Mobile operating system fragmentation is one I’ve written about before. OS fragmentation is important to developers because it has a major impact in how long you need to support code and also what restrictions you have on bringing new features to market.
Android as an “open” operating system suffers from this more than iOS or even BlackBerry for the simple reason that while they do control the software, they don’t control the hardware manufacturers (although Skyhook may disagree to some extent) or the wireless carriers. Both manufacturers and carriers customize (or distort) the Android interface and device capabilities. That has led to a lag in Android OS upgrades on devices in the marketplace and therefore the costs to support apps in the market and creates time to market challenges for developers.
Netflix is the latest company to struggle with the Android fragmentation challenge. Months after introducing an iOS app (which works on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches) they finally introduced an app for Android…or at least 5 Android devices.
The good news is that Google is taking positive steps to reduce the level of fragmentation and streamline the upgrade process, as announced during Google’s IO conference last week. So hopefully the issues experienced by Netflix will be lessened in the future.
This of course is not limited just to the vagaries of streaming technology. I just got an HTC Thunderbolt…Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone…and the damn thing can’t run the MyVerizon app out of the box. I mean the whole thing is insane.
Please add your thoughts in the comments.