How bad are the fragmentation issues facing Android (GOOG) developers? More than 4 months after...

How bad are the fragmentation issues facing Android (GOOG) developers? More than 4 months after the first device supporting Android 4.0 was launched, only 2.9% of all Android devices in use run the OS, according to Google's own data. 63.7% of devices are stuck on Android 2.3, and 30.1% are still using Android 2.2 or something older. Consider this a big reason why developers have mixed feelings about Android, in spite of its soaring share.
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Comments (4)
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4579) | Send Message
    Google is moving Android to a place where the upgrades will be mostly in the apps and not the OS, fragmentation is a teething issue, slowly being resolved.


    Note, however that fragmentation in the platform isn't hurting its adoption rate, and that also that the market is moving Android out of smartphones and into everything else: its going in cars, on car radios, in refrigerators, and ovens, in lgihtbulbs and home hobbyist kits.


    Other platforms? Not so much.
    3 Apr 2012, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • mogando
    , contributor
    Comments (313) | Send Message
    And how much Google earns from Android embedded within household appliances? basically zero. I'd hate to buy a subsidized fridge if that beans being spammed by flashing ads 24x7.


    Fragmentation is definitely an issue when every tiny new release of the OS comes with new API level, and other than the biggest names, developers don't have resources to develop for the latest API version if that only means 2.9% addressable market. They would have to go do the lowest common denominator - in this case meaning 2.2 or 2.3.


    People love blaming OEMs and carriers for not pushing out updates, but it's also partially Google's fault for giving them so much freedom.


    On top of all the internal costs of developing Android for free, there's also the $12B Moto acquisition (like $8-9B net of cash), which is an awful lot of money to buy a money losing cell phone business and a bunch of FRAND patents that are being investigated for anti-trust by the EU.


    How many jillion more Android phones does Google need to put in the hands of customers before they can earn back the Moto purchase price, let alone making a profit ?
    3 Apr 2012, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4579) | Send Message
    Great comment.


    I'd suggest that ubiquity is its own reward (like Adobe's Flash heh), in terms of monetizing Android on household appliances, but I agree that ads on them is rather unlikely.


    I'd also suggest that the costs of Android development need to be considered against the revenues - it's its own business and should likely be considered as such, unless we are talking about Google stock price, in which case this conversation gets more complicated.


    Also i disagree that Moto was a bad buy. It's a strong brand, and the set top business is a foothold for Google's TV aspirations. Money losing handsets, maybe, but their Webtop/Lapdock series of products have no competition really, and are starting to show up with Ubuntu, which I think is an event of cataclysmic importance.


    Android/Ubutntu mix may well be the competitor ChomeOS never was to Windows.


    Anyway, my general sense of Google is that it takes a remarkably long term view of things, and the strategy rarely becomes clear until it looks like they are making money almost by accident.
    3 Apr 2012, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • mogando
    , contributor
    Comments (313) | Send Message
    The future of computing is phones, tablets, and embedded. Laptops are reduced to the role of desktops of today, and desktops are rendered irrelevant to all but a super minority.


    Ubuntu and ChromeOS is fighting the war of last generation already.


    As for Android, they must be able to monetize it somehow. So far, it seems that only Samsung is making any money selling Android phones, and no one at all is profiting from selling Android tablets.


    Workstation to desktop .... desktop to laptop ... laptop to tablet is the biggest seismic paradigm shift in a long time. If Android can't succeed in the tablet space (not counting incompatible forks like KindleFire or Nook), then Google has a large problem.


    I can totally imagine the look on LarryPage's eyes when Apple one day decides to switch default search on iOS/MacOS over to Bing.
    3 Apr 2012, 12:09 PM Reply Like
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