Android Fragmentation: More OS Versions, More Headaches for Developers, QA, and IT Teams (Part 4)
By Josh Galde | August 29, 2013
Welcome to part 4 of a 4 part series on Android fragmentation. In a recent article in ‘Search Consumerization’, Margaret Jones covered this issue and how it has really become a major challenge for anyone developing apps or websites for the mobile platform. This final post focuses on the future of Android fragmentation. As we mentioned in the first article, we see little to no sign of any consolidation in the marketplace. If anything, and particularly around Android, we only see growth times ten. Moreover, the pace at which consumers with Android devices are not upgrading their OS as quickly as iOS owners. This presents a problem requiring one to support both current and previous versions.
Ms Jones supports this point by saying that “unfortunately, it looks like fragmentation will be a problem for IT (and developers/QA teams) over the long haul. Device manufacturers would rather focus on bringing in new customers with the latest version of Android than spending the necessary time and money building OS updates for older devices. That means anyone locked into a wireless contract with a device running an older Android OS version is pretty much stuck with it. Additionally, the fragmentation that comes from vendor-specific modifications to the Android OS isn't going away anytime soon. Samsung, HTC and other original equipment manufacturers use the modifications to the Android OS to set themselves apart from other Android devices.”
Regardless of what organization you work in (IT, Development, or QA), we recommend that you pick a targeted list of devices that will give you the maximum market exposure, in the country you live or where you are going to launch your app.
In conclusion, as Android fragmentation continues it has become that much more critical to test, test, and test some more regardless of what you are deploying or supporting. If its on a mobile device you run the risk of mediocre quality and therefore low usage and return on what is typically an expensive investment to begin with. Thanks for reading!
Register now for the upcoming AnDevCon in San Francisco, CA, Nov 12 – 15, 2013. Be sure to visit our booth #303 to experience our real device testing platform for anyone developing, testing, or supporting mobile apps and websites.