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Eric Schmidt Doesn't Think Android Is Fragmented

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the trial-seperation dept.

Android 431

adeelarshad82 writes "Eric Schmidt took issue with the idea that the Android mobile operating system is fragmented, arguing that it's a differentiation between devices rather than a fragmentation. The difference, as he explains it, is that differentiation means manufacturers have a choice, they're going to compete on their view of innovation, and try to convince consumers that their innovation is better than somebody elses whereas fragmentation is quite the opposite. Not surprisingly, some company analysts beg to differ, pointing out the ever increasing incompatibilities between OS and apps across different Android devices and other problems with Android."

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431 comments

Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676534)

Manufacturers competing on their "view of innovation"--which apparently means junkware like TouchWiz--is precisely what is fragmenting the platform. Schmidt seems to believe that by reframing it with a feel-good word like innovation, he can successfully claim that it's somehow the opposite of fragmentation. The differentiation and and in-fighting between manufacturers and devices is the fragmentation. Nothing he stated refutes the claim that the platform is fragmented; he's just describing the fragmentation in a different way.

NPD now says that iOS has officially closed the gap with Android in U.S. marketshare [gigaom.com] since the release of the iPhone 4S, so these issues are having a real effect on the platform. According to NPD's report, 150 Android handsets can't beat three old iPhone models. What's happening here is that Android phones catered to techies and budget buyers, but with the iPhone 3GS now free on contract, Apple now has budget buyers covered--and there are way more of them than there are techies.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676570)

I do think Android is an appealing option for budget smartphone buyers.

In the higher end market, it's just like the tablet space. Consumers are still looking at the Android offerings and saying to themselves, "For that price I could get an iPhone."

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676640)

I dumped my iPhone for an Android.

Clearly my use of a phone is too "geeky".

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676816)

But per the usual misunderstanding on /. , the general public is not geeky. It does not use hacks or cracks, it does not sideload or use custom ROMs. Most don't even upgrade the SD card, or even know that you can.

The general public picks a phone up and evaluates it, if they evaluate it pre-purchase at all, based on a 1-5 minute poking around on the device. I think the iPhone wins these battles with the average, uninformed consumer because the graphical presentation is slick and the interface is intuitive to the non-techie.

Some people equate smartphone with iPhone. For those who don't, most of them will buy whatever gives them the cleanest presentation and seems easiest to use. Openness and Google and other geek-factors don't enter into it.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676952)

I know plenty of the "general public" who aren't geeky but love Android phones. I know even more that love phones which happen to be Android phones, all former iPhone owners.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Interesting)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677216)

The target demographic for smartphones is geekier than the average public. Most geeks have smartphones, for example. Teenagers and young adults regularly defy the traditional concept of "too geeky" or requiring too much effort for the "average" person, and these same are also among the prime candidates for smart phones.

Nonetheless, "fragmentation" is a marketing term being bandied about by Apple apologists. It's an excuse to justify a technology monoculture that Apple has established in some corners of the market. Technology monoculture has invariably led to technology stagnation.

Rather than "fragmentation" being a bad thing, what's actually going on is "innovation," and that's a good thing. People didn't talk about desktop fragmentation in the PC era, people don't talk about console fragmentation when you need specialized controllers to interact with many of today's games.

This is survival of the fittest. My wife is a complete non-geek. She traded out her iPhone for Android and is eager to ditch her iPad. The sole reason being that she wants to consume content which requires Flash. She's not interested in assertions that her life would be better if only websites would ditch Flash, she's interested that her technology can't do the task she wants it to.

Technology monoculture is the real problem here. iOS suffers from it, while Android doesn't. Android should wear this term with a badge of pride; they are currently steadfastly half way between steps 2 and 3 (out of 4) in Gandhi's famous quote about winning. They were ignored (Android 1.x era), they were laughed at ("fragmentation"), now they're being fought (Apple v. Samsung for example). Only one more step to go.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677276)

" It does not use hacks or cracks, it does not sideload or use custom ROMs."

You can bet they use shitload of cracked software in Asian and Eastern European markets, no matter what device (PC/game console/smartphone). I don't think that in these places iOS is competitive with it's walled garden philosophy (i.e. they still want warranty).

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (4, Insightful)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677286)

I agree that the general public is not geeky, but if their purchasing were primarily based on having a slick graphical presentation and intuitive UI, the new Windows Phone should be winning hands-down. Most of the general public, I'd posit, is heavily influenced by Apple's slick marketing, and a large number buy whatever the salesman at the retail store pushes (which is largely based on sales incentives or his own fanboyism), or what their friends and family recommend.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677322)

(I don't mean to imply that retail salespeople are all mindless fanboys, but that their enthusiasm for a particular product will naturally come through in their sales pitches)

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676950)

I dumped my Android for an iPhone 4S. And I'm not looking back.

I got tired of looking through the comments of various games and apps, trying to decipher if it would work with my phone. Especially with games, comments were full of things like "doesn't work on Motorola Droid X2", "a little choppy on my Incredible", "AWESOME on my EVO 4G"... etc.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Insightful)

karolbe (1661263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677340)

Really?? I have Samsung Galaxy S2 and I can't recall any incorrectly working application, and I have downloaded a lot. Guess I am (again *) lucky ;-) (*) - the same is with my Linux PC, in last 2-3 years never had any issue with drivers, non working devices etc.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676656)

I paid $160 for my LG Optimus Slider from Virgin Mobile. For my use, the only thing that works poorly on it compared to an iPhone is NetFlix, which tends to have choppy video. However, it has a physical keyboard, which more than makes up for not being able to watch tiny movies in my opinion. I also find the Android interface to be somewhat more intuitive than IOS (at least in most cases). Also, everything I can't do on my Android phone, I can do on my $180 Nook Color. So for $340, I can do everything I would want with an iPhone and a whole lot more. Having it split between two devices is actually more convenient for me as I take the phone with me everywhere but I rarely use the Nook (mostly for Netflix and books) outside of home.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676854)

My experience has been a little bit different, I used an Android phone for about 2 years and now use an iPhone. I can't name any app that is better on Android. Sometimes they are roughly equivalent, sometimes they aren't, but what is usually the case is that the iOS version is smooth graphically, opens/closes without fits and starts, doesn't creak when interrupted by calls or texts, etc etc.

A good example is the ESPN Scorecenter app. the iOS version is great. The android version is more simplistic graphically, it doesn't wipe or update as well... for me, sometimes it needed to be killed and restarted to update scores.It works well enough, it's just not as polished.

It's probably not the developers' fault, I think there is universal agreement that Android is much harder to develop for. This works itself out in app quality.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677376)

My experience has been a little bit different, I used an Android phone for about 2 years and now use an iPhone. I can't name any app that is better on Android....

Google maps. Navigation specifically. Voice navigation more specifically.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676874)

Only on price though. Android runs terribly on low end smartphones and don't even have the full feature set of a top of the line android phone. Further, they're likely to be abandonded, perpetually running an outdated version of android until you ditch it. With the iPhone, even buying last gen you're getting most of the features of the top of the line. The WP7 Samsung Flash costs .99 on AT&T and offers the same exact user experince as a top of the line WP7 phone. So why is anyone ever choosing low end android phones? Because 1) the carriers are pushing them since they know they don't have to provide expensive upgradde support and will rope customers in for another contract since the phone will never be updated and 2) there's a lot of buzz around "Android" and people think even the low end phones will deliver the same experience, when what they get is a slow, feature-barren, "smart phone" that was abandonded by the manufacturer the second it shipped.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677182)

The WP7 Samsung Flash costs .99 on AT&T and offers the same exact user experince as a top of the line WP7 phone. So why is anyone ever choosing low end android phones?

Don't you mean "why would anyone ever choose a top of thye line WP7 phone"? Those are the ones you're saying gives exactly the same experience as a cheaper phone.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Informative)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676882)

i just picked up a Samsung Galaxy S2 skyrocket and a 32gb minisd card for a grand total of US$200. that's a total of 42gb in storage space (the phone has 10gb internal storage), along with a very fast dual core processor and, more important, actual 4g LTE capability.

in comparison, Apple's 32gb nonexpandable iPhone 4s is $100 more, has a weaker processor, and is stuck with 3g speed.

i don't consider myself a full android fanboy, but based on these facts alone, you can get MUCH better android devices for far cheaper than a handicapped iPhone.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677046)

(Posting AC because I'm at work...)

Quoting specs demonstrates a clear lack of understand of what makes a smartphone (or computer or tablet) "better".

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677202)

depends on your definition of better, doesn't it?

but let's look at this issue. slashdotters will likely generally disagree with you. i'd argue that most tech minded folks value specs as much as GUI/interface/"experience".

but what about the less tech-saavy user? well, the new Nexus, the new HTC phones, and other newer devices are offering high end mobile processors AND 4g speeds, which vastly improve software performance, which in turn improves the end user experience.

don't get me wrong,Google needs to get Ice Cream Sandwich out ASAP. but your argument about specs having no influence on "better" is frankly silly.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677058)

Oh sorry, I was busy playing my superior games and using my wider selection of apps, to care that your phone has more numerical specs than mine. Geek bias.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677086)

Yet you will still run into choppiness and various performance issues with that faster processor. I have yet to see an Android system that runs as crisply and smoothly as an iPhone. It's probably due to all the things that can run in the background (crapware + whatever else), on top of the Linux kernel's questionable scheduler, which dogs desktop machines as well. And let's see if you're still running the latest Android firmware a year from know. Even iPhone 3GS's were instantly upgradable to iOS 5 the second that Apple announced it.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677290)

...not really. performance on this phone has been fantastic compared to any similar iPhone. reviews for the Galaxy S2 line has generally been positive. and that was before i rooted and installed a speedy custom rom and kernel. now it's RIDICULOUSLY smooth.

frankly, i'm glad i saved a bit of coin for a device that is speedy and is customizable as all get out. my butt enjoys the extra comfort from all that cash padding, too :P

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (3, Insightful)

wzinc (612701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677208)

With iCloud, my whole 80+ GB collection of music and movies is with me wherever. Phone storage doesn't matter.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677232)

"i don't consider myself a full android fanboy, but based on these facts alone, you can get MUCH better android devices for far cheaper than a handicapped iPhone."

Better is a subjective term. Do people care about the hardware specs? People care about how a devices feels and operates, and sure, hardware enters into that. But comparing the iPhone hardware and Android hardware like all other things are equal is... disingenuous. I mean, if you want to play that game, the 4S has a much better GPU than the Galaxy S2 and a much more responsive OS. But I'm just trading one subjective comparison for another.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677318)

People care about how a devices feels and operates

You're buying a freakin' phone for god's sake, not toilet paper.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (-1, Troll)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676582)

I agree, Google is master of using feel-good words. They do it with everything, right from using "beta" in product names so that when people point out bugs, they can just say it's a beta! On top of that they when they ask users to install Chrome, instead of Yes and No they use soft words like "Let's try it out!" and "Maybe at some other time". They're a marketing company, they know how to play that game.

LOL, bonch replying to his own trolls. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677036)

How fucking pathetic does someone have to be to sit here on Slashdot creating mass numbers of shill accounts, whoring karama, and then sitting around modding your foaming a the mouth anti-Google tirades up.

What a loser.

http://slashdot.org/~bonch [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~SharkLaser [slashdot.org] ...

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676746)

There is no fragmentation problem with Android. It's always been something that Apple fanbois have used to attack Android for being less homogenous. The fact though is that Google provides the tools for developers to handle the variations in screen size and such and in practice developers don't seem to be having too much trouble with the fragmentation issue.

True early on some features wouldn't be supported on older versions of Android, but the same is true with iOS, Apple adds new features and doesn't necessarily port them to old iPhones.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676934)

The fact though is that Google provides the tools for developers to handle the variations in screen size and such and in practice developers don't seem to be having too much trouble with the fragmentation issue.

I'm just finishing up my first Android app. It's a simple app, yet several times I've already needed to use reflection to dig around in undocumented APIs or roll my own version of a class included in the framework because of differences between the API versions. I have also found that it is difficult to add functionality to framework classes because Google makes many of the methods either private or final.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677080)

Apple adds new features and doesn't necessarily port them to old iPhones.

Apple is pretty good about updating their product line to the current OS. True, you're not going to update your original iPhone to iOS5. But you're not going to buy a brand new last gen iPhone 4 or even iPhone 3GS with iOS 3. Same with Windows Phones, they all currently run the latest release of WP7, even if you buy a last gen samsung focus from. However, in the Android world you can buy a brand new Android phone with an OS 2 versions out of date, and that phone will never be upgraded. THAT is the problem. We're not talking about 4 year old phones not getting the latest release. We're talking about brand new phones that are out of date, out of the box. This isn't a fairy tale.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677186)

There is no fragmentation problem with Android. It's always been something that Apple fanbois have used to attack Android for being less homogenous.

Is that so [imgur.com] ? Then maybe you can explain to the Galaxy S and Tab buyers why they won't be getting Ice Cream Sandwich.

The fact though is that Google provides the tools for developers to handle the variations in screen size and such and in practice developers don't seem to be having too much trouble with the fragmentation issue.

Third-party developer support for Android declined by a third in 2011 [flurry.com] .

True early on some features wouldn't be supported on older versions of Android, but the same is true with iOS, Apple adds new features and doesn't necessarily port them to old iPhones.

While not every feature gets back ported, the 2.5-year-old iPhone 3GS can run the latest version of iOS. The problem is that carriers aren't interested in doing support; they want to sell new phone models every six months.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676774)

Oh wow shocking, Apple gained sales market share right after releasing a brand new super-hyped phone and lowering their old prices! Android is doomed! DOOOOMED, I tell you!

Anyways, fragmentation is good for the market. Allows for true competition and drives features. The newest Android phones are far and away more featureful than any iPhone, plus you can choose from any carrier and any range of features you want. I would have liked Google to encourage manufacturers to release more updates to their phones so people didn't get stuck on 2.1 or whatnot, but the fact that most Android programs work on most Android devices is nothing short of amazing when you think about the vast array of different hardware they can contain.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676846)

with the iPhone 3GS now free on contract, Apple now has budget buyers covered

That's not free, that's amortized over the length of the contract. That's not for budget buyers, that's for people who are bad at math. You're still spending over a grand for a phone.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676890)

Does the same criticism not apply to the HTC/Samsung/etc which you're paying for over the life of the contract?

Would you not be paying the same monthly rate, whether you purchased the device outright or not?

From a certain point of view, if you're going to be paying the same monthly rate for 2 years of a data plan, you may as well be getting a free phone vs. nothing in return.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677014)

Maybe, but then you can get much better phones than the old iPhone 3GS for free on contract.
Also you forget the pre-paid market. A cheap no-contract Android make sense pre-paid. The iPhone 3GS is sold for $375 out of contract in Canada. That's more expensive than the $250 Galaxy W or even the $350 the Nexus S.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677270)

This might be a convenient niche in the market, but for most people it doesn't fit their buying habits. Most people in the US only use pre-paid providers if they don't meet credit requirements the major carriers offer. (Yes, many geeks use Virgin or Boost or whatever, but the majority of the clientele are not thus)

The average US cell customer walked into VZW/ATT/TMO/S 5 or 10 years ago and said, "I want a phone" and now is firmly ensconsed in the early-device-upgrade model of customer retention.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677112)

And this is why I use a monthly plan from T-mobile, i am not paying the subsidized rate.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677026)

No, you aren't. You would pay for the contract price even if you already had your phone.

You were going to pay the same price over that period for service ANYWAY. It doesn't cost you more because you got the phone as well.

You are in fact, losing out if you don't take the most valuable 'free' phone you can find.

Your thought pattern has no logic what so ever.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677072)

It's still not a free phone. Instead of being delighted that you're getting a "free phone" which you actually pay for, you should be upset that you can't get a discount for using your old phone. They are charging you for something you don't necessarily need.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677312)

'You were going to pay the same price over that period for service ANYWAY. It doesn't cost you more because you got the phone as well.

Is that how it works in the US? Then you're getting screwed by the carriers. In many parts of the world you can get basic SIM only monthly plans (or even PAYG with data) that cost a lot less than the contracts that include 'free' iPhones (or decent Android phones).

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677236)

You can say that, but the reality is that there are pretty much no discounts for bringing your own phone to the table with any of the major carriers, save perhaps T-Mobile. If you're planning on having cell phone service for 2 years, you're better off just taking the subsidized phone, unless you go pre-paid.

The point of the comment is that neither Apple, nor any of it's carriers, offered a "free" iPhone, while there were plenty of free low-end Android phones. Now that the 3GS is in that same boat, it's selling like crazy, even though it's 3 years old and isn't able to do everything that the 4 and 4S can do. Now Apple can compete in the low end against Android, where it wasn't even trying before, and that's going to erode Android's share on the low end, while Apple already was holding it's own on the high end.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677108)

That chart is market share *by sales* for *that quarter only*. Not total market share. They total market share is still roughly the same. What that char shows is mostly 3GS users buying the 4S.

Re:Eric Schmidt, master of non-answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677152)

How long you been prepping that first post bonch? Mod parent down

Just playing with words (3, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676544)

The difference, as he explains it, is that differentiation means manufacturers have a choice, they're going to compete on their view of innovation, and try to convince consumers that their innovation is better than somebody elses whereas fragmentation is quite the opposite.

How is that different, and how is fragmentation quite the opposite? It's not. Fragmentation on Android is real problem. Of course Eric Schmidt is going to say it's not a problem, or that it doesn't even exist. Companies always deny problems. It's not a bug, it's a feature!

Re:Just playing with words (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676614)

What's a problem exactly? How is that different than any other platform that has diverse hardware and different OS release levels applied to it?

It makes for some sensational rhetoric but seems to be less meaningful in practice.

I can't play the latest and greatest CPU/GPU crushing game on an ION but no one seems to think that's such a great tragedy.

Re:Just playing with words (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676792)

It might not be different, but it is a bad thing and consumers do suffer. Consumers go into a cellphone store and they buy an android phone, thinking they're buying into a certain level of quality or experience. But Android runs on some pretty craptacular phones and tablets these days. It's a complete crap shoot as to what kind of specifications and capabilities any given android phone has. Contrast this with the iPhone. As a consumer you know exactly what you're getting even if it's a last gen phone. Contrast this with Windows Phone. Even if you buy the lowest end windows phone or a last gen phone, it's going to have the same exact capabilities as the top of the line.

Re:Just playing with words (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676822)

Even if you buy the lowest end windows phone or a last gen phone, it's going to have the same exact capabilities as the top of the line.

So what exactly are you paying for with the high-end models?

Re:Just playing with words (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676996)

The cheaper one will have a slower CPU, smaller screen, lower resolution camera, reduced storage, stuff like that.

So, it's not going to have the same exact capabilities as the top of the line.

Re:Just playing with words (0)

robmv (855035) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677050)

So, only rich people have the right to own smartphones? Is that a problem that there are cheaper laptops? or must be only one expensive model for everyone?

Re:Just playing with words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677012)

Even if you buy the lowest end windows phone or a last gen phone, it's going to have the same exact capabilities as the top of the line.

So what exactly are you paying for with the high-end models?

Fast blue screens. Really, really fast.

Re:Just playing with words (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676814)

From a developer perspective, the problem is the increase in support and testing required for devices with varying capabilities and software versions. One of the big appeals of console gaming for developers is the static nature of the platforms.

From a user perspective, making people sift through technical specs and operating system versions to determine which phone or tablet they should get is a bad customer experience. Only techies care about specs. It's also missing the point of this new mobile OS paradigm, which was to get away from the headaches of PC specs and maintenance and deliver a seamless, worry-free experience. Critics use tired cliches like "walled garden" to describe it, but it's really just the appliance computing mindset that this industry has been heading toward for decades and only now has been able to embrace due to a confluence of capable hardware and software.

Re:Just playing with words (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676912)

It's also missing the point of this new mobile OS paradigm

Since when do you get to tell Google what the point of Android is?

Re:Just playing with words (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677156)

What's a problem exactly? How is that different than any other platform that has diverse hardware and different OS release levels applied to it?

It isn't different, and thats the problem. 99.99999% of the world doesn't want to spend the time it takes to find the 'perfect option' for them. So rather than having fewer, more relevant choices with obvious differences, you have a fuckton of very alike products that don't show their differences until after purchase and in most cases are fucking annoying differences, not good ones.

When the general population goes to buy a car, they buy one that does pretty much all the basic stuff they need IN THE SAME WAY for roughly the same cost. Its obvious that a big ass Dodge can haul more cargo than a Prius ... just like its obvious that a tablet has more screen area than a phone. Whats not obvious on the phones is that one of them might lag like shit or have absolutely shitty call quality, and the other one, both running android and using that as their big marketing factor, has great call quality, no lag, lots of space and outstanding hardware, and guess what, they both cost the same thing.

That is not helpful to most of us. Its not a good thing to have a bunch of options where everyone is trying to confuse you.

Android is a marketing gimic used by manufactures trying to ride on Google's coattails, and its working been really well. The problem is, ever non-geek on the planet now is not really impressed with Android. It simply doesn't live up to the hype, and as such people will start turning away from it.

On the contrary, someone buying an Apple iPhone knows more or less EXACTLY what they are getting and how well its going to work.

Lots of options and customizations are important on tools that people use constantly. Phones are not those sorts of tools.

Re:Just playing with words (5, Insightful)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676754)

Well, the wordplay is correct. You could also say that the mobile market is fragmented between iOS and Android, yet we call that differentiation and innovation.

After all - we could create a government mandate that all computers have to be x86 based - that would've stopped a lot of fragmentation. Would it have created a better world?

Re:Just playing with words (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677044)

One reason to criticize Android fragmentation is that it becomes less accurate to lump Android phones together under the same moniker. They are effectively customized operating systems based on Android and running varying software versions and hardware capabilities (e.g., the Kindle Fire). This impedes third-party developers by increasing support costs, and it contributes to customer confusion.

In other words, it's not that people are saying there should be no differences between platforms. It's just that if there is a platform, it's not good to have what amounts to mass deregulation and chaos within that platform if you want it to be a long-term success that competes with something like iOS.

Re:Just playing with words (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677256)

And this post is no way correct or insightful.

Its not fragmented because we have the option of iOS or Android.

Its fragemented because we have the option of a couple iOS devices or hundreds of different android devices.

I know what a new iOS device does. Pretty much every one on the planet does actually.

What are the tech specs on a 'new android device' ... you can't tell me. Well you could, but then I could show you a device that is entirely different than what you describe and is still a 'new android device'.

iOS covers 1 tablet and 1 phone, slight yearly upgrades have been made.

Android covers ... well, anything. Hundreds of completely different hardware models of phones, tens of completely different tablets, and hell, even some TVs!

we could create a government mandate that all computers have to be x86 based

Most people with a clue would say that the day Apple annouced the switch to x86 was one of the greatest days in computing. The only downside is that x86 is such a shitty architecture compared to pretty much EVERYTHING else on the planet, however for consumers of software that runs on mac's and/or windows, its been a tremendous improvement on both sides, now its FAR easier to port between the two OSes, even drivers.

Re:Just playing with words (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676780)

Except that Google provides developers with tools for managing that and I'm sure that there's a list of safe features to use as well. The typical people making a big deal out of fragmentation are Apple Fanbois that can't imagine how an OS could exist where all devices aren't identical.

I haven't personally found that I wanted to use an App that wasn't available for my particular handset but was for other Android handsets. I doubt very much that I'm alone, at least when it comes to folks that waited until the market got really going good.

Re:Just playing with words (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677130)

Agreed. And for a product line that has so few models, I am amazed at the level of incompatibility that exists on the iOS line of products.

Re:Just playing with words (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677172)

Except that Google provides developers with tools for managing that and I'm sure that there's a list of safe features to use as well. The typical people making a big deal out of fragmentation are Apple Fanbois that can't imagine how an OS could exist where all devices aren't identical.

I haven't personally found that I wanted to use an App that wasn't available for my particular handset but was for other Android handsets. I doubt very much that I'm alone, at least when it comes to folks that waited until the market got really going good.

I have found apps that don't work on my Android. But that's because when it was new it was one of the cheapest Android phones out there I believe. It was never ever intended to be a powerhouse and it was never going to stand toe to toe against the expensive, top of the line phones.

The fact that it was designed to be cheap is the only reason I have an Android phone now. And every time it manages to pull off 3D graphics or streaming high quality video my mind is blown. It's made by Huawei. It cost something like $99 with no contract when it was new. And it has, I would guess, the weakest technology that could really run Froyo. And I love it. It is to a high-end Android phone what a netbook is to a high-end laptop. And it's exactly what I wanted.

Re:Just playing with words (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677330)

The typical people making a big deal out of fragmentation are Apple Fanbois that can't imagine how an OS could exist where all devices aren't identical.

Well, that. And Android developers.

Re:Just playing with words (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677006)

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/cdd1ea06-7cc0-11e0-994d-00144feabdc0.html [ft.com]

Facebook has admitted that it secretly hired a public-relations group in the US with the aim of generating stories critical of Google’s approach to privacy. ...
Burson-Marsteller, a WPP-owned PR agency whose clients also include Microsoft, contacted US newspaper reporters and opinion-piece writers with a view to securing coverage on Google’s alleged use of personal information from Facebook and other social networks.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38654948 [slashdot.org]

It's the [...]Anti-Google astroturfer. The last one got killed because it he admitted he was a paid astroturfer for MS. This one isn't going to last very long either. Note for anyone who is wondering why I know (with >95% certainty) that DCTech is a paid astroturfer:
* brand new handle
* posts random Google is evil posts in the most unrelated topics
* does so within seconds of the article being up
* does little other than post Google is evil

-------
bonch (possibly one of the subscribed accounts they use)
DCTech (2545590)
ge7 (2194648)
zget (2395308)
cgeys
*x**y*y**x* (not sure of correct spelling here)
InsightIn140Bytes
SharkLaser

It's sad we have to chase you around with a running list of handles just to have a non-astroturfed discussion here. And if anyone wants to report this post as abuse please feel free. The Slashdot admins need to wake up and get invoked or this place will end up like Digg.

Android apps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676550)

I was just going through my list of favorite Android apps...

AVG Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=org.antivirus [android.com]

Avast! Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.avast.android.mobilesecurity [android.com]

Kaspersky Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kms [android.com]

Antivirus Free for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zrgiu.antivirus [android.com]

Lookout Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.lookout [android.com]

Dr. Web Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.drweb.pro.market [android.com]

NQ Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.nqmobile.antivirus20 [android.com]

Fastscan Anti-virus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=jp.ktinc.fastscan365 [android.com]

GuardX Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=org.qstar.guardx [android.com]

NetQin Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.nqmobile.antivirus20.web3g [android.com]

Zoner AntiVirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zoner.android.antivirus [android.com]

Webroot Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.webroot.security [android.com]

MyAntivirusPro Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.perlapps.myantivirus [android.com]

MyAndroidProtection Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mymobileprotection20 [android.com]

G Data Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=de.gdata.mobilesecurity [android.com]

AegisLab Antivirus for Android
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.aegislab.sd3prj.antivirus.free [android.com]

Re:Android apps (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676696)

I never had a virus nor ever met anyone who had a virus on its mobile phone.
These companies are just trying to profit from uneducated users.

2 things this does (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677120)

1 when viruses do show up these programs should deal with them

2 its also nifty for scanning files to be used on That Other OS computers since anything funky CAN'T go active but could be "seen"

Member of Executive Team... (4, Funny)

jkyrlach (1076609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676552)

put's positive spin on a potentially negative product quality. Film at 11.

I might be missing something but.... (1)

jkyrlach (1076609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676562)

I don't know anyone who thinks the vendor's locked down version of android is better than the native os....

Re:I might be missing something but.... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676670)

Mr. Verizon and Mr. Sprint think it's better, certainly for them, and since they're paying for 60% of your phone....

Also Mr. HTC and Mr. Samsung would probably stop selling Android phones if they didn't have the liberty to skin them, how are they supposed to make their phones look "better" than their competitors on the shelf at the AT&T store?

Re:I might be missing something but.... (2)

leftover (210560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676764)

Verizon, Sprint, et. al. are most certainly NOT paying anything for your phone. They are merely fronting the money. You, the users, are paying it all back with more than enough profit.

What this arrangement does, however, is to make the phone companies Google's immediate customers. Users are somewhere in the background, with no voice at the deal-cutting table.

Re:I might be missing something but.... (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676804)

I don't know anyone who thinks the vendor's locked down version of android is better than the native os....

Most people don't know the difference.

Re:I might be missing something but.... (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677034)

I know people who prefer the Sense skin over stock Android.

There are flaws with the stock versions of Android when it comes to ease of use. It is nice if you want customizations and freedom, but they don't always provide the best experience to the average user.

Shocked (4, Funny)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676576)

Totally shocked that the CEO of the company that licenses Android insists that it's not fragmented. Could we also get China's opinion on internet censorship or Rush Limbaugh's thoughts on Obama?

Re:Shocked (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676680)

Eric Schmidt stepped down as Google CEO a year ago. His title now is "executive chairman," which is a little ambiguous.

Re:Shocked (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676948)

His role used to be "world's most expensive babysitter" but the kids had already grown up.

Re:Shocked (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677272)

Oh, that makes it totally different then doesn't it.

What else would he say? (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676600)

This is the guy who said "If you have something you dont want anyone to know then you shouldn't be doing" and this is the guy who said not use G+ if you don't want to share real name. He is the chairman of the company, he will try to put positive spin on negatives of their product. The only thing I hope is he just shut up

Eric Schmidt: the New Google Information Minister (3, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676664)

In the footsteps of Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf comes Eric Schmidt:

"No, what you are seeing is not fragmentation, it's differentiation!"
"Google search plus your World is not favoring Google+ results - it's just reranking them more appropriately!"

Re:Eric Schmidt: the New Google Information Minist (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676834)

And both statements are correct

Google search plus change the ranking based on the USERS CHOICE. You say, use my profile to make the result more relent to ME means removing things not likely to be relevant to you. And since its a clear choice there really isn't a problem with that feature as a feature. It may lead to an echo chambers effect, but that's a different discussion.

It's like you are complaining that when you enter cookie -baking it change the page ranking to remove baking.

Re:Eric Schmidt: the New Google Information Minist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676920)

It's everyones favourite anti-rights IT lifer working for the City of Portland, banging on his pro-Google drum again. Some people don't like Googles reach, get over it.

Android reduces fragmentation (3, Interesting)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676718)

As I said in a previous discussion, Android reduces fragmentation.

The main fragmentation that interest developers is the one between platforms, not within a platform. If Apple and RIM both switched to Android, it would be much easier to develop for mobile devices. They add a lot of fragmentation by continuing to push their proprietary platform. Google actually removes fragmentation by giving away for free an OS that anyone can use. There would be much more fragmentation in the mobile world if HTC, Motorola, Sony, Samsung and LG all pushed their own OS like Apple and RIM are doing.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676840)

That's a good point.

But it can still be argued that there exists some fragmentation and that most Android phones does not ship with Android Android but instead with a more or less heavily modified version of it.

It's like if computers came with HP Windows, or Dell Windows, oh wait, they do!

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676936)

The standard OS functions and APIs are the same across all devices, and backwards compatible between versions.

What is "modified" is software like the launcher and the contact app. That only rarely impacts developers.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676910)

Absurd. Android's fragmentation looks like this [imgur.com] . It's not reduced at all, nor do you explain how it's reduced. To the contrary, the business model for many of these companies is not to support a model of phone with updates but instead make you buy a new model six months later. That's why top-selling Samsung phones that are only months old won't get Android 4.0.

You state that Google "actually removes fragmentation" because they give away a free OS, but you don't explain how that is true. We're not seeing what you are claiming should be happening--what we're seeing is that each company is doing exactly what Schmidt is describing, customizing the OS with their own software and selling phones with large differences in hardware capability. That is the fragmentation.

Your premise is based on the idea that everybody is selling stock Android phones. Motorola Mobility's CEO explained at CES that carriers don't want stock Android phones [theverge.com] because they don't make a profit. He said, "Verizon and AT&T don't want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves...The vast majority of the changes we make to the OS are to meet the requirements that carriers have."

There is no reduction in fragmentation; the exact opposite is true.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (0)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677118)

It seems that you didn't get my point so let me rephrase.

In a world without Android, Samsung, LG, Motorolla, Sony and HTC could each have their own OS. The mobile market would be fragmented between these 6, as well as, say, Apple, RIM and Nokia.

By joining together in a common OS (or 2 OSes if you count Windows Phone 7), these companies reduce fragmentation in the mobile phone world. By keeping their own OS, RIM and Apple creates fragmentation. Developers needs to write their apps for at least 3-4 OS, this is fragmentation. Just like the deskop OS market is fragmented between Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
This is true even if there are slight customization between different Android devices.

I call this choice. Not fragmentation. Choice is good. Apple could stop making iPhones to reduce fragmentation in the mobile world. It would not be a good thing, because it would reduce choice.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677210)

And that image is different if you do it for Windows? XP, Vista, 7, 64 bits, 32bits, no SP, SP1, SP2, soon Intel or ARM, cheap Intel video, expensive ATI/Nvidia. What I see is that the new generation of software developers are just a big pile of lazy developers that just want to test with the lastest release and only one manufacturer. That new generation will only be happy if there is only one device in the world and that device is the more expensive possible and everyone switch to it the same day of release after waiting like dumb people on long lines at the store

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

tomboalogo (2509404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676938)

Yup and if GM and Chrysler both switched to Ford platforms, think how easy mechanics would have it!!

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676942)

Exactly. What is important for most of the users is that apps work on their device.

No one says Windows is fragmented even when its user base is split between Windows 7 XP and Vista. Most applications are compatible, so there isn't much of a problem.

Fragmentation is mostly just FUD that is pushed by Apple as far as the average user is concern. Power users complain about not having the latest version of Android, but I think that is a different issue.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677168)

Perfect answer. Mod parent up.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677394)

Giving it away and allowing anyone to change it willie nillie does not prevent fragmentation, it encourages it, AND encourages confusion because no people hear 'android' and think that the free phone they are getting will be like a $600 phone running some variation of what was at one point known as Android.

If everyone 'ran android' we'd just have MORE android fragmentation.

Android simply isn't capable in its native state of performing like iOS, until the GUI thread issue is fixed (seriously WTF IS WRONG with you guys?), you simply can not get the same results out of Android, so they'd have to go fix it, and then you'd have an incompatible version of android, at which point you're doing everyone a disservice by calling it the same name.

And he is correct (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676796)

Which is an unusually thing to say about Eric.

Re:And he is correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676820)

You appear to be in the minority.

Manufacturers lying about ICS (2)

kmahan (80459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676862)

How about calling the manufacturers LIARS. They committed to putting ICS on handsets and now are going back and saying "just kidding."

In my case the Moto Droid 3. Bought it after hearing Moto commit to putting ICS on their new handsets. Now they won't even talk about ICS and the Droid 3. Luckily Cyanogen has stepped up.

fragmentation not a problem (5, Interesting)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676894)

Most apps work fine across all common Android versions; the only ones that don't are those that require functionality that just wasn't available on earlier devices. Most of the so-called "fragmentation" is things like manufacturer-specific apps and launchers. Those do exactly what Google says they do: they allow manufacturers to differentiate themselves from one another. That may not be a good thing (I prefer "pure" Android), but it isn't a problem.

I think a lot of the complaints from developers about fragmentation is complaints from iOS developers, who are used to an unusually rigid level of constraints across devices and have developed bad coding practices (like hard-coding coordinates and layouts etc.) because of it.

Re:fragmentation not a problem (1)

lunatic1969 (1010175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677088)

I agree with you. I have an android phone. Anybody I know that also has an android phone can run any app I do, even if we have different phones by different manufacturers. Fragmentation is a Figment.

Marketing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676954)

If you are afflicted with bad press, argue the semantics.

Since it's technical stuff, nobody but the geeks are going to understand, and nobody listens to the geeks.

It's not the apps, it's the OS (5, Insightful)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677032)

Most apps run well on every android version thanks to the design of API cross-compatibility (I have experienced this myself, being an early android developer).

However, I don't think you can avoid the fact that the OS itself is fragmented when your OS takes 6 months to a full year to be available on the majority of android handsets.

In addition, has Mr. Schmid had a look at this chart, put up by google themselves?
http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html [android.com]
It reads OS fragmentation all over it! And this is PRECISELY what pisses many (geek) users off, that they can't get the latest and greatest or that new phones come to market being outdated!

Re:It's not the apps, it's the OS (3, Interesting)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677122)

Windows machines are heavily fragmented between Windows 7 XP and Vista. It will just get worst when Windows 8 comes out.

The problem isn't fragmentation. It is the lack of OS updates.

Re:It's not the apps, it's the OS (2)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677206)

Exactly. As a developer, I've had very little problem with differences between devices. Sure there's a lot of variation in terms of screen resolutions and such, but the OS provides tools to deal with that. And the custom skins different vendors put on the UI really don't impact me much at all.

But it's really irritating that I still can't require anything later than Android 2.2 without excluding a large part of the potential market (and even at that I'm losing about 10% that are on 2.1 or earlier). The various companies involved really need to get their act together. They should commit to keeping all devices up to date for a reasonable period (at least a year) after they're sold, and to releasing those updates in a timely manner.

Different can be good. (2)

erick99 (743982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38677064)

I am okay with a little fragmentation if it means lots of choices in phones. Shopping for smartphones, for me, is like being in a big candy shop and trying really hard to choose. And, while I understand how appealing the iPhone is for so many, I really like having lots of choices (I chose and really love my HTC EVO). The iPhone is a great choice for many but many others like other choices. Too much "sameness" doesn't feel good to me though it feels great to others. I don't think either camp is right or wrong - just another choice to make.

Monoculture and polyculture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38677336)

Every rails against the M$ monoculture and fact that it leads to disease (viruses,mal-ware,spy-ware)... Then some of those same people try to rail again Google for fragmentation otherwise known as polyculture?

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