

it also indicates fragmentation. why are 27.2% of android users still on v2.1 and just 2.5% on the latest 2.3.x. Could it be because there is no upgrade path short of buying a new phone?
post #33 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

ok, some of my iphone apps look so sensational on my ipad 2 stretched out or with a huge black border around them.

yet on MS Windows different resolutions have been standard for years and years and apps have magically adjusted and looked as good. except with LCD's where the monitor has one native resolution. but buying a better LCD will not make your apps look like crap

why are iOS and android having such issues with this?did MS patent it back in the day and no one can do it?

I could be completely wrong and someone please correct me if I am.

The problem has to do with the number of pixels on LCDs. Unlike old CRTs that just stretch or shrink an image to size provided the ratio is the same, LCDs have something called DPI (dots per inch). The same problem happens with desktop LCDs if you don't use the native resolution.

The first apps were written to take advantage of the exact number of dots on the iPhone and iPod Touch, when the iPad was released things changed, more dots, different ratio (?) and while most apps could be stretched to take up most of the additional real estate it is not pretty. Some apps now come with both iPhone and iPad graphics in 1 version meaning a bigger app but it is optimized for both screens. Others to make more money sell 2 versions, an iPhone version and an iPad HD version.
post #34 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


iOS is the same way. the verizon iphone4 is very different than the AT&T iphone 4

I don't understand what you mean in this case, the only difference is a slight shift in the positioning of the antenna and the use of CDMA chipset instead of GSM chipset. The rest of the hardware is the same, the OS is the same and the apps run exactly the same way as they have on the ATT iPhone 4. How is the VZN iPhone 4 "very different"?
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post #35 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

There's less standard for Android apps, so of course those that unwilling or unable to meet Apple's standard will gravitate toward Android.
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

it also indicates fragmentation. why are 27.2% of android users still on v2.1 and just 2.5% on the latest 2.3.x. Could it be because there is no upgrade path short of buying a new phone?

Another sore point. Most Android devices to date are not upgradable to the latest version of Android, they are stuck at the release version or at most one or two versions up.

This is not the fault of Google and the Android team but rather the phone manufacturers abandoning their users in as little as 6 months to focus on newer devices and forcing users to upgrade. This is one of the main causes of Android's fragmentation.

iOS on the other hand supports devices up to 2 to 3 years. Increasing a developers target audience while making it easier and cheaper to develop for.
post #37 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Of course this is not surprising news, but if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.

Any body can be a developer for Android, there are no fees involved, but how many have really written an app? Apple requires developers to pay and register. It weeds out the posers

Just look at the number of apps for iOS and that for Android and you will have an idea.
post #38 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

it also indicates fragmentation. why are 27.2% of android users still on v2.1 and just 2.5% on the latest 2.3.x. Could it be because there is no upgrade path short of buying a new phone?

Here's an example of the upgrade path for one model, the HTC Legend, on one carrier Vodafone Australia.

Quote:
HTC Legend Android 2.2 (Froyo) update take 2
Friday, April 1, 2011 in Exclusives, News


UPDATE: Friday, 1 April 2011, 5:20PM AEDST:

Hi everyone,

Firstly, apologies regarding the FroYo update for those of you that are using the HTC Legend. Since my last update, weve been working with HTC to sort this problem that some of you were having in updating your Legend to Android 2.2

The cause of the problem is that some have the older version of software which will either:

Not enable you to see a new update (Device with version 2.1 says not update available) or,
Receive the initial prompt to update will not come thru.
To Help I have included a Summary of the software we have delivered to date

RC Éclair 2.1 (Version 2.02.178.3).
QMR Éclair 2.1 (Version 2.10.178.1.)
MR FroYo 2.2 (version 3.15.178.3)
Basically you cant update your phone direct from RC Éclair 2.1 to MR FroYo 2.2 and must follow the instructions below

Go into your settings and manually pull the software update
Run the 1st upgrade : From 2.02.178.3 (RC Eclair) to 2.10.178.1 (QMR Eclair) about 19MB
Once youve done that you can now update to FroYo

Go into your settings and manually pull the software update
Run the 2nd upgrade: From 2.10.178.1 (QMR Eclair) to 3.15.178.3 (MR FroYo) about 80MB
Regards,

AT

Source
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post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

... if it's true that most developers prefer iOS to Android, why do significantly more of them now develop for Android than for iOS -- especially when by all accounts they stand to make more profit writing Apple coded apps? Puzzling.


That would be the same reason that some developers kept developing for the Mac platform when they stood to make more profit writing windows coded apps.
post #40 of 87
The thing about this fragmentation issue is that while Google might be able to fix it for future devices, there's no undoing the fragmentation for everything that's on the market right now. That means that users and developers will be contending with the impact of fragmentation for a long time. So even if Google brings the hammer down tomorrow and switches to a MS WP7 model, it will still take years to heal their ecosystem.

It's this fact more than anything else that makes me think Google's "open" approach to android was naive ideology run amuck, not a sinister bait-and-switch scheme.
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