The State of Android Fragmentation Visualized by OpenSignal [PICS]

Developers who plan to launch an app on both iOS and Android have to consider several factors and market fragmentation is one of them – along with monetization, of course. How do the two platforms look and what kind of investment is required for them in terms of devices? The most recent OpenSignal report offers some guidance.

iOS screen size fragmentation

iOS screen size fragmentation

When it comes to iOS the picture is fairly simple, as Apple recently highlighted on its developer page: 93% of all iOS devices are running iOS 6, which is an amazing performance. And the picture is similar when it comes to devices and screen sizes.

But what does the Android market look like? Well, this is where things get a bit complicated. In order to launch an app that runs on every device, the developer has to be kind of deep pocketed. The guys from OpenSignal have identified 11,868 distinct Android devices in 2013 and we are just in the middle of the year and 47.5% of them are Samsung devices. By contrast, last year there were almost 4,000 Android devices.


The report also highlights that there are still eight Android versions in use with Gingerbread being the most popular (34.1%), while Jelly Bean represents only 5.6%.

The picture doesn’t look any brighter when it comes to screen sizes, as you can see in the image below.

Android screen size fragmentation

Android screen size fragmentation

Finally, both platforms have their own advantages: with the availability of cheap Android phones, developers can bet on a greater global reach than iOS. But as the most recent mobile monetization reports show, iOS is still well above Android despite a narrower user base.

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  • thewinnipegger

    To understand android’s fragmentation is also understanding that Google has allowed the OEMs to basically have control over the OS and what devices get which OS version. iOS doesn’t have that because Apple controls 100% of the phone and the OS they ship.

    If Google would put on the man pants and direct further control of their OS i’d believe fragmentation would decrease. They need to cease releasing old OS versions after the new one is out and OEMs need to push to have the newest OS on phones days after launch. This would mean the slowing of newer phones coming onto the market but it would allow consumers to actually have better ability to choose a phone thats current.

  • …and from a developer’s point-of-view, the iOS fragmentation is even simpler than that diagram, because even though the iPad and iPad mini are different physical sizes, they’re based off of the same resolution, so they don’t require two separate graphic layouts. Basically, there are only three different iOS layouts to design for. Or two and a half considering the 4″ iPhone has the exact same width as a 3.5″ iPhone, so most graphic elements would be shared between those two interfaces.

  • Yeah the pace of Android hardware releases have become too difficult to stay on top of. If I was a developer making an app for Android, I would probably jump off a bridge. The BBC earlier revealed its Android team is 3x the size of iOS, purely based on the work to test and modify the app for various Android devices.