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Google chief denies evidence of Android fragmentation

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.


By Electronista Staff


  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    If someone spat in this man's face he'd

    say it was raining. I guess there are all sorts of definitions of fragmentation. I wouldn't doubt that at the core of Android OS all those variants are the same, but to the casual user and some developers, the OS does appear fragmented on some level. And it may not be fragmented when it leaves Google's door, but by the time the vendors and carriers get it and pass it on to the consumers, certainly there are changes being made. Otherwise Google could just push the latest update to nearly every Android smartphone that was built in the last six months and it would work perfectly.

  1. TexasRules

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010



    "Any Android device running 2.2 can pick up these app updates."

    Seriously? You're justifying your argument by saying any device *running the latest available Android version* is capable of downloading de-coupled apps? What about everyone that has bought devices over the last several months where the 2.2 upgrade isn't available? There are high-end Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S series: I'm talking to you!) being sold *today* that still do not have 2.2 available.

    Yes, I strongly believe fragmentation is an issue. The phones are selling like crazy but so did Motorala's Razor series phones back in the day. What's your point?

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    The point is...

    @ TexasRules (except in baseball LOL) - "What's your point?"

    The point is that fragmentation causes developers extra hassle developing for Android that they don't get developing for iOS. They will need to program for backward compatibility with outdated versions of Android that are still shipping on new devices. Only the ideologically challenged freetards of the world will go with Android first.

    This is what happens when you allow the hardware manufacturers and the carriers to diddle with your OS. You get incompatible GUI layers built on top of your OS by the HTCs, Samsungs, LGs, and Motorolas of the world. They want to differentiate themselves from the other running dog Android handset makers, which makes life hard for developers like Netflix. Then you get un-deletable bloatware added into the muck by the Verizons of the world. And they might even replace, say, Google search with Bing.

    All for naught. Android is doomed. The Oracle lawsuit has merit, it has legal precedent, and it's pretty much an open and shut textbook case of Java license agreement violation. Microsoft tried that, failed, paid Sun $20 million back in the day. But this time there won't be any out of court settlement. Larry Ellison doesn't need a few extra million. He's going for blood, and he'll get it.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004



    The man is an obvious idiot. Does he think that all Android devices are running 2.2? What are the Sony devices running? How do idiots like this get into positions of leadership in big business?

  1. ggore

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010


    Ignoring the obvious

    The vast majority of current Android devices run 2.1, some run 2.2 FroYo, and "in the next few weeks" some will run 2.3 Gingerbread. Three different operating system versions, each with its own incompatibilities relating to the others. That's what I call "fragmentation"!

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