When Google first launched Android, the open-source operating system came with the promise that it could power almost any device. That's created a proverbial cornucopia of mobile devices that consumers have to choose from, but it's also led to the issue of fragmentation -- there are so many devices running different versions of Android with different capabilities that can alter experience.
[More from Mashable: Google to Sell Android ‘Nexus’ Devices Directly to Customers [REPORT]]
Just how bad is the problem? The site Open Signal Maps studied fragmentation in detail, gathering data from 195 countries, and it put its findings in easy-to-discern graphics. The main takeaways: Yes, fragmentation is huge, with 3,997 devices, but it's also a blessing that has led to the platform becoming the No. 1 mobile OS in the world by far.
From the graphic above, it's clear Samsung is the king of the mountain among Android devices. The company's Android phones and tablets make up 40% of the devices Open Signal was able to discern through its methodology. HTC is next, followed by Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG.
[More from Mashable: Chrome Now Syncs Tabs Across Devices]
The graphic below shows that the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone is the most popular device, making it the world's most popular Android phone. If you're a developer, you'd do well by ensuring your apps are optimized for the S II first.
For the Android OS itself, a little more than half of Android devices run the most recent version of Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3). About 5.7% of devices are tablets running some version of Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," and 8.5% are phones or tablets running the latest version of Android, version 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich."
In conclusion, the study notes, "API and screen fragmentation is probably going to get worse. Android has, however, shown commitment to make it easier to target multiple screen sizes -- by introducing the (perhaps ironically named) fragments APIs in 2011 which makes it easier to turn view elements into modules."
What's your take on Android fragmentation: blessing or curse? Check out the full study at Open Signal Maps, and share your thoughts in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
- Technology & Electronics
- Handheld & Connected Devices