Android fragmentation continues in tablets

By on October 24, 2011
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Oops, I did it again?

Ask someone why Android is not as optimal of a user experience as the iPhone and the first answer you are most likely to get is fragmentation. Because of the number of screen sizes, screen resolutions, CPU speeds etc., it becomes harder for a developer to produce an app that works consistently across multiple Android handsets.

One would think that Google would learn from all of this and adhere to strict standard but I see the same story repeating itself with tablets. The iPad has been around for almost two years now with the same screen size and resolution in both of it’s iterations- and I’m sure that Apple will stick to the same screen size even if the resolution increases on the third model- much like it did with the iPhone 4.

However, Honeycomb is barely six months old and we’re starting to see the cracks. While strictly launched as a Tegra 2 based 10.1″ tablet with a 1280×800 resolution, we saw LG release their 8.9″ model with a lower screen resolution shortly. Currently, we have a Samsung 8.9″ Tab but with a higher resolution, the Dell Streak which is 7″ and lower in resolution and the upcoming Samsung 7.7″ Galaxy Tab.

So if you’re a developer, you are once again left to wonder: to write for a platform that has sold over 30 million in quantity and has one screen size and resolution or write for one that has sold 6 million but with all these different screen sizes and resolutions. Looking at the Honeycomb optimized applications on Android market, I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Even tablets that have sold a lot less than Android- such as the BlackBerry PlayBook and the HP TocuhPad, have a larger base of applications available and optimized for them. I’m sure that Google is noticing this and the upcoming Ice Cream sandwich will have some tricks up it’s sleeve to automatically scale applications all the way from a 3.5″ Smartphone to a 10.1″ tablet. Lets hope the developers embrace it.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • Moe

    However even Apple/Itunes has a different section for iPad only apps which you must buy separately. It’s hard to keep everything uniform when you’re simply offering an OS, not a range of products. The different options/sizes/specs in Android phones and tablets are both one of its greatest strengths and weaknesses. iOS5 may have given us some new features to play with but the interface is still tedious in comparison to the variety you get from Android.

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