Android angst revisited. The saga continues.

Summary:The Android platform is fragmented. It's difficult to create Apps that run efficiently across the many devices in the Android mobile phone market.

After my now infamous personal search for an Android-based tablet and phone hit the ZDNet site, I've received every form of ridicule from some of my readers. And, now, I must add a bit more fuel to the fire that is this crazy Android vs. Apple religious war fuming between the two factions with me now inexplicably caught in between. Although, normally I don't really care about such petty squabbles, this one seems particularly intriguing to me. So, yes, I'll bite.

Some of you accused me of making a personal technology decision and purchase without any hard evidence to back it up. Here is some hard evidence unrelated to my original post, presented for your approval.

During the height of the turmoil, I received an email from Kodak Gallery Public Relations informing me, innocently, of their Kodak Gallery App ranking in the top 10 of all Android Apps.

Somehow, though, amid the din of rancid commentary about my personal journey toward the inevitable embrace of my Apple-scented mobile phone and my tasty Pome-styled tablet computer, I managed to allow a few brain cycles to digest the message about an App on the 'enemy' platform without first hitting the DEL key.

As my bleary-eyed, virtual head-kicked stupor cleared, I focused on the first sentence of that email that gripped me in its talons like a hungry vulture impaling freshly captured prey on the way back to its nest: "Many companies are not developing Android Apps, because of difficulty in creating an app that will run efficiently across the many devices in the Android mobile phone market."

Vindication!

I thought to myself, "Wow, maybe I've been undouched in my assessment of the Android platform after all. I must find out more about this Android angst afflicting those who develop for that 'plate-forme infaillible'." How could I have been so wrong, yet so right?

So, my quest ahead was clear: I had to investigate the <absurd?> assertion that the Android platform is somehow less than, shall we say, optimal. And, not for end users, mind you, who make bogus and uninformed generalizations about said devices but for those who create the Apps that operate on those devices.

It made me go, "Hmmmm."

My head now still and ready, I read the balance of the message, which also laid claim to the following bullet points of interest:

  • Kodak Gallery is the only leading online photo service to provide an app for ANDROID devices, KODAK Gallery now has the broadest platform for friends to easily share and access photo memories across ANDROID phones and TABLETS, KINDLE FIRES and iOS devices.
  • Since our Kodak Gallery app for iPhone devices released last fall, more than 5 million photos have been uploaded through a mobile app.  In addition, the number of photos from a mobile device increased 44 times in the last year.
  • The KODAK Gallery App for ANDROID has been ranked in the top 25 free photo apps in the ANDROID Marketplace.
  • Top 10 in the AMAZON Appstore.
  • The KODAK Gallery App for the iPhone is also ranked among the top 25 free photo apps in the App Store.
  • Unlike our competitors, the ANDROID, KINDLE FIRE and iPhone apps are all developed internally at KODAK Gallery.

Almost without hesitation, I clicked, "Reply" to find out more, with the hope that I'd be able to "call out" Kodak Gallery on its opinion that the Android platform is fragmented.

Fragmented?

Yes, fragmented. And, it isn't Kodak's opinion. It, my dear friends, is fact and based on independent research and observation. The fragmentation problem can be summed up as this response from an Android App developer: "They [Android-based devices] don't all have the same code bases and  there are multiple Android versions that are much different than the iOS versions. That makes a much larger matrix than there is in iOS."

Here is an article about how fragmented the Android platform is: http://pxldot.com/post/18281312362/android-measuring-stick.

That's a major problem for you, as end users, and for developers. If you don't think so, read the post.

It's no surprise to someone, like myself, who's watched the Linux community for years fragment and fork every which way. It's not Google's problem per se. It's the nature of the openness of the platform.

Apple's iOS is more consistent because you don't have developers from all over the planet creating their own versions and subversions of the operating system. Windows has the same story. There's only one Windows. There's only one Mac OS. There are dozens and dozens of Linux distributions.

The same thing that makes Linux so cool and open is also the thing that makes it a house divided.

If you believe, somehow, that I'm not a Linux fan, you're wrong. If you think that I didn't really want an Android-based tablet and phone, you're wrong. If you think that I didn't give Android a fair chance, you're super wrong. I did. I touched, tapped and tested for months. I bugged the heck out of Jason Perlow asking about his experiences with Android gadgets. I asked dozens of people, read hundreds of reviews, pored over articles and gadget sites until I was convinced that I needed to cut my losses and find another technology solution. Remember that my wife bought me an iPad for Father's Day and I wouldn't go pick it up at the local Apple Store because I thought I could find an Android tablet for less money that was just as good.

I had never owned anything Apple before. I could never afford it. I had to ponder long and hard to admit defeat and purchase that iPhone 4. I had to reach deep within my soul and wallet to allow my wife to give me an iPad for Christmas (2010). But, somehow my readers believe I did this with levity and flippantly. Wrong.

You can take this religious war and end up like all religious wars--in a draw--and realize that there's no single right answer. For me, it's Apple. For you, it could be Android. In the end, as long as you can call, text, surf, play Angry Birds and run a few business Apps, who cares what you use. I don't care that you use Android so why should you care that I use Apple.

I am now and will always be a Linux guy. In April, I'll replace my 11.10 with 12.04. And, in October, I'll replace that with 12.10 and so on. It won't cost you anything for me to do that. You'll install OS X Mountain Lion. Someone else will install Windows 8. So what? Is it really worth your time to worry about it? No.

Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Will there ever be one church? Is Ford better than Chevy? Will Coke ever buy Pepsi? Will Linux ever boot Microsoft off the desktop?

No. To all the above. Get over it. Pray for peace.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets, Telcos

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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