With 1.3 million activations a day, Android is positioning itself as the mobile platform with no equal. Its main selling points include its open-source nature as well as more choices for consumers. But for Android app developers, the success of Google’s mobile platform is bringing new challenges to the fore. Ecosystem fragmentation for instance.
What is fragmentation and what the future holds for developers?
When a mobile platform has to accommodate as many as 4000 different devices of varying hardware specs and there are 13 versions of Android OS powering these devices. This is device and software fragmentation.
The issue of fragmentation presents huge challenges for today’s Android app developers.
Developers building Android apps have to optimize applications for a host of different APIs. There are interoperability concerns as well as an app built for one version may not work at all in other versions.
Then there are the iterative software revisions as well as updates that have to be thoroughly tested on a host of different devices. App development times can vary.
The way forward
The problem is not unique to the Android platform – PC makers have been going though this for years.
For Android developers though, it’s a question of choice vs. complexity.
Android’s biggest selling point has been its high user base when compared to its rivals. Ultimately, Android app developers will be looking at the most popular Android versions in use and developing for them.
Android app development companies will be looking into where the biggest financial returns are and looking to reach the most number of users.
The choice is to limit your potential market by a particular Android variant. Or investing in complexity to make your Android apps play nice with every version of Android OS that comes out?
Fragmentation may never disappear. However, the specs of future Android devices may allow more flexibility to Android app developers to better manage app diversity and outreach.
Striking the right balance between app complexity and choice is the way to go for Android app development companies.