Dec 17, 2009

Market Fragmentation

The has been a lot of talk about Google creating a phone of their own and market fragmentation in the Android marketplace. For those not paying attention, this basically means that there could be too many different models of Android based phones for developers to support because of each phone needing a slightly tweaked version of the same program to properly support it. I don't buy it.

I say that if Google has the brilliant workforce they are supposed to have then I just don't see that happening. If a device runs Android 2.0 then the device should be able to report on the available of features such as screen resolution, keyboard availability, camera capabilities and decide whether to scale down support or not run on the device (i.e. a program for taking photos shouldn't run on a device without a camera). After all, it's the operating system and its APIs that developers target and not the raw hardware (well, usually as targeting raw hardware would be software suicide here).

I do believe Google needs to make some serious improvements to the marketplace and they need to address the issue of being able to store apps on an SD card. I just hit my warning today telling me I have too many apps and that's quite aggravating knowing 16 gigabytes is sitting right behind my battery mostly unused.

I also do think it's entirely possible that the first round of Android devices may be abandoned. I'd be ticked if I owned one, but I suspect they just didn't expect to the OS to grow in size like it has. I also think they want to establish a standard of device capabilites and might not want to lower it below current 2.0 devices. For example, the Droid supports multitouch... will all Android 2.0 apps start supporting multi-touch? Not if developers are trying to create the largest market for their apps by supporting older devices.

Finally, I realize that there will come a day when my new Droid becomes the old, abandoned device. It just better not be Spring 2010 because Google releases it's own phone...

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