“Google’s Android developer group Dec. 17 released a device dashboard to help developers decide what iterations of the Android operating system their applications should support,” Clint Boulton reports for eWeek.
“That dashboard also happens to show just how fragmented the mobile platform aimed at challenging Apple’s iPhone has become,” Boulton reports. “The dashboard currently lists 5 Android instantiations of varying distribution through the first two weeks of December: 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and the fresh 2.0.1.”
Boulton reports, “Google said it will expand the dashboard to include information such as devices per screen size, and will update the dashboard to reflect deployment of new Android platforms.”
“Why is Google offering this device dashboard? Google Android developer Raphael Moll’s official reason is: ‘Our goal is to provide you with the tools and information to make it easy for you to target specific versions of the platform or all the versions that are deployed in volume,'” Boulton reports. “The unofficial reason is that Google is aware of the increasing fragmentation of Android.”
“To see them rounded up, literally, in a pie chart showing the varying rates of adoption (or lack thereof) is a sobering experience. In Android fragmentation, applications written for one OS iteration may not run on others,” Boulton reports. “Also, apps written for newer Android builds may not run on older hardware.”
Boulton reports, “Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson confirmed for eWEEK that there are 16,000 Android free and paid apps, not 20,000 as others previously reported.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: By SteveJack: Google Android offers the same messy, inconsistent Windows PC “experience,” but without any cost savings, real or perceived. Windows only thrived back in the mid-90s because PCs (and Macs) were so expensive; the upfront cost advantage roped in a lot of people. Microsoft still coasts along on that momentum today. The fact is: Apple’s iPhone 3G costs just $99 and the 3GS goes for only $199 in the U.S. with a 2-year plan. I’d call Android the “Poor Man’s iPhone,” but you have to spend just as much, if not more, to partake in an increasingly fragmented and inferior platform. As iPhone expands onto more and more carriers, Android’s only real selling point (“I’m stuck on Verizon or some other carrier that doesn’t offer the iPhone”) evaporates.
MacDailyNews Note: Motorola’s Droid ships with only 256 MB available for app storage. Google Android does not support installation of apps to SD cards, so developers face a very real and rather stifling limit. Many of the most popular iPhone apps (games) easily exceed 100 MB, so not very many quality apps would fit on Droid (and some won’t fit at all: our Magellan RoadMate app ($59.99) alone weighs in at 1.36GB*). That’s why Droid only offers users three measly panels for displaying apps; users probably won’t even be able to fill up two before they run out of storage space.
*Droid comes with a built-in turn-by-turn app Google’s Maps Navigation likely because no other nav app would come close to fitting into the Droid’s limited 256MB app storage space. So much for choice: With Droid, you’re stuck with that one nav app forever, but iPhone offers a tremendous array of choices. Motorola Droid. iDon’t have anything close to enough space for apps.
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]