Android Fragmentation

In iOS, there are just two screen sizes and three resolutions. In the Android world we have to accommodate what is essentially an unlimited number of screen sizes and resolutions.

Android fragmentation affects developers and app users alike. Every year or so fragmentation rears it ugly head in my little world. The trigger is usually a new version of Android and/or a popular new device with an usual screen size and/or resolution. This time around it’s Jellybean and the new Google Nexus line of devices.

The effect of fragmentation on small-time developers like myself is app bashing on the public review section of Google play:
app bashing

This fellow gives my app a 1 star rating with a snarky comment about wanting his twenty bucks back. Instead of simply contacting me, he pisses all over my work. And yes I take it personally, this is my life’s work.

Turns out the issue was caused by the user himself when he changed the device font size setting to “Huge”. I wish I had a crystal ball. Six months ago, when the app was last updated, such a setting was not possible. I had no idea that Google would add such a silly font size setting to their upcoming version of Android.

This is what I hate about the Google market, or Play store, or whatever they will call it next month. Anybody with a chip on their shoulder can post an anonymous comment bashing your app. And I have no way of contacting this person to help, because comments are anonymous.

Industry watchers say that Android fragmentation is probably going to get worse. Here is a nice graphic showing the current state of Android fragmentation:

Android fragmentation

Android fragmentation map

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