Android Fragmentation Predicted To Squeeze Out Independent Developers

Neil Hughes | AppleInsider | March 5, 2013

The plethora of distinct mobile device models on the market, driven largely by the popularity of Google's Android platform, is making it more difficult for independent software developers to reach a wide audience, new research confirms.

In a post to the official Flurry Blog, Dr. Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD, used stats from the mobile analytics firm to show how difficult it can be for developers to offer compatibility. Based on the data, if a developer wanted to have their application available to 80 percent of the smartphone market, the software would need to be compatible with 156 different device models.

Of course this issue, known as "fragmentation," is largely driven by Google's Android platform, a mobile operating system that appears on a number of devices from a variety of hardware makers, many of which lock their handsets and prevent users from upgrading to the latest version. And some companies, such as Amazon, have forked the Android open-source platform to make their own unique operating system, further complicating matter.

Because of this, Gordon said indie developers may be becoming an "endangered species," and she suggested the market for app development could be "ripe for consolidation." "We expect a future in which app developers are less frequently individuals with a creative idea and a laptop, and more frequently companies designed to develop, produce and distribute apps at scale," Gordon said...