Comment: Android’s fragmentation additionally occurs to be its core power [Video]

When you hear “Android fragmentation,” we regularly conjure up the negatives, however there may be extra to the cellular OS forks than barely gradual software program updates. Unlike Android, iOS has an end-to-end expertise managed by Apple from begin to end. That signifies that due to iOS, we generally wrongly see fragmentation as a unclean phrase. The factor is, it’s really fairly the alternative on the Android aspect of the fence.

In phrases of expertise and options, fragmentation inside Android can, and may, be thought of an excellent factor. Note how I say “experience and features,” as there are some trade-offs with this fragmentation. Phones not having the newest safety patches is considered one of many issues that we face as fans and homeowners.

But what we do have is new options, true software program, and {hardware} innovation, and a wealth of alternative because of this third-party OEM fragmentation. So with that out of the best way, listed below are 5 stable the explanation why it is best to think about this fragmentation as one of many core strengths of Android.

Subscribe to the official 9to5Google YouTube channel

New options

For probably the most half, skinned or forked variations of Android change your complete cellular OS panorama by being so completely different from Google’s personal imaginative and prescient. There is not any denying that as a Pixel proprietor you get a ton of advantages for sticking with Google. Even so, with Android Q on the very cusp of launch, you might need seen that many options have existed elsewhere first.

Samsung initially led the “feature-set” cost within the early days of Android. And it seems to have labored, as they’ve undoubtedly reaped the advantages fairly extensively. They had been typically the primary so as to add all types of options that we now take as a right in Android wholesale.

It was this willingness to experiment early on, after which the arrogance to push these via overblown advertising campaigns, that now we have seen the South Korean tech large cement its place on the prime of the totem pole globally. It’s due to this that options are a giant a part of what separates OEMs from each other in 2019.

Take for instance the native display recorder. It has been out there on some Huawei and Xiaomi telephones for nearly two years. Native, customizable darkish themes have been out there on OnePlus telephones for some time. Gestures exist on the opposite aspect of the iOS-Android divide, however once more, have been on different third-party skins for a short time, too — though they differ barely for a way they’ve been added to Q.

That’s simply the tip of the iceberg. There are nearly too many to record. If you need an unequalled variety of sheer options or earlier than they’re out there wherever else, then in all probability you received’t be a Pixel.

Software and {hardware} innovation

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 re-visited

Related to this, I personally assume that we’re seeing the actual innovation — for probably the most half at the least — coming from third events. At the second Huawei seems to be main the fail-first-fail-forward bunch. They achieve this by providing nearly unequalled {hardware} after which double stacking the software program with tons of options  — some good, some downright horrible.

Things like reverse wi-fi charging may very well be thought of a gimmick, but we’re seeing manufacturers undertake the characteristic on their units even after a yr. LG launched hands-free controls on their very own LG G8 ThinQ means again at MWC. And it’s price noting that LG wasn’t even the primary so as to add a hands-free management characteristic; they simply took the ball a pair yards additional on. With the Soli chip contained in the upcoming Pixel 4, we may see but extra innovation that has been technically pushed by another person first.

I haven’t even talked about foldable units. Google would possibly assist put together OEMs for folding smartphones, however the onus is on firms like Samsung and Huawei to make them, then make them work — however granted, that half hasn’t gone so effectively up to now.

Tailored expertise

Huawei Android Q EMUI 10 launch

Because one dimension doesn’t match all, it’s comprehensible why manufacturers wish to tweak the software program. It allows them to tailor the expertise to their very own inner imaginative and prescient of how we work together with the {hardware}. But by conserving the core OS intact, they get the entire essential Google Play Services and lots of base options proper out of the gate. This is often the underlying precept of why we see so many Android forks and builds.

In fact, that is simply a part of the equation. OEMs like to assemble knowledge on their clients, too. This is why we find yourself seeing tons of duplicate apps and providers. These are nonetheless as annoying as they’re horrible in most regards. That mentioned, these make for a extra unified expertise that ties the {hardware} and software program collectively extra successfully. There can be a singular promoting level facet to distinctive apps and providers, Bixby or Xiaomi’s MiFit platforms being prime examples.

The differentiation between one machine and the subsequent turns into far more obvious, too. As good as Android One feels and performs, it might make each smartphone so related that there could be no cause to modify from one model to the subsequent. Each little tweak is designed to entice and appeal to, and a few OEMs do higher than others, however it undoubtedly helps to forestall the business from changing into stale — a criticism typically leveled on the iPhone.

OEMs choosing any of Google’s variations of Android additionally means freely giving some aspect of management over the core usability expertise of your followers and patrons. You make the {hardware}, however you possibly can’t considerably alter the software program. It does, nevertheless, imply that Android will run effectively in your machine internals. Having a tailor-made expertise ensures that you simply get the perfect expertise proper out of the field.

The Pixel advantages

Android Fast Share

By permitting everybody else to tinker, improve, and edit, Google is guaranteeing that they’re able to study from the errors of others quite than make them. Take Night Sight, for instance; Google was not the primary to introduce an extended publicity evening pictures mode, however they’ve arguably the very best implementation.

Instead, Google seems to be following Apple’s lead with Android. Allow another person to cleared the path earlier than taking the rules, including some Google magic and making most likely the very best evening pictures mode out there on any smartphone.

This technique permits others to experiment and “fail first” earlier than Google picks up the items and produces or improves upon the unique software program or {hardware} characteristic. The distinction is often in how “integrated” into the remainder of the OS these repurposed options are usually as soon as they attain Pixel telephones.

Again, Apple follows the same mantra and, to be sincere, it actually works for them. So partly, your Pixel cellphone advantages massively with every new full Android launch. Google can permit the business to guide them down the trail after which overtake them with ease. They, too, can construct distinctive options and promoting factors that go well with their imaginative and prescient of the smartphone.


Android is rightly lauded for its wealth of options and customization. Having so many choices at your fingertips and out of the field is a part of why it’s so common. It additionally turned the de facto alternative cellular OS for third-party producers when smartphones exploded onto the market nearly a decade in the past. The factor is, this dominant model of Android simply isn’t the Google model.

The feel and appear additionally differs fairly drastically from one producer to the subsequent. This variation provides you the flexibility to decide on what fits you greatest. Want reverse wi-fi charging? Pick up the P30 Pro, Galaxy S10, or Mate 20 Pro. Want an affordable cellphone that performs effectively and is assured fast software program and safety updates? Pick up a Nokia. For probably the most half, folks will select based mostly upon {hardware}, however you get sure software program advantages from all manufacturers in the marketplace.

Much of the core {hardware} may be very related on most high-end flagship telephones, the actual key distinction is how that’s dealt with by the software program. If you need an Android cellphone, you could have actually unequalled alternative. Maybe not as a lot as up to now, however undoubtedly greater than the competitors.

Why forked Android issues

Android fragmentation

Fragmentation in most contexts inside Android is commonly attributed to model numbers and up to date builds. As far as I’m involved although, if each single Android cellphone ran the identical model of the OS, then your complete image would rightly be thought of extra of a “problem.”

Whether you agree or not, some stage of differentiation is required to make sure that we as followers and shoppers get the absolute best cellular expertise. Fragmentation actually does have advantages, and we genuinely see these throughout units and even OSs — particularly as time passes and tech progresses.

Google has three variations of Android that it has to replace, keep, and push to units and machine producers. The existence of Android One, Android Go, and the Pixel-exclusive Android muddy the “fragmentation” water a little bit. Whether you agree or not, Stock Android simply doesn’t exist like it could have up to now.

Maybe we don’t initially see the advantages of OS fragmentation, however we nearly definitely achieve this additional down the road as soon as the nice parts have been sifted from the pointless or poorly applied. For each characteristic we name a gimmick or silly, there are modifications and inclusions that truly make an actual distinction to our on a regular basis smartphone utilization.

And if all else fails otherwise you merely don’t like all of those additional flavors, then you possibly can at all times go along with the Pixel. Google has developed the Pixel line to be a very good cellphone proper throughout the board. It’s true that most individuals don’t purchase a tool for a single characteristic.

That mentioned, in the event you can supply them a cohesive expertise that has “enough” options, then you’re certain to win folks over.
While we do want OEMs to do extra to maintain our telephones updated with safety, regardless of the way you have a look at it, fragmentation is in some ways really considered one of Android’s true core strengths.

More on Android:


Facebook Comments
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time