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Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by maflynn, Oct 19, 2010.
I'm a droidx user but I was surprised to see this graphic over at gizmodo
Fragmentation doesn't mean development is actually a problem. Steve Jobs tells half the story. Let's allow the TweetDeck developers to tell the other half.
I know, my post was a bit tongue and cheek.
That graphic is a bit of shocker in how it shows the various android devices.
Especially considering that it shows said various devices multiple times. The iPhone 2G entry???
not hard to make the OS report false device info if you know what you are doing when you are cooking roms.
It is more advance than most people can do or even car to do but relatively easy to cause false information to be reported back.
No need. Android can actually run on iPhone http://linuxoniphone.blogspot.com/2010/04/ive-been-working-on-this-quietly-in.html
That interesting. However you argue the fragmentation thing, for or against (I'm leaving my opinion out of this) it does show at the least certain screen- and resolution-based problems for developers. All I'm saying is it could be tricky if your app is dependent on such thing as that..
I haven't played with the Android SDK yet but I believe that it's a "flow layout" system rather than pixel-based. The resolution isn't actually a major problem for most apps.
Sites like Gizmodo don't care about facts. Just hits.
They try to make it sound like it's difficult to write an app that everyone can use.
Wonder how they explain the two million downloads of Angry Birds to all sorts of Android users over the past few days?
I am wondering how many people actually understand what fragmentation is, in reference to an OS.
Linux is fragmented. Android isn't.
Android still has a linear release history, without different developers making core changes to the OS, only to have that be the basis for a different distribution, and so forth.
This is fragmentation:
Android would be more like this:
1.5 Cupcake --- 1.6 Doughnut --- 2.0 Eclair --- 2.1 Froyo
Wow! That's a complicated release history!
Don't forget, if you're trying to test against all possible device/OS combos, you need to take into account
That's 11 configurations across 3 screen resolutions for any one app, from a single company. Fragmentation much? No better than Android, from my point of view.
they are downloading it wrong
From a month or two ago:
How many iOS users have multitasking? How many with a compass? How many with a gyro? How many with enough RAM or speed for some apps? Heck, think about the users still without MMS capability.
User base fragmentation is a fact of life for every OS, and every piece of hardware.
I don't know. Angry Birds came out of beta on the android platform and that has been wildly positive, so much so it crashed the server. The authors seemed to bang out that app in a short order of time (relative speaking) in fact its public beta was short, only a month or two.
The app looks just like it does on the iPhone AFAIK.
I've seen some older android apps that look horrible on my droid x because of the screen differences. I think a lot of the current development tools deals with the differences, that perhaps the older apps didn't.
The PC and Mac haven't shipped with 1 standard in resolution/screen in how many years now ?
Seriously, if anything should never be mentionned, it's screen resolution. Developpers learned to work around that one in the friggin stone age.
Bad analog. Neither PCs or Macs have apps that take over the screen (other than games), and neither are touch-based. Resolution matter more on modern phones for apps that depend on them.
There is a reason why the iPhone 4 and iPod touch's new higher resolution is exactly 4 times the old resolution.
no it aws a good analog.
The OS handles everything and different size res you leave it to the OS. All dev should need to do is tell the app here is the ratio I want and leave it to the phone OS to handle everything else.
Apple 4 time part was for pure marketing bull and to look pretty. Nothing more.
Are you sure?
Because his analog are with DESKTOP operating systems.
Let's look at an example. Let's say, Safari? Or Firefox? Or whatever browser you are reading this on. Resolution doesn't matter. Low resolution? The window will appear larger. High resolution? The window will appear smaller. They both take up the same amount of dots.
This is not true for iOS and Android apps.
The fact is, desktop OSes does NOT handle resolutions well. They don't handle it at all. Have you ever compared the taskbar of Windows Vista to the taskbar of Windows 98? The ubiquitous resolutions were very different for their time periods. Notice how Windows 98's taskbar is much smaller than Windows Vista? This is to accommodate lower resolutions. XP, Vista and now Windows 7 made the taskbars larger to accommodate higher resolutions.
Also remember the ancient browsers? Internet Explorer 4.0? Netscape 4? Notice how their icons are much smaller than today's large, easy-to-click icons? Yep, same reason.
The simple fact is, resolution independent never existed, and even today barely exists.
The same is true with iOS and Android. They scale up to the resolution that they are on. So either you use OS-provided widgets (that hopefully conform to the device you are using), or use your own widgets, and either scale it up (and have it become blurry in higher resolutions, but usable on lower resolutions), or you leave it as-is, and hope people with high-resolution screens have small fingers.
Apple's 4x resolution is not marketing bull. It is fact that UIs scale up best when resolutions are multiples of 4 of the screen's native resolution. You can easily see that with your LCD monitor.
And you say "to make it pretty" as a negative thing. Are you saying that we were just fine with 240x180 screen resolutions - after all, they work just fine back in '04.
"Tweetdeck recently launched their app for Android. They reported that they had to contend with more than 100 different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets."
i believe that was the exact quote from the earnings call. whether that equates to sucky development on Android is left for anyone to infer. however i am a bit confused as to why so many people refuse to think that fragmentation will occur...
1. by it's nature Android was meant to be fragmented. that's what the whole Linux/OSS/feel good movement is based on right? so that anyone with enough time on their hands can develop their own fork/branch/whatever. if nothing else, Rubin's tweet basically says, "hey, rough me up however you like!"
2. just because #1 hasn't happened yet doesn't meant it won't. Chinese carriers are busy making their own Android based OS. European carriers are busy discussing whether to follow the Chinese in doing so. US carriers have realised the need to increase value chain presence (e.g Verizon). all carriers don't want to end up playing the role of a dump pipe like their ISP brethren. Android provides the means to do so whether Google likes it or not.
3. let's say the first two didn't happen, then what's the point of Android being open and free? so companies can install it in cutesy digital picture frames, refrigerators and TVs? isn't a TV running apps pretty much an all-in-one desktop with really big screen? Google might as well package Android up, slap a price tag on it and enjoy the extra cash flow. however, many do not like to pay for something that used to be free...
4. in my opinion Google's attitude towards fragmentation is not to soothe developers but rather hardware makers. currently HTC and Samsung will leverage Android to the max because they are able to make as many different handsets as their factories can crank out.
if/when consumers start viewing the breadth of Android handsets as a potential fragmentation problem (e.g. will this app run on model xxx or model abc?) will the hardware makers continue to increase their production? will they start trimming down their product lines? will they continue business as usual? will consumers purchase behaviour decrease/increase? will the burden of updates fall onto hardware makers or carriers?
the last thing Google wants is for Android's handset makers to decide that they are better off focusing on other OSes without perceived issues or even worse, develop their own OS. Samsung has made no secret about their attempt to create their own OS. HTC has obviously flirted with the idea of having their own OS as they were one of the bidders for Palm.
handset makers are under no delusion on the sustainability of current gangbuster profits using Android. if Windows has taught them anything, it's that making hardware for a common OS eventually mean competing on razor thin margins produced more by supply chain management rather than hardware innovation. most of them are trying to figure out how to reproduce what Apple and RIM have accomplished by providing an end-to-end business model.
That's only what Jobs said. TweetDeck themselves said they had no problem at all.
On the contrary, they thought it was cool that their app worked everywhere, even with the fragmentation problem that Jobs claims makes creating Android apps a "daunting task". Of course, it would help if Jobs was a programmer and actually knew what he was talking about.
As far as your worries about fragmentation, open source does not mean what most common folk around here think. Sure, you could use the code to make an intelligent refrigerator.
However, there is still a defined standard set of tests and parameters that a vendor has to meet in order to call their product "Android" and to claim compatability with any particular version.
In other words, an app built to Android 2.1 standards should work on any Android 2.1 device.
My analogy is for programming for pixel based displays.
Uh ? I browse fullscreen and can resize my windows. My browsers never "take up the same amount of dots". It's quite dynamic. About all my apps are these days.
The fact is, programmers have been used for years to not assume that the number of pixels on the screen is going to be a fixed value. Doing anything otherwise is plainly wrong. Why would the iPhone change that ? Hint : It doesn't for good programmers. Complete non-issue for Android.
I will admit, I'm a bit biased because of my web design background. I can understand it may be less of an issue in app development.
Web design does not assume the number of pixels is fixed either, so I don't see where you'd see this as a fragmentation issue. Are you one of those web devs that disables Window controls and resize the window ? If so, you're the reason I have to run NoScript tyvm.
The fact is, any programmer doing anything with a pixel based display should make their stuff dynamic to survive resize and alternative resolutions. "This site is optimized for 800x600 displays" is hogwash, just as much as apps that force a resolution on the user.