Research firm finds 3,997 "distinct" Android devices

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Just how bad is the fragmentation issues within Android?

Well, apparently, when you take all hardware and software factors into account, there are nearly 4,000 "distinct" Android devices in the wild right now.

That data came from a company called OpenSignalMaps, which has collected information from 681,900 Android devices through its app.

So what this means is that of those 680,000+ devices, there are 3,997 that are unique. The most popular one, for example, is the Samsung Galaxy S II, with 61,389 people owning that phone and running the same version of Android.

So how are there so many? "One complication is that custom ROMs can overwrite the android.build.MODEL variable that we use for the device model," the company noted. As a matter of fact, "A staggering 1,363 device models appear only once in our database."

"We've looked at model, brand, API level (i.e. the version of Android) and screen size and we've tried to present this in the clearest form we can," the company explained.

If you drill down to the main factor, the main version number, Android seems to be more fragmented than ever. The most common version of the OS is Gingerbread, but even as the #1 version, it's only powering 55.4% of devices.

"While the number of different models running Android will continue to increase we've seen Samsung take the lion's share of the Android market, most of that due to the Galaxy product line," OpenSignalMaps said.

The company advised developers that Samsung and HTC devices should be their primary concern when testing new apps.