updated 07:40 pm EST, Mon November 15, 2010
Schmidt insists no Android fragmentation exists
Google chief Eric Schmidt as part of the same talk that showed the Nexus S again denied that fragmentation was a problem for Android. He tried to persuade the Web 2.0 Summit audience that Google was using a "carrot and stick" approach to keep phone makers in line and that the contracts with the Open Handset Alliance were preventing a splintering of the market. Apps on Android Market worked across phones, he said.
The CEO further spun a complaints about missing features in older versions of Android by claiming that their absence wasn't the same as fragmentation.
Schmidt's statements directly contradicted mounting criticism from the industry as well as evidence from Google itself. Its own usage trackers have shown Voice Actions or many of Google's newer apps or app features.
Netflix also just this weekend brought fragmentation to the forefront when it blamed DRM fragmentation for the lack of an Android app where iPhones and even just-launched Windows Phone 7 devices already have Netflix viewing. Without copy protection consistent across different OS versions or even from device to device, Android has left Netflix negotiating with individual phone designers and adding code for each device where Apple and Microsoft can succeed with a write-once, use-everywhere approach.
Cross-device app support was also misrepresented, as many apps often need special accommodations for less common resolutions like Motorola's 480x854 as well as physical keyboards and specific hardware and software combinations.
Google has denied fragmentation before but has seen support weaken. Apple has used the repeated denials as an opportunity to attack Android's weaknesses, as its CEO Steve Jobs has accused Google of being dishonest on the subject of openness and has framed the debate in terms of integrated devices like the iPhone versus fragmented Android.