- Oh, so Apple admits fragmentation?
- See, Android isn't the only one with fragmentation problems!
- Apple is fragmented too, hypocrites!
The closest example I have was at a previous gig with a mobile gaming company that made Top-10 grossing games for both iOS and Android. When it came to iOS, we knew we could target a minimum operating system (e.g., iOS 5), develop games for it and be reasonably sure that it would run on any device that supported iOS 5 or above. Of course it also helps that some 90%+ of Apple users were always running the latest available version of iOS.
With Android, it was all over the map. In addition to all the various operating systems, there were a huge number of devices we had to test and support for, all with separate hardware capabilities. It was a MASSIVE HEADACHE to get all this right and it was hellatious on our customer support teams: "Oh, your game is crashing? Which version of Android are you running? No, it's not Ice Cream. Ice Cream Sandwich maybe? Do you know the exact version number? Okay, which device? Are you sure it's a Samsung iGalaxy? Can you read the back of the device?"
Anyway, I'm sure you've seen this chart that was floating around last year, talking specifically about device fragmentation on Android. Now, also factor in that each of these devices are potentially running a ton of different operating systems. Ack!
(Via: opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation.php )
That said, we almost always developed for Android first. Why? No review process for their App Store. We could release a game and rapidly get feedback on new issues and bugs (and try to immediately fix them). After a few weeks of this sort of iterative testing on Android, we'd release a (hopefully more) polished product on iOS as a result.
Lastly, Google has been making some pretty big strides to resolve the issues developers have been having with fragmentation. The most notable example of this is the recent news that Google will be creating a new app called "Google Play Services" that will hopefully circumvent the slow carrier updates by keeping the phone updated with some of the latest APIs available in Android. You can read more about this new initiative here: arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/balky-carriers-and...