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Android: A Developer And Fragmentation

For those of you who think that fragmentation is a fiction of the blogosphere, let’s take the words of the developer of Tweetdeck. “To date we’ve had 36,427 active beta testers and below you can see the massive variety of phones and Android OS versions everyone is running. We were really shocked to see the number of custom ROMs, crazy phones and general level of customization/hackalicious nature of Android.” Yup,they had to build an app that works on 244 different handsets and more than 100 ROMs. Developer Christopher Pabon told PCPro that writing an app for Android isn’t the challenge. The problem comes in “…When it comes to final quality assurance and testing. Then it can be a nightmare (a manageable nightmare, mind you)…I know of a major company having a multimillion dollar project held up because of it. Project managers definitely prefer developing for iPhone over Android because there is less to worry about in final QA.”

If Android standardized the platform a lot more (less resolution options, more consistency in hardware, etc) then they could alleviate this. For now, there’s a lot of trial and error out there for devs as they have to rely on beta testers to get an app finalized. This is a problem for developers and if it’s a problem for developers and they shy away from the platform that means it’s a problem for end users.

Since we know Angry Birds is about to launch for Android, they’re another story in the horrors of launching for Android. The initial beta versions were filled with tons of responses that the app doesn’t launch on certain phones/ROMs and this is from a top selling/professional developer.

It’s a real problem…Google, deal with this already before it gets worse.