How many of you here remember Symbian UIQ, Symbian S60, and Symbian S80? These were the three branches of the Symbian OS some years back. While all Symbian at the core, they were different in capabilities and user interface. Oh, and Symbian S60 alone had some further fragments – S60 3rd Edition (feature pack 1, feature pack 2, feature pack 3) and S60 5th Edition. Crazy; right?
Symbian was severely criticised a few years back for this sort of fragmentation.
Amazingly, that level of fragmentation is what we now find with Android OS. As at last count, we have Android 1.6, Android 2.1, Android 2.2, Android 2.3 (and its variants). Now to make matters worse, we have Baidu’s Yi (customised from Android) and Amazon’s custom Android OS, producing two outright branches or forks away from plain Android.
I was one of those who said that this sort of fragmentation was going to happen on Android, though I took heavy flak for it.
How will the developer community respond to this? Will consumers find this fragmentation confusing? What happens when apps that run on standard Android do not run on Yi or Amazon’s custom job? Already, there are apps that run on Android 2.2 devices but not their 2.1 counterparts.
What do you think Have your say!
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