Great article on TechCrunch yesterday about how Android is seriously fragmented from a developer’s point of view. To explain, “Fragmentation” is basically the outcome of many devices using Android as their operating system. From TV’s to small phones android is everywhere and that posses a challenge to the companies who make applications for android.
Early android code did not give the programmer much room when it came to screen size. Writing applications in JAVA usually meant telling your application where to put certain things on the screen. If the program was written for a small screen, using that app on a bigger screen with a bigger resolution usually meant trouble. I’ve had (and still have) plenty of apps that work great on a 3.7 inch screen but goes haywire or look like it was made with crayons on a 10inch Tablet screen.
This is the common complaint of Developers who take pride in their work or who used to code for just the iPhone. Have just one smart phone with just one screen dimension is perfect and does not make the company have to guess how their product will respond to the billionth iPhone sold since it will probably do the same way it performed on the first iPhone ever sold.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
So how have some resolved the issue of creating one app for thousands of differently shaped androids? As the link below shows, many have spent most of their budget buying the latest Motorola Droid or HTC or LG, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE or BLU Products device. That means before they push their new game to us on Google Play, about 200 different phones were used to test and give back any feedback on errors, gameplay and look. That’s a lot of work and most developers starting out get depressed just thinking about all of this extra work.
I call it extra work because as one seasoned Developer put it via email, “The openness of iOS and Android IMHO is part of the problem. Every day, half a ton of apps is released for these OSses…” Have most of these apps been tested as diligently? I Doubt it, and that’s why Android gets a bad rap when it comes to quality game experiences on so many android smartphones.
DOES GOOGLE CARE?
Google the hands down king of Beta, is truly trying to unify the programming experience thanks to Android 4.0. With more API’s and a more standardized UI Template, Android is sure to make “Fragmentation” less of an issue. Having more elbow room to make apps and games expand to the screen is one great feature in ICS. Hopefully with Jelly Bean coming soon, other allowances will be made to let one app look awesome on any android device.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Are you a freelance developer? Does this information make you turn purple? Let us know what you use to test your apps before we buy them…