Originally Posted by cloudgazer
Out of curiosity, what's your perspective on the android fragmentation problem? To me it seems like the biggest long term problem that the platform faces. Fragmentation, and poor OS level support from OEMs/carriers seems certain to end up degrading the user experience- especially when iOS users are running round doing all the latest cool stuff on 3 year old handsets.
You're right that fragmentation had been a big issue. Less so now as far as OS version and app compatibility. But hardware compatibility is perhaps even more of an issue now compared to 6 months ago IMO. While the overwhelming percentage of Android handsets are now on 2.1 and up and therefor technically meeting the OS requirements for nearly every application in the Android Market, games are particularly problematic. Those wonderful HD-quality shooters with fast action and immersive graphics are only usable on the more recent higher-end smartphones with fast processors and lots of memory. Simply having the latest OS version isn't enough.
That's the reason for Google's recent efforts at setting minimum hardware requirements if an Android partner is to be part of the "in-crowd". I believe they'll get there with most of the manufacturers, particularly on the mainstream devices. So I don't see the OS version as a big problem any longer. Hardware consistency, especially minimum standards, is the bigger problem. If only there were three or four models, like Apple's product line, it would be easy to control.
Having now said that, I do think Apple sometimes takes the easy way out and drops support for some features on older hardware to make things easier for themselves rather than due to actual hardware limitation. Just ask Microsoft haw much effort is needed to support legacy systems. It would certainly be easier, cheaper and reduce problems if they'd just say they weren't supporting those older computers and tablets still using Vista. (I think they finally are
ending support for XP)