back to article Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

Before CEO Tim Cook handed over the iOS 7–introduction chores to other Apple execs at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference, he took a moment to slag Android and its OS fragmentation in an appeal for the hearts and minds of developers. "This version fragmentation is terrible for developers, as many of you know," he told …


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  1. M Gale

    CEO of company slags off major competitor

    Well who would think that would happen?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

      Jobs spent much more time during these events talking about how great Apple stuff was, and mostly left insults against competitors up to the users. Apple may have poked fun at their competition with stuff like the ads with the Mac guy and the PC guy, but they never said the kind of stuff Cook said, which was basically "you suck, neener neener neener!"

      While I'm sure this plays well with the audience at the WWDC, it makes Cook and Apple look small when he's quoted in the media.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

        "it makes Cook and Apple look small when he's quoted in the media."

        Exactly, just like MS, Apple should realise they're in a bad place when they have to spend a chunk of time explaining (in their clearly unbiased opinion) how bad someone else's OS is instead of how good theirs is.

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

        "Jobs spent much more time during these events talking about how great Apple stuff was"

        ...and this is exactly how you should do it. Jobs may have had his faults, but Apple's fortunes did turn around when he was there and negative marketing (criticising competitors) is a defeatist way to operate and is usually a sign of weakness, poor judgement and lousy marketing.

        Most products and systems have advantages or disadvantages compared to other, more so when the operating environments are different - and don't forget that while iOS and Android nominally are similar their operating environments are different: Apple have a tight reign on the hardware, OS and applications where Android is much looser and open. [This isn't an argument as to which is "right", just stating facts - both approaches have major positive and negative points].

        So when this guy starts to criticise a competitor like this (negative marketing) then it's an indication of weakness in him and likely his products too. Would you rather deal with somebody who is positive about their own products or somebody who is busy being negative about a competitor's where they should be telling you about theirs?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

      Pointing out facts is now seen as slagging off?

      If he was telling porkies I'd agree, but he is in fact telling it as it is, however unpalatable Android users find it.

      Though not the users fault but Android phones generally fail to get updated because either the manufacturer or service provider fail to deliver and only give the latest versions with a new phone. Those that do upgrade, google phone excepted, get flawed updates stuffed with junk from the service provider.

      1. Mark .

        Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

        Apple users are more fanatical about how much they like Apple things - shock, news at 11. I don't think that means a product is better. If I love my Android phone, but also note there are some things I'd criticise; but someone else loves their feature phone, and is ignorant of the things that other phones do better, does that mean the latter is better? Better at marketing, maybe.

        The Android average will be pulled down by two factors:

        * People who buy lower end cheaper phones. Although just as many (more in fact) high end Android phones are bought as iphones, the lower end will still drag down any averages.

        * Niche platforms always do better for users being fanatical, because a dominant platform like Android is also used by all the people who don't give a damn about operating system, platform, smartphones or whatever, and so don't feel enthusiastic about it. Back in the early 90s when the Amiga was a popular home computer, but also a computer that the mainstream users themselves would criticise, I predicted back then the same thing would happen to PCs when they became popular in homes. And look today - I was right, people moan about PCs, but the minority of Mac users are still fanatical (and as the Amiga userbase shrunk in the 90s, the users that remained were more likely to be the ones who'd praise rather than criticise their platform).

        And the other charts are misleading too. Since when do I have to code specifically for say, Android 4.0, but not 4.1? It's easy to just set a minimum requirement. Even if I limit my apps to 4.0 or above, there are still more users than all IOS users. Problems with fragmentation are more about different devices to have to test on - but with numerous iphones, ipads, ipad minis, and even rumours of a 12" ipad, that's a problem with IOS too now.

        And for download revenue? Yep, Apple is expensive. I'd prefer the platform with lower costs for software, and more freely available software. What next - are Windows users going to criticse Linux because "software revenue" is lower for Linux??

    3. Shagbag

      Android Winning

      ...enough said.

      1. ukgnome

        Re: Android Winning

        You're not wrong, have you seen the improved unlock screen.

        It looks remarkably like a jellybean format. I know you can't do much with the digital format of the clock, but same font, same position. Even my Apple friends have joked they are using a Samsung Apple hybrid.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

      I think slagging off someone else is pathetic and weak. It's IMHO tragic if you think you need that, instead of trusting your audience to draw its own conclusions.

      I may be fairly happy with Apple products, but I am certainly not impressed with Tim Cook's new leadership. The time to give the guy a break because he's new at it has passed, and IMHO he's not up to snuff. He suffers as much of the lieutenant syndrome as Ballmer, only has a different style. His bullying is more the continuation of this stupid trivia patent war and now this even more stupid comparison game.

      Show what is better, don't give competitors airtime. The latter only tells your audience you're worried about them. If you don't trust your own products to speak for themselves you really should go and do something else, like selling hamburgers. I fear that Apple risks sliding back to where they were before Jobs came back (slowly). That would be a stupid waste of ability and market capital.

      Lose this guy.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

      Quite clearly anyone that believes this tripe is a cretin.

      Apple play games. They have 4 different versions of ios6 in reality, all with different features,but his fancy chart pretends they are all the same.

      What he also fails to mention is android API levels are very static. Targeting ICS and newer gets you 70 something percent off all devices without no real loss in API features ( most are in the backwards compatibility libraries and there is action bar Sherlock to support gingerbread)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Targeting ICS and newer gets you 70 something percent off all devices

        Making a web app allows you to target more than that. Something like 100% of android devices, 100% of iOS devices, Windows phones and Blackberries. So stick your api behind a javascript library extension and shut up. The world doesn't care which OS you hide the web behind, just get out of the way and let us get some stuff done!

      2. g e

        Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

        That'll be the Apple Cultists then (usually AC here)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

      I think Tim Cook should stop Trolling. Does he think developers like releasing apps after years of development for lasts years toy?

  2. Metrognome


    The sheer fact that he now sees the need to actually sell iOS to the devs is evidence that it's in trouble...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fail...

      Oh you are soooo right, they are struggling are they not.......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fail...

        > Oh you are soooo right, they are struggling are they not.......

        Erm, well yes, they are certainly slipping.

        What people were really looking for was some genuine innovation. What they got was some tweaking of already existing products.

        Jobsy would have had something brand new to show the fanbois and fangals. He was an arse, but he knew what the word innovation means.

    2. Christopher Edwards

      Re: Fail...


      The clue is in the D in WWDC

  3. Daniel Palmer

    Nothing new to show then

    "Ugh ugh the Galaxy S4 has a ton of stuff we have no hope of integrating like NFC (our antenna guys suck) but look people are still using Android 2.3 3 years after it was released instead of buying the new shiny all the time. Don't they know they could buy the latest iPhone every release and get no new features?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing new to show then

      Yes the features like on the S4 would be great, if they were actually useful or worked properly.

      1. Daniel Palmer

        Re: Nothing new to show then

        Maybe you aren't holding it right.. oh wait, that wasn't a Samsung handset was it?

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Nobody got fired for buying IBM

    There is no fragmentation in the MVS world

    If everyone sticks to running IBM software on IBM mainframes we can ignore all this PC business

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Nobody got fired for buying IBM

      If everyone sticks to running IBM software on IBM mainframes...

      Then we'll all have to wear nuclear-powered, super-reinforced, anti-gravity trousers - in order to be able to carry them around...

  5. Gil Grissum


    50% more iPhone use than Android? Right. But Android is outselling iPhone and yet more iPhone users are using their phones than Android. Sure.

    1. ThomH

      Re: RIght...

      I think he just meant that the average amount of time an iPhone user uses his or her device for is 50% greater than that an Android owner does.

      1. silent_count

        Re: RIght...

        I don't think the fact that it takes iPhone users twice as long to get their phone to do what they want it to would be something for Mr Cook to be smug about.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RIght...

          Dear silent_count: "... it takes iPhone users twice as long to get their phone to do what they want it to ..."

          Yawn... Your knee-jerk anti-Apple silliness is tiring.

          Grow up, m'boy, grow up, and provide some useable data rather than foolish, unsupported trash-talking.

          You bore me – along with anyone else who prefers factual analysis to simple-minded snottiness.

          1. frank ly

            @AC 05:32 Re: RIght...

            "You bore me - along with anyone else who prefers factual analysis to simple-minded snottiness."

            I prefer factual analysis over simple-minded snottiness. So you would find me boring?

          2. g e

            Re: RIght...

            AC - Apple Cultist

            See?? It's true I tell ya!

        2. xyz

          Re: RIght...

          So that would be spun as....and in the stylee of the latests iPhoe ads..."Every day, iPhone users get 50% more free time."

          That bloke should have had a band playing on the stage and named the new iOS, Titanic.

      2. fandom

        Re: RIght...

        "I think he just meant that the average amount of time an iPhone user uses his or her device for is 50% greater than that an Android owner does."

        So, it only takes ios users double the time to do something compared to Android users?

        Hey! Those fanboys are getting better at using computers, next time they may even be capable of preordering online instead of queuing.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Vince

      Re: RIght...

      Well I guess it depends why that is...

      Maybe iPhone uses spend 50% more time on it because it takes longer to do anything on it. It's a nonsense statistic as presented of course.

      Fact is I have many Android devices in my house, and most of them are only used for a few minutes a day. Why? Because I'm using Android to power smart remotes and so on, so I just don't *need* to use them all day. I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons and probably more widespread than my example though.

      The "uses it more" statistic had no useful context to determine what that meant and so it means absolutely nothing. Like most statistics.

    4. I J Ellis

      Re: RIght...

      Have to ask, what exactly constitutes 'use' in this context?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has yet to be proven...

    "Fragmentation amongst Linux distributions will be the killer blow", a critical comment which actually holds some truth because setting up software on Debian can be a completely different ballgame from doing the same on SuSE. But Linux is still going strong, ever so popular. Maybe other people can see clear signs as to why the fragmentation is extremely bad, I sure don't.

    What about open source software as a whole? The fact alone that you can simply cast the magical "fork" work (and issue a quick cp command when no one is looking) was also reason for complaints. Software projects would fragment, this causing damage to the entire species.

    I think that the OpenOffice project (deliberately mentioned) showed us otherwise. I think it's fair to say that the forking and fragmenting of LibreOffice may very well have saved the entire project.

    If this really about a fair warning to all potential developers? Or a deliberate (and very transparent) scheme to put your own environment better into the picture?

    A bit lame, don't you think?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: It has yet to be proven...

      Re Fragmentation

      a) is it really THAT difficult to have software supporting 2 or 3 versions of Android?

      b) even if my software only work on 1 of the most popular android version (which each have approx 30% of the android install base each), 30% of all android phones is still more than 90% of all iOS phones and that gap is getting bigger.

      I would think that as a developer, the biggest draw of developing for iOS over android is that iOS users are more willing to pay for their apps

      1. dogged

        Re: It has yet to be proven...

        Partly. Also iOS users are less likely likely to be innate tinkerers who will crack your Java and post it free download sites. And less likely to think "This app sucks, I'll write a better one" and actually do so.

        iOS has significant benefit in terms of ease of use for users. The drawback is the extremely high barriers to entry (cost a Mac to develop on, need to learn the filth that is Objective-C) for developers.

      2. mmeier

        Re: It has yet to be proven...

        Let's say I support only the "two big ones" (most used 2.x and 4.x). Assume I want to use some of the better 4.x UI features like Fragments I have to support two software trees since 2.x needs add-on libraries for that. Google overhauled the UI and added some of the Android 3 (tablet only) tree. The also reworked the guidelines

        And that assumes I do not have to support multi-user (4.2, quite rare still)

        And WebApps are a so-so solution. Either need extra libraries like PhoneGap or they can not access the phone functions. Not sure if PG can work with special features like the Note series provides. And the LookAndFeel is not Android/iOS/WP8 but "something foreign"

        1. Daniel Palmer

          Re: It has yet to be proven...

          >I have to support two software trees since 2.x needs add-on libraries for that.

          I don't think the support library actually requires you have 2 code bases as the support versions of Fragment etc work just find on 4.x. You could also use ActionBarSherlock to do all of the grunt work for you. It does the right thing depending on the SDK version it's running on. If you google hard enough (actually not very hard) you might find libraries that will help you out.. who would have thunk it?

          >And that assumes I do not have to support multi-user (4.2, quite rare still)

          How much extra work is needed to support multiuser? 4.2 isn't as rare as you think but the multiuser support isn't as hard as you think.

          >Either need extra libraries like PhoneGap or they can not access the phone functions.

          Or use ActionBarSherlock to deal with the support library for you? I think your issue with actually doing your research is bigger than any issue you could have with using the support library.

          1. mmeier

            Re: It has yet to be proven...

            Maybe you are right these days. Still it IS additional effort and / or libraries. It WAS a major problem with libraries a good year ago when I was last forced to program for it at the job (never would do that in privat)

            Thankfully company dropped the Android platform for Win8/x86 where tablet pc are concerned and dropped phone support completely. Me, I dropped the last Android device (Note smartie) in the (e)bay recently. Featurephone and a spanking new TPT2 do the job a lot better

    2. Bernardo Sviso

      Re: It has yet to be proven...

      "Fragmentation" seems to have broadened into such a catch-all term, that it's become nearly useless.

      Back when they talked about "fragmentation" in the Unix world, it was a problem, because inter-operability between and porting applications between different, *proprietary* Unix OSes was a real hindrance. And was born... POSIX.

      Then they started talking about how terrible "Linux fragmentation" was, and how crippling it would be to the success of Linux outside of hobbyist's garages / the parents' basement. Of course, in a FOSS (ie. Free/Open-Source Software) environment, this "silo effect" just didn't have much relevance -- there was no proprietary, arbitrary, artificial obstacle to interoperability or portability. The Linux "silos" turned out to be just adjacent rooms along the same corridors.

      Now would-be detractors are spouting the same sort of nonsense about "Android fragmentation".

      But the correct word, or at least a much better one, would be "diversity" (or maybe "adaptability, or simply "variation"). And funnily enough, this diversity turns out to actually be an advantage -- coping with a diverse OS environment and varied hardware exposes bad code, and strongly favours solid. robust coding and development practices.

  7. Jolyon Smith

    iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

    Could also mean that iOS forces it's users to spend 50% longer using it to achieve the same ends and that Android is less intrusive and a more frictionless UX. Comparing my experience as an Android user with my iOS using partner, this would certainly seem to be the more likely explanation.

    But who needs objective, meaningful analysis when you have numbers to throw around, eh Mr Cook ? :)

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

      Indeed so. Or it could mean that Android users have a life outside of their phone. Ain't stats fun?


    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

      Android users have widgets and don't need to open apps to see the news weather and bus times.

      Want to tell Tim cook that. He quite clearly is an idiot if he can't work this simple thing out.

      1. Mark .

        Re: iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

        Indeed, and don't even need to check a widget to see bus times. Android will just automatically tell me it's time to leave, and Google maps will show me which buses to take. True, iphones have this too - thanks to Google - but the point is the survey is flawed if this extremely useful feature is only counted for the 5-10 seconds I look at my phone, and deemed hundreds of times less important than an hour of staring at Facebook.

        I use my phone 24/7. Just because it sits in my pocket doesn't mean it's not useful for that time.

    3. g e

      Re: iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

      Or Android users work 33% harder than AC's (Apple Cultists) with much less hipster-esque cocking around.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 screens sizes

    Fragmentation happens. The actual pain caused to me (as a mobile dev) is purely based on how many different screen sizes i have to make for.

    Just like with the web in the olden days, you make it work for as many people as possible.

    Currently, iPad mini's are really annoying due to their different screen shape (square, not rectangular meaning things dont scale well from a long thing rectanglular iphone 5).

    Also mr cook, very few developers work only on iOS "or" Android,

    1. ThomH

      Re: 5 screens sizes

      The iPad Mini has the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the big iPad (and similar to that of most sizes of paper). Though that does still differ from the 16:9 of the latest iPhone and the 3:2 of the previous ones.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: 5 screens sizes

      Personally I've found the annoyance of different device and screen aspects and resolutions more annoying on iOS than on Android. Not that the wide range of screen resolutions on Android isn't an issue, but it feels like I have better inbuilt tools to deal with one application and multiple resolutions and ratios than in iOS.

      Yes, there are different versions of Android to deal with - currently two main ones unless you want to be cutting edge. But even that's not too hard as you can target the cutting edge and have fallback to the older versions as the support libraries work quite nicely (at times :-) ). It does require testing but if you develop applications properly and cleanly separate functionality from interface (Model - View - Controller) then even if you have entirely different interfaces it is not always that difficult to develop, after all, many of us develop apps that can be operated in landscape or portrait mode and this kind of model is normal to us.

      1. Mark .

        Re: 5 screens sizes

        I agree. It also helps I think that Android was designed from the outset to scale to different sizes, resolutions and aspect ratios. E.g., there are 4 different "sizes" that one can design UIs for, and developers have always known to test for a range of configurations (which can be done in the emulator).

        IOS was sold on the idea of "it's easier, because there's only one device to develop for". Unfortunately it's been a slippery slope:

        * 2010, ipad. Now two devices, different sizes and aspect ratios, but still claimed better than Android. Okay. Though this led to the myth that on IOS you can develop for two screen sizes separately, despite Android always allowing for 4 screen sizes...

        * 2010, iphone finally gets a sensible resolution. Hacked to work by saying applications can just double width and height.

        * Various changes to ipad resolutions, leading to increasing number of configurations that need testing.

        * 2012, new iphone with different size and a new aspect ratio, leading to "black bars".

        * 2012, new ipad with different size.

        So now we're at 4 screen sizes, 3 aspect ratios, at least 4 resolutions. And now there are rumours of a 12" ipad on the way...

  9. Frumious Bandersnatch


    According to the bar graph in the second picture, Microsoft's Windows Phone users are more satisfied with their thingies than Android users.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Oh noes! The Eadon Virus is catching!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "The Eadon Virus is catching"

        You guys are like, what? 10 years old?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:You guys are like, what? 10 years old?

          Yeah, almost exactly like that. In fact pretty much every post on this article has been stupid pro-apple shills or stupid anti-apple shills. To react like a child is appropriate. Poo face!

      2. FartingHippo


        @ 1st AC

        I think you missed the double 'fail'.

        You are not not a moron.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

      Well the real revolution will come, once there is a common SoC platform. Something which enables you to use the same image on all devices. That way fragmentation wouldn't exist anymore, and the new platform would take on the market immediately, just like the IBM-PC did.

      The real problem with fragmentation is that there are no updates. So if a security critical error gets detected, you won't get a patch for it, resulting in millions of unpatched devices. (Of course Apple has been known for not bothering to patch at all)

    2. Davie Dee

      Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

      Without wanting to get in to an argument about this, your logic is flawed.

      android is popular yes, but that has nothing to do with fragmentation. The most consistent complaint there is on Android is that from one device to another you may have a totally different experience to the point where simple apps may not even work. You also have update fragmentation where the OEMs / Carriers cant be bothered to update the OS or choose not to. In their minds that is logical, why update an old phone when you can get them to buy a new one!

      So while fragmentation may suite the OEMs and Carriers, it sure as hell doesn't do much for the end users.

      So why do people flock to Android? this is actually pretty simple stuff, its cheap and "everyone" has one, it has an image that's hard to shake and its cheap, in fact I would be interested in seeing the data for consistent Google play usage per device, not sales or initial Google Play activation, because I suspect many of the "users" are sitting in land fill sites or on the way to Africa.

      the platform has its uses and some of the phones are exceptionally good, possibly the best hardware out there, but the large majority of the SKUs made are steaming piles of dog turd.

      That is the fundamental difference between iOS / WP and Android. iOS is always consistent because its a locked down spec sold by one player, WP has very tight specs also giving high levels of consistency, both are more expensive to produce and both have a stigma attached to it. All of which adds up to less(er) popular devices leaving Android to be more popular which has sweet bugger all to do with fragmentation

      1. Daniel Palmer

        Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

        >to the point where simple apps may not even work.

        All devices that ship with Google's apps should have passed Google's testkit that insures that isn't the case.

        It would be interesting if you could actually name a simple app that doesn't work..

        >Google play usage per device, not sales or initial Google Play activation

        The Google Play version stats are based on devices that have been active on the market in a certain timeframe and not activations.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

          And why do OEM's flock to Android and not to other OS's? a) because Nokia dropped those OS's (symbian, Meego), calling them "burning platforms" but also, b) because Android is open source and can be easily differentiated and adapted to suit. Android gives OEM's power to adapt it, which is, in essence what fragmentation is.

          They flock to it because it's "free" to license and fairly easy to obtain.

          If you were creating a device now - or any time in the last 3-4 years - then you had limited choices for an OS. Symbian was/is clearly out of its depth for touch-screen, MS want lots of money for WinMo and neither Apple or RIM were going to let you have their OS. That left you with two choices: Develop your own OS or use Android.

          It's simple business sense, you license something "off the shelf" because it's cheaper and quicker than doing your own full OS development and once you've decided to do that, it makes much more sense to go for the one that doesn't cost anything to license, particularly if you don't have any pretensions about making a world changing device and just want to shift boxes.

          HTC and Motorola gave Android momentum - if they'd had a suitable touch screen OS of their own the story might have been different - and Samsung jumped on the band-wagon as soon as it became apparent that Bada had been crushed in the stampede.

          In 2007 Apple showed the world that smartphones could be made usable. In 2008 HTC and Android let us see that they could also be affordable for the masses and that's what drove the take-up, not because people wanted open source operating systems on their phones, that's a geek fantasy. What people wanted was something that worked as well as the iPhone, but at a fraction of the cost.

          At the end of the day Android was always going to have the biggest OS market share because it was always going to end up on the cheapest devices, all manufacturers sell more of their cheap devices than their expensive ones, that's just normal business.

          In less than five years time Android will be the mobile equivalent to Windows on the desktop with 90% market share.

    3. Vince

      Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

      I agreed with most of your post about the fragmentation until you slated Windows Phone.

      Actually Windows Phone works pretty well on very limited hardware, which is why there are increasingly "landfill" options coming out from Nokia (the only people really making Win Phones if we're honest apart from HTC).

      And the Windows Phone UX is actually mostly very good - I was surprised. I haven't got an WinPho 8 device yet, but I mostly use Android (see other posts) but also have a blackberry Z10. The Blackberry Z10 has the best smoothness of operation and is a very well thought out business capable OS while we're at it - in fact there are quite a lot of IOS7 features that looks like they were taken straight from the Blackberry OS.

      And fragmentation can be useful and Android certainly has enabled lots of stuff - like the kindle fires, nooks, various embedded devices, powers smart watches, remotes, small more "traditional" format computers and so on. IOS7 is intentionally constrained to those very specific form factors. It has benefits, but it also has downsides.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

      Yep, fragmentation is sooooo good the Desktop Linux is flatling at about 1-1.25% of market share. FFS even on the server where one or two players dominate Linux' marketshare is stagnating. I very much doubt if any distro of Linux exceeds that of one of the Unix shops.


      Most people here now read your rants as a source of amusement

      1. Bernardo Sviso

        Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

        Actually, Linux is doing well pretty much every where, from cell-phones to PVRs, to data centres, to super computers -- just not on the consumer desktop.

        In short, Linux has done very well in every arena, except one particular market -- the one in which a particular major corporation blatantly abused its effective monopoly to bar Linux from significant participation in that market.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

          Android is NOT Linux so it's not doing too well on mobile 'phones either

    5. Mark .

      Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

      I agree with your post on the idea of fragmentation being good, but just to nitpick about your three categories - there are "feature phones", which really have the same features as smart phones but tend to be lower end (and are certainly not dumb phones).

      "Win Pho 8 has the biggest marketing budget of them all."

      They can't be spending it well though - I see adverts for iphones one way or another (often indirect, e.g., product placement) multiple times a day, compared to at best a weekly WP advert.

      "it needs expensive hardware to run it at an acceptable speed"

      As someone who's neither owned a low end Android or WP device - do you have evidence for this claim?

      "which is justified for the former due to the huge wallet-waving install base."

      An awful lot of "apps" are free, e.g., apps offered for a website or company's service. Yet we still see plenty more for iphones, for some reason.

    6. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: The alternative is having to write software from scratch for a single platform

      No, the alternative is decent browser integration and web apps that work across devices and platforms.

  11. xantastic
    Thumb Up

    Something good coming out of this ...

    I don't recall ever seeing the distribution of iOS versions before - I believe it was previously unpublished. Would like to heartily thank Mr. Cook for finally giving some bloody stats so I can tell clients that want to support iOS 5 to ... reconsider.

    1. ratfox

      Re: Something good coming out of this ...

      On one hand, there are still 5% on iOS 5; this might be more than people want to ignore. On the other hand, a large chunk is going to move to iOS 7, so the statistics are already out of date.

  12. hungee

    iOS upgraded?

    My dad has an iPad 1 and my mum has a 3gs and these cannot upgrade past iOS 4.6 or something similar. I call bullshit on the 6% stat for non iOS 6 phones. That or most iTHINGYS crap themselves after 2-3 years...

    Either way... I call bullshit.

    Also. Android 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 are virtually the same kernel afaik. Should count them as one.

    This was a weak WWDC from Apple.

    1. Daniel Palmer

      Re: iOS upgraded?

      >Android 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 are virtually the same kernel afaik.

      If you're talking about Linux kernel versions.. That doesn't actually matter too much.

      >Should count them as one.

      4.1 has some features that 4.0 doesn't like some video acceleration stuff in libstagefright IIRC. 4.2 has the multi user stuff but it's mostly the same stuff to the user.

      I basically only see there being two groups of Android devices; 2.2 and 2.3 devices and 4.x. It's not hard to support 2.x devices if you are careful. You can actually put most of the 4.x UI into your application and have it look exactly like it would on 4.0+. Does make your APK at least ~15MB though ;).

      If your app is based around something like NFC that wasn't officially in 2.x then there isn't much point supporting anything but 4.0+.

  13. Brennan Young

    Fragmentation of Xcode and its documentation

    ...makes it hard to develop iOS apps too. Docs (especially tutorials) are rarely in sync with the latest version which invariably doesn't run on version -2 or sometimes version -1 of the current Mac OS. This is fragmentation too, and it's well within their power to prevent, and yes it hurts developers. Apple's third party developers suffer from Stockholm syndrome.

  14. jxp

    It's our money!

    "We paid out five billion of that in just the last year."

    There was me thinking that it was the Apps that made money and Apple take a very hefty commision.

    Apparently it's Apple's money which they share with the developers.

    We must all bow down before the wise and generous Apple.

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The Windows PC ecosystem has always been fragmented but it hasn't put off developers. Microsoft have several flavours of one version of Windows for a start (basic,home, pro, ultimate etc) and different versions being supported at the same time (XP, Vista, 7, 8 and server) and lots of different speeds of CPU, amounts memory, screen size variations. Yet it hasn't stopped Windows becoming the dominate OS for PCs.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      It was mentioned in the OS X part of the keynote - with some pride - that there had been a 35% uptake of Mountain Lion in the last year.

      It seems that fragmentation is a good thing for Apple OS , but bad in competitor's products.

    2. mmeier

      Because the system neatly hides those differences. Yes, the new versions have added abilities - but the old API is still there and still works. Yes, servers have special skills - but no person with a three digit IQ one uses a server as a client and vice versa.

      Sure the better versions have added capabilities - but they are mostly irrelevant to end user software since the system hides them well. Properly written software does not care if the HDD is encrypted, the box gets authentification from an ActiveDirectory instead of locally etc. Speach recognition is a nice to have for some jobs but the way it is implemented is transparent, not part of the end user software. No need to program against a special API

      Screen size does not matter much. The vast majority of Windows units has at least 1024x768 for decades and that is the "initial size" for many programs. One of the reasons the little 1024x600 cripples aka Netbooks died. And using a bigger screen has not been a problem for Windows for at least a decade

      The main difference between Win XP (the lowest NT-line platform sensible to support) and Android 2.3 is that XP already was a stable mature OS with user accounts, proper access control and a capabel graphics subsystem and UI libraries that can use all the stuff a modern box offers(1). Stuff that has not changed much (if at all) for a user program since than. Windows has done changes in other areas post XP.

      Android 2.3 OTOH lacked a lot of those / the latter versions added tons of features (like "proper" tablet support). So choosing 2.3 as a baseline either forces you to use additional libraries/tools/workarounds - or to not use quite a few features.

      The only stuff that needs to know the exact version and variant is admin level stuff. And the MS internal one "knows" while external software is rarely used by the average end user

      (1) Pens need a add-on package aka tablet edition but even that is compatible to Vista and above

  16. JayTee

    Silly comparisons

    There seems to be no shortage of dorks who draw a comparison between 'Android' and 'iPhone'. Grow a brain people. One is a device and the other is an OS.

    So if you're saying 'there are more installs of Android on the 100 odd devices capable of running it, versus the few models of iPhone' then you'd probably be right. But if you take the signature devices like the Galaxy S2 - S4 versus the iPhone 3GS - 5, you're not even close. Pound for pound, iOS is superior.

    And for all the fandroids who insist on giving us the 'emperors new clothes' speech about buying iDevices, we pay the extra for the level of quality that comes with the product. In the case of Android devices, it's often a case of 'buy cheap, pay dear'. For development, I own both iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 and the iPhone never crashes. Whereas an unmodified and fairly empty S3 crashes regularly and without good reason.

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Silly comparisons

      we pay the extra for the level of quality that comes with the product

      Quality maybe, but longevity not, I guess.

      Save the Earth! *

      As for the S3 get it tested, my friend has one and it never crashes.

      * Only kidding, I lust after the next upgrade same as (nearly) everyone.

    2. BlinkenLights

      Re: Silly comparisons

      People are comparing 'Android' and 'iOS' as found on the 'iPhone' and 'iPad', so who's actually the dork?

      To add to the anecdotal 'evidence'... I have an iPhone 4 (still on iOS 5) and a Galaxy S3 (on stock 4.1.2). The iPhone has crashed at least twice in the past two years. The S3 has never crashed in the six months I've owned it.

    3. VinceH

      Re: Silly comparisons

      "Whereas an unmodified and fairly empty S3 crashes regularly and without good reason."

      That's not fair - mine has never crashed. What am I doing wrong, please?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly comparisons

      "For development, I own both iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 and the iPhone never crashes. Whereas an unmodified and fairly empty S3 crashes regularly and without good reason." this is a case of 'your mileage may vary" as I've had both have froze in the middle of a call, needing a hard reset.

    5. Mark .

      Most popular smartphone device is a Nokia

      But "iPhone" isn't a device, unless you're really talking about the 2007 model. It's a product range - and therefore fairly compared against, e.g., the Samsung Galaxy range (which massively outsells it).

      Alternatively we might compare operating systems (and yes, you can include tablets too if you like). Again, Android wins.

      Or we can compare by company - Samsung wins.

      Comparing by individual devices models though makes no sense. As I say, "the iphone" isn't a model, you're now talking about say, "iphone 4S". If one cake shop sells 101 cakes a day, and another sells 100 cakes, plus another 100 cakes with cherry on top, only a fool would try to spin the former as more popular based on the individual model.

      But if you really want to compare individual models, okay. The S3 was the most popular device (beating any iphone, Q3 2012). And the most popular smartphone of all time is the 2009-released Symbian powered Nokia 5230. Sorry, no iphone device comes anywhere close.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple's App approval process is 'terrible for developers'"

    Unless things changed, as an iOS user I remember some apps taking ages to be updated while Apple reviewed them and decided if they should be allowed or not. I don't think its cheap to get started as an iOS app developer either if you include the price of buying a Mac and yearly fee.

    Android development tools are free and the registration fee was only $25. I don't think the fragmentation is hurting Android or its developers that much at all.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I watched the keynote and from what i saw they spent much more time showing the 'new' features (many seen on Android before yesterday, but what appear well implemented) than dissing any competitor.

    I wouldn’t necessarily call it dissing either, I would call it banter and then the Android and iOS 'crowd' getting too sensitive. As always happens. iOS 7 looks like a good improvement over iOS 6 and I’m looking forward to having it on my iPhone. Equally, I’m looking forward to getting the next release of Android on my nexus 10 and in addition I’m looking forward to finding a tech blog to read that has non-biased authors, which seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

  19. Carl Fletcher

    What's the rule... "never mention the competition"? The fact no mention was made of Apple at Google IO kindof speaks for itself doesn't it? Apple worried...

  20. We're all in it together

    Scientific research states

    Those who use Apple maps to get to a destination tend to use their phones twice as long as the nearest competitor. So Mr Cook is correct. I'm still trying to find Birmingham on mine.

  21. Nelbert Noggins

    Is the iOS figure that incredible? People seem to be arguing that Android phones are outselling iPhones.... but don't iPods also run iOS?

    How many iPods have been sold that are now running iOS6?

    Anyone who unquestioningly believes when company X produces statistics showing their own product/company/whatever is the most popular/cost effective/blah shouldn't be allowed to handle sharp things in-case they hurt themselves.

    What would be more interesting is the actual figures instead of %s. I was once told in statistics you use % if the numbers are too close. The cosmetics companies understand this... what looks better... 50 people rated us better than the competition or 75% of those surveyed?

    What would be more interesting to see would be having to do product reveals to an audience who prefer competitor products and not the faithful. Then you know if you've done something truly amazing.

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    This Android fragmentation doesn't really matter...

    I found this Android fragmentation to not really matter. I wrote an app compatible with 2.0+ and didn't really miss anything from not using 3.x and 4.x features, 2.0 already had all the functionality I needed. It's just not that big a deal.

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