Saturday, May 12, 2012

~ Fragmentation hoopla ~

Techcrunch posted an article 'This Is What Developing For Android Looks Like' based on a Hong Kong mobile app developer that has seen more than 70 million downloads which performs QA  on 400 different devices. I feel Animoca seem to have used this article to get publicity.

I haven't solely developed an Android/iOS app, but have got my hands dirty in both platforms at some point of time. At SourceN, we do have developers who develop apps Xross-Platform - iPhone, iPad, Android, WebOS. I for sure can say that we do take our quality seriously be it web or mobile apps. Never had the necessity to QA against 400 android devices. That is pure BS & exaggeration of the Nth order to get eye-balls for a company.

I have constantly had debate with people - developers, fanboys (Apple, Off-late Windows), managers - who don't have complete knowledge about how a platform needs to be built than just state that Android would be a failure or disaster lurking in the future due to their OS fragmentation. I have conceded that indeed that would be a problem which Google needs to address with the OEMs & Carriers to ensure that their is very less layer(s) on Vanilla Android.

You have seen Amazon getting away and fork their own version of Android for Kindle Fire tablet. Not sure if that is a good or bad decision which will help them in the long run. Don't think that other OEMs would take such a big bet (Money n Time) to have their own flavors. Considering the fact, many OEMs (HTC, Sony, Samsung, etc) already have their custom layer on Android phones. This itself is causing a lot delay in the latest Android version (ICS) getting ported to various devices in the market.

Many of the OEMs have gone ahead and released boot-loaders where people can unlock and install latest versions of Android OS. I agree this isn't an easy affair for a layman, but is developer oriented. That's another cliché which you get to hear that Androids are more popular amongst Developers than rest of the mankind. 

Don't just complain about Android fragmentation for the heck of it. As with everything in life, there are trade-offs. Fragmentation is over-hyped bubble which is more popularly driven by those who live in the world of tailored walled-gardened & ubiquitous (in simple terms best UX) offering. 

From a developer perspective, if you ever want to understand how the system works here are some articles which is worth reading.

4.6 iPhone display
Why I'm Not Supporting OS X

P.S: I <3 my MacBookPro & SII :)

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