What is Android fragmentation and why it is important for us

What is Android fragmentation and why it is important to know for us

Android fragmentation is an endemic disease that affects almost everyone, if you don’t have a new Nexus running with the purest and latest Android version. Almost every device you can find at home has a version of Android and some even more than three years old.

What is Android fragmentation?

Everyone talks about the main problem of Android is fragmentation. Almost every model of Android smartphone has a different version of Google operating system.

Each device model has a version of Android, kernel version and build number. There are thousands of versions of Android, including adaptations of manufacturers and ROMs community. The range is very huge. Kitkat and Lollipop take about 68% of market, while the latest version Android 6.0 Marshmallow does not even reach 8%.

What is Android fragmentation and why it is important to know for us

Since Google makes Android source code free for public, called Android Open Source Project (AOSP), smartphone manufacturers begin to adapt the firmware and update their smartphones as soon as possible (usually first high-end devices) to the latest version.

Google is constantly improving its operating system and recently begin to release updates the patches for system from malware attacks. This is a necessary process.

The main problem comes from the manufacturers. Often mobile manufacturers, especially small companies, do not update their old smartphones.

There is no system that is 100% safe and every day it is necessary to cover holes that are discovered. Google knows and cares about it but for many manufacturers to upgrade devices is not so simple. They have limited resources or many other factors do not allow to do this.

How Android fragmentation affects us?

A wide selection has its good and bad sides. Each manufacturer try to add unique features and make their product a little more original. For example, Samsung has a panel of very peculiar shortcuts, Huawei has a completely different interface without application drawer and OnePlus has a dark theme for the setup menu.

The bad part is that not all devices are updated to the latest version of Android.

Android is an open source operating system, meaning that everyone can see how it works inside and manipulate it. Personally I think it’s a wonderful thing. The advantage is clear, personalization, but this also means diversity and fragmentation.

What is Android fragmentation and why it is important to know for us

Fighting with Android fragmentation

There are manufacturers that try to update their smartphones and tablets as quickly as possible. A good example is Motorola. The US manufacturer, owned by Lenovo, radically changed its policy firmware after passing through the hands of Google.

The company uses almost pure Android version only adds some applications such as Moto, FM Radio and its own camera application. This allows to release updates on all smartphones, even more than two years old.

Google knows that Android fragmentation is its Achilles heel and it is trying to rectify the situation.

What can I do against Android fragmentation?

How user can help with the problem of Android fragmentation? We take a passive role in this process, because all that we can do is to wait. But next time when you choose new smartphone you should look for manufacturer that cares more updates.

What is Android fragmentation and why it is important for us updated: June 7, 2016 author: John Cross