Android and fragmentation have been uncomfortable cousins ever since the platform spread like wildfire. Critics of the way Android has been propagated always point out how devices run disparate versions of the OS and how software updates trickle through very slowly, despite Google releasing updates from their end regularly.
However, Android co-founder Rich Miner believes this particular topic of discussion is an overblown issue. Miner helped found Android and since then has worked on a number of Google projects. Currently, he’s a partner at Google Ventures. According to the most recent platform numbers, Android Jelly Bean is the most used version of the OS being installed on around 33 percent of all devices. This is the first time that the latest version of Android has overtaken the 2-year-old Gingerbread version.
Jelly Bean is finally on top
Miner was quoted as saying by XEconomy that with the amount of Android devices in the world, there was bound to be some form of software fragmentation. “Don’t forget, there are 1.5 million Android phones being activated every single day. There are 900 million devices out in the market,” Miner said. Obviously, getting updates out to all these devices is no small feat. Updates coming to devices from the manufacturers’ end are always usually delayed. This is the crux of the fragmentation issue. Miner believes that’s just a part of the way Android is built. “The OEMs, sometimes they might be a little bit too conservative. But they have to make sure that those releases are verified and tested, as do the carriers.”
“Us techies read the blogs and know what features we may be missing. I think if you asked a consumer, `Do you feel like your phone OS needs to be updated today?’ they’re pretty happy with the results and the performance they’re seeing. So I’m not sure it’s a major issue,” said Miner.
The different desserts of Android
Miner gave the example of the company’s quick action to fix the Master Key security flaw recently. Google issued a solution to OEMs within a few days of the malware being revealed. “Clearly, in the early days of Android, there was some learning that had to be done between Google and the ecosystem—the handset OEMs. I think Google is much better, as we’ve seen with the latest security release. Google got a patch out … very quickly to the OEMs.”