Android Fragmentation

Over the past 2 or 3 years I have been running some mobile device that has been on the major 3 OS platforms, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7. While they all have their lists of pro’s and con’s the one thing that has really started to bug me about the Android world is the fragmentation. Now I understand the fragmentation is something that every platform has to deal with but I think in the case of Android it makes it even worse. The addition of Honeycomb to the Android OS line was a needed step. Google wanted to get into the tablet marketplace and give Apple a run. While the Xoom is a nice piece of solid hardware after spending a few weeks with Honeycomb it was pretty clear to me that the OS was not ready for prime time let alone ready to take on the iPad. A month a go Google released Android 3.1 which took care of some issues and added new features but the same underlying issue was still present for me, a OS on dual core tablet that still seems slow.

Now fast forward to this week and I see on Engadget that the Android 3.1 update enables the MicroSD card slot which has been dormant since launch (Another reason for believing there was a rush to market). I was ready to fire up the Xoom again and grab the update but when I read a bit further I found one key detail, it only applies if you live outside of the United States. What? Really? Not only do we have fragmentation on the platform due to device hardware but now we have fragmentation depending on where you live and bought your device? This is just nuts!

And Google is not the only ones doing this, both the Netflix and Hulu Android apps only work on certain devices. Not due to hardware constraints but most likely due to someone not greasing the palm of someone else.

Until some of this mess gets figured out and dealt with its going to be easier for consumers, me included, to stick with iOS or Windows Phone 7. You might like the freedom of Android but do you really want to have to tinker with you device just to get it to do what it should out of the box?