Fragmentation refers to a phenomenon when different mobile users use different versions of same operating system with some using older one and some newer. Moreover different manufacturers also tweak the OS according to their requirement and specifications, fragmenting the market even more.
The problem which arises due to this phenomenon is that developers have to develop different versions of their applications which would be able to run on every device. And even then the application developers are unable to cope with the changes. This problem is mainly related to Android as the manufacturers using Android as platform to build the phones are many but IOS have a much leveled playing field.
1. What the Developers Have to Say:
A survey done by independent firm shows that 90% developers like to develop for iPhones or iPad. 80% of them developed for android, happily and the only reason they stated for developing for android was the wide outreach of the OS and if you consider android tablets the percentage falls to a meager 60% which is very less and the main reason for the non-popularity of android tablets amongst the users. Then there are other Operating Systems like windows or that of Research in Motion (RIM) who are already finding it very hard to make a name for them in this tightly contested market.
2. Eureka! A Solution:
The possible solution to this problem is mobile cloud. A survey says that 80% of app developers are planning to have a mobile site built by the end of 2014. The idea behind this plan is that mobile cloud will resolve the ever present cross platform issue prevalent. But one thing that will prove a road block in the progress of mobile sites is that the users favor the dedicated apps over the sites. They are used to download apps for their favorite sites rather than opening the browser and surfing for it.
3. Reluctance Prevails:
The developers are also not interested in developing the mobile sites for their service as they believe it lacks the appeal that is given by the app. If anything they favor providing both the sites and apps rather than developing just the sites. Mobile cloud does solve the fragmentation problem as the browser on which they run is more or less standardized and the web language used in building the site is also same.
4. Finding A Middle Ground:
The issue can also be solved in the apps as well by adopting an environment which is hybrid. In this the developer has to adapt a little by making sure that absolute positioning is avoided completely. The adaptation towards a device should be done. The development tools provide folders in which screen size, skins etc. can be kept by which the app changes its appeal according to the platform. Gradients for images and tiles for backgrounds can be used to make sure that the app changes its feel and look according to the device in which it is being run.
A Possible Breakthrough:
What the developers can do is use the SaaS environment to provide users with what they want. The installed app on the cloud doesn’t use up the phone’s resources to run or work. It gives the user many other options to explore. One other measure which is a bit odd is that android standardizes its variants which will diminish the manufacturer related fragmentation.
In the end we can say that developers like users are more interested in app development rather than moving to the cloud, and until this sternness is dealt with the problem of fragmentation will continue to exist creating problems for the buyers of phones manufactured by not so famous manufacturers.
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- How mobile cloud can resolve the issue of Fragmentation? - January 17, 2015