BGR’s error on iOS fragmentation in three words

On June 13, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens

“Developers, Developers, Developers!”

Yeah, Steve Ballmer was right. His firm’s Windows platform continues to do well in part because it tries to smooth things out for developers. On the other hand, Android developers have a problem working on that platform because despite the releases of new OS versions, huge fractions of the userbase are stuck on Android 2.x. That’s fragmentation.

BGR is highlighting end-user fragmentation, which is not a problem.

A developer of iOS apps who wants to target iOS 6 has no problems. With the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S supporting OS 6, every iPhone shipped in the last 3 years (apart from the few 8GB iPhone 3G units shipped post-3GS) will be able to run your app.

A developer of Android Apps who would like to target Android 4 is not so lucky. About 85% of Android users are stuck on Android 2. Meaning it’s not simply a matter of CPU scaling issues. The app will not run. Android developers can’t even target Android 2.3 without leaving behind about a quarter of the market.

So BGR is all hip and trendy for trying to apply Android’s greatest problem to iOS, but in doing so it misses the point completely. Yes, owners of different phones have different limitations in what they can do with their phones. But as long as the market is this fragmented, Android developers will be held back.

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