Sunday, August 9, 2015

Arbour №50: the fragmentation of Android – Mobile-review

The gap between the versions of the operating system Android on various devices is gradually reduced, but the problem still exists, and rightly so, despite the Google measures to address this issue. However, not everyone sees only the negative impact of the fragmentation of the ecosystem Android.

Google_Android_iStock _-_ juniorbeep_thumb800

The second conclusion of some researchers, many users often talk about “fragmented” market for Android-devices. However, the word “diverse” more accurately describes the current state of affairs. And that is why the situation is not nearly as bad.

The said problem can also have a positive impact on the ecosystem as a whole. “Fragmentation” is a kind of idealized whole, broken into pieces. This definition has a negative connotation because it implies that proper ecosystem should be increasingly characterized by the centralization and standardization. It is better to use the term “diversity”. After all, we do not say that humanity is fragmented. We are different in terms of race, ethnicity, ideology, physical and intellectual shape. This can be a problem in our and our strength. We – not a monoculture. And do not expect that we use devices or software embedded in the software, subordination to a single standard.

Android_Fragmentation_Report_August_2015 _-_ OpenSignal-2

Fragmentation by brand

For devices Android-based characterized by great diversity. In a recent study of the ecosystem OpenSignal, developer of applications and aggregator of information from the network, said on detected 24,000 different devices as of August 2015. In last year’s data figured a little less than 19,000 a variety of gadgets based on Android. From 682,000 units studied most of the occupied units by Samsung (37,8%). Representatives OpenSignal in his report called fragmentation Android «strength and weakness at the same time, a headache for developers and that provides global coverage of users,” without taking the original negative connotation of the term.

Apple’s senior management took over habit of doing great emphasis on the disadvantages of the existing diversity of devices. At the meeting in June WDC Crane Federighi said that 83% of active iPhone users have to deal with the latest version of the OS. “This is really important because it means that you not only get access to all innovations, but also to the timely updating of security policy, as well as a developer, you can be sure that your target group of users will certainly become the most recent and the advanced API. And this is what distinguishes a iOS. »

Android_Fragmentation_Report_August_2015 _-_ OpenSignal

The fact that only 18.1% of smartphones based on Android running on OS 5.0 and above, is a particular problem for Google , partners and developers, both in terms of the delay in providing access to the new “chip» Android, and in terms of security, especially gadgets with outdated version of the OS, and “open” vulnerabilities. But the blame for such a low level of the spread-date version of the OS should be as an ecosystem as a whole, as well as device manufacturers and mobile operators, which put priority on profit, not wanting to pay for the cost of testing and dissemination of updates, which ultimately has a negative impact on the convenience and safety of use of devices .


A few days ago Google, before trying to speed up updates via Open Handset Alliance, made a confident step towards solving the problem, announcing that the Nexus line of devices will receive regular monthly security update “over the air” in conjunction with the updated platform. By a similar release schedule patches and joined Samsung. The variety in no way lets look at the prospect.

At the same time, centralized approach to Apple updates with all its benefits could not keep users from security problems. In June, it became known about the vulnerability of iOS. In the version of iOS 8.4 has been fixed, but this “can” load “the infected» HTML-code in e-mail that is opened using the built-in mail client. At the same time, the agency computer security FireEye reports seen by the attack on the device iOS. And Patrick Vordl, a security researcher at Synak, at the last Black Hat conference demonstrated vulnerabilities in OS X.

One of the downsides of “monoculture” Apple’s approach is the fact that the vulnerability in the newest software can potentially affect a much larger portion users when compared with Android. All bets made Apple one principle. The minus can also be written “overprotective” of the company, forcing developers to send the application for approval, rather than to test code on security and the possibility of leakage of personal information. In turn, the developers of Android has to take into account much more variation sizes of screens and devices themselves, rather than their colleagues from the camp of iOS, but these difficulties can be overcome, at least when compared with the gap between the level of users of iOS and Android, as well as Android long-standing problem with the sound delay.

Google, of course, do not believe that you need to sit back. In his letter, the representative of Google marked the company’s commitment to achieving the stability of Android devices through its API and library services and standards Material Design. And in May, saw the light of preview-version of the upcoming project Cloud Test Lab, through which developers can conduct automated testing their products on the various virtual hardware configurations that are already offering services Amazon Device Farm and Amazon App Testing. Access to the service is closed, but the company expects from him to solve many problems with fragmentation devices. Among reassembles Android by parts to get more acceptable “alloy”. Maybe this time get something decent.

The original article, the author – Thomas Klebern

Elir: title of the article looked promising, but more or less important conclusions the author of us not provided, possibly losing the logic of the narrative closer to the middle of the article. It is, in principle, does not negate the relevance of the questions raised: as well as whether, in fact, afraid of fragmentation? With due diligence and this can be used in their favor. Yes, suffering from security vulnerabilities in Android revealed one after the other, but that is the nature of the operating system, to be a little more careful, there will be no problems. Fragmentation versions gradually smoothed out, and a variety of devices, in my opinion, this is a big plus.


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