Android fragmentation report suggests app developers should test on Samsung phones first

Mobile network coverage site OpenSignalMaps has created a report on the state of Android and its often bemoaned fragmentation by looking at the statistics of the smartphones that have downloaded its app over a six month period. And it seems that, yes, of course there's fragmentation, but to the benefit of choice.

The study looked at 681,900 devices - phones and tablets - logging each one's manufacturer, model, API (version of Android) and screen size, and while there are some obvious findings, there's a few surprises too.

It comes as no shock that the Samsung Galaxy S II is by far the most prolific smartphone. Of the 3,997 distinct devices more copies of the OSM app were downloaded using a GT-I1900 (SGSII) than any other - 61,389 of them in total (9 per cent).

Amusingly, there were a few unique devices too - not including those that showed up as such due to custom ROMs. One Concorde Tab (a Hungarian 10.1 tablet) was listed, as was a solitary Lemon P1 (an Indian dual SIM phone).

Considering the popularity of the Galaxy handsets per se, it also comes as no surprise that Samsung is the manufacturer listed the most (40 per cent). It's followed closely by HTC, Sony (Sony Ericsson) and Motorola. And, as for Android itself, the fact that the most recent version of Gingerbread 2.3.3+ is the OS installed on the majority of devices (55.4 per cent) is a no brainer, especially as plenty of smartphones are still awaiting an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).

Perhaps the biggest challenge for app developers however, is the hugely variation in screen resolutions. Where the non-rigidity and diversity of screen technologies (3D included) and pixel count are one of the Android market's major selling points, it can be hellish to ensure that a certain application works on a vast majority of devices.

OpenSignalMaps though, with all of the stats in hand, has a simple solution: developers should make sure they test their apps first on Samsung and HTC devices. That way, they can't go far wrong, certainly in appeasing the largest number of owners.

And, without such fragmentation and variety in handset/tablet price points, there'd be less of an opportunity to get an application into the hands of all, young or old, rich or poor. And that can't be bad.

What do you think about the fragmentation of Android? Let us know in the comments below...



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