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Android ecosystem, fragmented and vibrant!

OpenSignal, whose mission to map cell phone signal around the globe, has released some jaw-dropping numbers on the state of the Android ecosystem!

The company analysed data from 682,000 devices for the purposes of this analysis. Do read the original report for its interactive graphics and additional content!

Android Ecosystem, in words

* 11,868 distinct Android devices today, an increase of ~200%, from 3,997 in 2012
* Samsung rules with 47.5% share of the Android ecosystem
* There are 8 Android versions still in use
* 37.9% of Android users are still on Jelly Bean

Android Fragmentation, in pictures

Android device fragmentation, July 2013
Android device fragmentation, July 2013

Android brand fragmentation, July 2013
Android brand fragmentation, July 2013

Android OS fragmentation, July 2013
Android OS fragmentation, July 2013

Android screen size fragmentation, July 2013
Android screen size fragmentation, July 2013



What does it all mean?

OpenSignal rightly points out that Android fragmentation can be seen as both a boon and a bane.

The pessimistic will bemoan the development challenges posed by such a wide variety of OS versions, screen sizes, device manufacturers, etc.

There is certainly an element of truth in this. Banks & other financial institutions will find it extremely difficult and time-consuming to provide a consistent user experience in face of all these challenges.

The optimist, on the other hand, will note that the fragmented marketplace allows them to have a much greater global reach than iOS! Consumers will surely find the plethora of choices – size, price, features – very attractive.

The very reason that Android has become the dominant global smartphone OS means that financial institutions can ill-afford to ignore it.

My guess is that the issue of fragmentation will be resolved in the near future. The reasons this would happen are as follows:

* Number of vendors and their offerings will reduce due to market forces
* Google & partners will improve OS update / upgrade process to address the security issues
* There will be diminishing returns from continued forking of Android

Having used both iOS and Android devices over the past several years, I am very happy to see both the OSes beautifully address the needs of their target audiences. As they say, “the more the merrier”!

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