On yesterday's earnings conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Steve Jobs went on a now well-publicized rant about the competition, spending a fair amount of time trying to portray Android as a complex, messy system that has so many different versions that it's a nightmare for app developers. To drive home his point, he used the example of TweetDeck, the popular Twitter app.
Twitter client, Twitter Deck, recently launched their app for Android. They reported that they had to contend with more than 100 different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets. The multiple hardware and software iterations present developers with a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected Android handsets running selected Android versions. And this is for handsets that have been shipped less than 12 months ago. Compare this with iPhone, where there are two versions of the software, the current and the most recent predecessor to test against.
That sounds like a nightmare, huh? But maybe it wasn't. Early this morning, TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth shot off a quick tweet that read:
As we bring our initial Android TweetDeck beta period to a close, we wanted to quickly reflect on the Android ecosystem and what might be considered extreme fragmentation. To date we've had 36,427 active beta testers and below you can see the massive variety of phones and Android OS versions everyone is running. We were really shocked to see the number of custom roms, crazy phones and general level of customization/hackalicious nature of Android. From our perspective it's pretty cool to have our app work on such a wide variety of devices and Android OS variations.
Maybe Jobs should have asked them how they felt about it before he spoke for them. Just sayin'.