Google defends/explains Android fragmentation

Posted by Mark Raby

Android's head honcho says people who complain about Android fragmentation don't understand the operating system.

As Google's mobile operating system grows bigger and bigger, there are an increasing number of complaints over the varying hardware and software differences that make it confusing and difficult for developers.

Users also find themselves in the middle of this problem, as they download apps from the Android Market only to find out it doesn't work with their specific phone, or worse, that it causes their phone to crash.

There's been recent speculation that Google is planning to streamline Android requirements in the future, making it much easier for developers to reach as many users as possible and reducing the frustration for Android handset owners.

But Andy Rubin, Google's mobile chief, said in a new blog post, "Recently, there's been a lot of misinformation in the press about Android and Google's role in supporting the ecosystem. I'm writing in the spirit of transparency and in an attempt to set the record straight. There are not, and never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset architecture."

"If someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, we do require the device to conform to some basic compatibility requirements," he clarified.

However, Android is not and never will be iOS, so 'fragmentation' probably will be a continuous issue, even if Google does try to impose stricter requirements in the future.