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Facebook breaks down Android performance by 'Year Class'

To fuel momentum while keeping a handle on the rapidly burgeoning Android ecosystem, the social network has developed a new concept to help segment Android devices, dubbed “Year Class."

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If mobile is Facebook's golden ticket to long-term success , then then guaranteed, reliable performance on the dominant mobile platform of the moment is critical.

That would be Google's mobile operating system Android, based on the latest market share figures from comScore, IDC , Gartner , you name it.

The world's largest social network had 1.12 billion mobile monthly active users by the end of September, with roughly 1.35 billion monthly active users overall. Facebook cited it now sees more than half a billion people connect each month from more than 10,000 different Android device models.

To fuel momentum while keeping a handle on the rapidly burgeoning Android ecosystem, the social network has developed a new concept to help segment Android devices, dubbed “Year Class."

The system is designed to allow Facebook developers and engineers to segment the breadth of Android devices into a more streamlined set of buckets, tackling segments of the Android population at-large rather than each individual Android device as they are released.

Facebook product managers Chris Marra and Daniel Weaver explained in a blog post on Thursday how the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company made the shift to draft Year Class:

With so many different types of phones in the world, being able to segment people and their devices to understand usage patterns and performance is a significant task. Historically we relied on cuts by Android OS version, looking at how Gingerbread behaved differently from Ice Cream Sandwich, how Ice Cream Sandwich behaved differently from Jelly Bean, and so on. However, the recent explosion of affordable Android devices around the world has shifted the median, and the bulk of devices we now see are running Jelly Bean. In order to segment based on actual phone performance we decided to look more closely into the specifications of the phone – RAM, CPU cores, and clock speed – to characterize things. Using these three specifications, we've clustered every phone into a group of similarly capable devices to make understanding performance easier.

So far, Facebook found that Wi-Fi and 3G networks in areas with under-developed infrastructures and/or more crowded networks are typically two to four times slower on average than in developed markets. With shades of one of Facebook's other long-term projects (Internet.org) , part of the purpose for Year Class will be ensuring more equal opportunities at consistent connectivity from EDGE connections to 4G.

Thus, Year Class is being figured into the decision-making process concerning quandaries ranging from animation to improving app performance. From there, Year Class will be employed in the deployment of new product features.

Image via Facebook