Why's fragmentation so bad?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Klosefabrinio, Aug 16, 2013.

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android fragmentation vs iOS fragmentation. which one is worse?

  1. android fragmentation

    65 vote(s)
    80.2%
  2. iOS fragmentation

    16 vote(s)
    19.8%
  1. Klosefabrinio macrumors regular

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    #1
    in the last 6 months i've been reading different articles about android fragmentation, and that it's all time high, many people are booing google, they are leaving android, google is doing nothing about it, i also heard that iOS's fragmentation has also grown with the announcement of iOS7. i searched "what's android fragmentation" and "why android fragmentation is bad" but couldn't get a clear answer, so i thought you guys can help me out.
    so, here is my question:

    1) what's android fragmentation and why is it so bad?
     
  2. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #2
    Because you can have the newest flagship device and a lot of apps are not compatible, despite them being compatible with 'inferior' older hardware.

    For example - same device say Samsung S4, you can have Revision|SKU (A) of a flagship device only to find a lot of apps are only compatible with Revision|SKU (B) or (C) due to the differening hardware in your version.

    You can also have devices with near identical components and from different manufacturers and an app will be compatible with one, but not the other ....


    iOS fragmentation is not the same as Android fragmentation. When people refer to iOS fragmentation they refer to bits of iOS 7 that older devices wont get - such as Airdrop.

    However an app programmed for iOS7 for example will [normally] work on any device running iOS 7. Regardless of whether its new or old. Yes there may be performance differences or app limitations but fundamentally it will work regardless of device.


    Android fragmentation is more 'hardware based' and effects third party software on a much wider scale than iOS. I still have a load of apps in my purchased section I can not use on my S4 or previous HTC One.

    Due to the VAST array of hardware differences an application that lists itself as for Android 4.1 and above will not always run on specific hardware running that OS. And that includes latest devices and older devices.

    At times it can be annoying with Android to find a lot of your older software will no longer work on your new device.

    At least with iOS if you buy a new iPhone you can pretty much guarantee your entire back catalogue should run on it.

    That's the difference between the two. The fact that companies like Samsung can have 3 or 4 different SKU's of the same handset with different chips and graphics processors and radios etc.. - means that the chances of incompatibility are just a lot higher on Android. Thats why it is fragmented, and certainly more so than iOS.
     
  3. nepalisherpa macrumors 68020

    nepalisherpa

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    #3
    If you were a developer, would you dedicate your entire development time/fund in creating good/polished app for one device or dedicate partial time in creating same app for multiple devices?

    Different analogy: would you rather cook a couple of tasty meat items for 3-4 guests and make them verry happy or cook combination of veg and non-veg items for 10 guests while devoting the same amount of time.
     
  4. zone23, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013

    zone23 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Android Fragmentation is the idea that all android devices use different device drivers. So software for android (the OS) is device specific because of different CPUs, GPUs, Cameras, etc. Its kind of like NVidia vs AMD you can't use the same drives on two different video cards. This makes it impossible for Google to make a OS update for all the different android phones. This is bad because it leaves it to the manufactures to update their devices which they rarely do.

    Edit:

    This is why Apple and Microsoft control ALL of the hardware used in their devices. This is also why I tell people if your going to Android and you want to get updates the Nexus is the way to go.
     
  5. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #5
    The other side of the coin is that while it may be a big deal for some people, other users won't even notice it.

    For example, I just recently moved to Android and I haven't really noticed fragmentation being an issue. All of the apps that I've tried work just fine on my HTC One.
     
  6. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    #6
    Android fragmentation means that users are all running different versions of Android. Its not bad, its Apples jab at google for having inconsistent software for all its devices. Apple just likes everyone to be on the same page.

    Fragmentation is low on iOS because once you upgrade, youre stuck there. Which isnt a good thing, people may not like the version theyre on, but there is nothing they can do about it.
     
  7. Assault macrumors 6502a

    Assault

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    #7
    So much incorrect here. Sigh* It is so obvious when a person has zero knowledge of how Android works, but post like they do.
     
  8. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #8
    1) Google Play Editions are a growing idea.

    2) The more affordable Nexus smartphone line has found its groove and is refreshed each year.

    3) Motorola.


    The end.
     
  9. Southernboyj macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

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    #9
    I don't think it's as big of a deal as some people make it out to be.

    I'm a heavy Android user, and I switch phones a lot.

    In the last year I've had a Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, and now a Galaxy S4.

    I have yet to actually find an app I needed, that wasn't compatible with any of my devices.
     
  10. Technarchy, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013

    Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #10
    Fragmentation affects some key things

    App compatibility

    OS performance

    OS stability

    OS security. This is a big one. By abandoning handsets, big gaping security holes are left open making the fragmented environment a playground for malware, and massive vulnerabilities. Bootleg ROM's make the situation worse because their designers will usually not have the skill to deal with holes, or the diligence to go back and fix discovered holes.

    The further you are from the most current version, the worse off you are.

    It also gimps application performance and developer incentive which in turn affects the quality of applications available.
     
  11. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

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    #11
    The app developers likely just coded for the lowest common denominator then. So what probably happened is they chose to forgo the latest APIs and features so their app could run on as many devices as possible.
     
  12. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #12
    Because developers have to spend extra effort on ensuring a playable experience on several devices rather than focusing on a great experience for all.

    It's like trying to manage 30 employees versus 3 employees and having no assistants or leaders to help you out.
     
  13. Assault, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2013

    Assault macrumors 6502a

    Assault

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    #13
    The majority of you guys have zero experience coding for IOS, much less Android, have little to no experience with Android and pretty much regurgitate Apple propaganda as though it is fact. I find it amusing. I encourage you guys to post these posts up on XDA though. We always enjoy a good laugh over there.
     
  14. Fernandez21, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2013

    Fernandez21 macrumors 601

    Fernandez21

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    #14
    I don't know anything about programming, nor do I claim to, but I have a couple apps on my account that I can't load onto my LG Pro because they haven't been updated to the new hd resolution (at least that is what I was told) but I am still able to load motion x poker, a game that is no longer available in the app store and hasn't been updated since 2009, onto my iPhone 5 and works fine. That to me is the biggest problem with android fragmentation, that I can lose my apps when I upgrade to a new more powerful handset.
     
  15. ReanimationN, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2013

    ReanimationN macrumors 6502a

    ReanimationN

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    #15
    Why don't you point out where he's wrong? I know when I bought my N7, a fair few games wouldn't run on it, despite it most definitely having the power to do so.
     
  16. Southernboyj, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2013

    Southernboyj macrumors 68000

    Southernboyj

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    #16
    I couldn't care less if you said something negative about Apple. I do all the time. I use Apple computers mostly, but I much prefer Android to iOS.

    Do I have much to learn about coding? Yes. That's why I'm currently in college studying Computer Science. Your cliché comment about us going crazy over criticism toward Apple is pretty stupid. Considering we actively use the Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices sub forum.

    Next time you decide to call someone out though, actually have the knowledge to back it up. Don't say "Hey, you're wrong! I might not know any better.. but people at XDA do!"
     
  17. mib1800 macrumors 68000

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    #17
    I am not expert either but if you know a little on how java works (which is how android app is built on) then we know that those who brought in hardware as a factor in fragmentation argument is most probably talking nonsense.
     
  18. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #18
    In depth article pointing that it is indeed the huge number of devices hardware wise, and running differing OS versions that is why its fragmented.

    Yet the article goes on to say that this may not be a bad thing in regards to how Android is continually gaining global marketshare.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/30/android-fragmentation-visualised-opensignal

    And the full report in a PDF
    http://opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation-2013/fragmentation-2013.pdf
     
  19. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #19
    Very interesting, especially about Apple.
     
  20. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #20
    It would be interesting to see any polls of the relative experiences of Android and iOS users with regard to fragmentation. On my part, I have had no issues with fragmentation whatsoever, but then again I am only on my second iPhone (although I will upgrade soon).

    I suppose this might be like everything else - fragmentation is a matter of degree. There are relatively few models of iPhones compared to Android phones, so developers will have an easier time keeping up with the iPhone (unless they can employ enough staff to optimize code for the many Android devices out there - 11,868 of them according to the Guardian article above). As for the 'evolutionary diversity' argument above, Johnston clearly does not understand evolution.
     
  21. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #21
    I've seen that attitude to some degree at every online community that I've participated in. Including this one. ;)
     
  22. zone23 macrumors 68000

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    #22
    The only fragmentation I have seen is the inability to update the android OS itself on most devices. It would be one thing if the manufactures would release updated source code then you could compile android yourself. Since manufactures only update the latest models for a very limited time it leaves phones only a year or two old stuck on a older system. Now how does that older system actually affect apps? I would say very little, but I like getting updates. I want the latest version of android, but not everyone feels that way. Lots of people (most actually) could careless what version of android their phone has an long as the phone and the apps still work.

    Now the guys on XDA are fantastic at getting newer version of android to work on these "older" phones. That said a lot of the time they just can't get certain hardware to work on some devices. Take the Driod DNA they built Cyanogenmod 10.2 (I think it was) for it but were never able to get bluetooth audio to function correctly. For some they didn't care but for me I use it in my car everyday. If all android devices were built with similar hardware you could use the same source code. It would be ok if they even used a generic hardware source that would just make the devices work, that would be ok. Unfortunately they don't. Each devices requires its own source or drivers to make it work, leaving most out to dry.

    Like I said though if you could careless about updates then android is great (buy a Nexus).
     
  23. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #23
    - API Levels
    - build.prop entries
    - Updates, 4.1.2 vs 4.2.2, 4.0.3 vs 4.0.4
    - DPIs
    - And filtering by developers (rare, except for exclusivity mostly)
     
  24. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #24
    XDA used to be better in the Windows Mobile days. Minus that ugly yellow layout, hahaha.

    Now it's infested with tweens and teenagers. And it's generally just a place to get help with rooting and get customization stuff. They do have off-topic threads, but most of them are about bacon. :rolleyes:

    That's why I prefer Androidforums. The crowd there just seems older, and the conversations I'm having there so far are very chilled out and more than just one liners. Oh, and a lot of them are Mac users, so it's a lot less "OMGZ U SUX" comments whenever you mention it.

    And the thing is, the other month someone on The Verge forums asked how many of the Android people there were Mac users. The majority are. But then, that place has an older crowd than XDA too in general.

    Anyone see all the hate for the guy who uses an iPhone and writes over at Droid Life? That could only happen on an Android site. :rolleyes:

    My theory is that the majority of Apple hate comes from people who didn't get to experience the iPod.

    And hey Assault, let's check out some of your apps then? Links? :D
     
  25. Oletros, Aug 17, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013

    Oletros macrumors 603

    Oletros

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    #25
    Well, hate no, but I still don't understand how can a person write about an OS when he has not used a device with that OS for two years.

    By the way, someone who says

    can't be taken seriously :p
     

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