Seeing over 1000 new manufactures since 2012, OpenSignal’s latest report on Android fragmentation is a mixed bag of good and bad news. The good news is that for consumers, the choices on Android devices is greater than it has ever been. There are a wide range of devices in various screen sizes to meet your needs. For developers however, the challenge is that number of choices. The OpenSignal annual report shows a lot of interesting facts about the Android ecosystem and is well balanced on the good, the not so good and the bad.
In the August 2015 report, OpenSignal states that a distinct 24,093 Android devices were seen this year, a jump of over 5,000 from 2014. That mix is made up of 1,294 manufactures globally with Samsung still the top manufacture with 37.8% of the market. Interestingly, that market share for Samsung fell from 43% last year although the OpenSignal report points out that the overall market continues to grow.
Apart from the shear number of devices on the market, the report also points out the challenges around Android itself from a fragmentation perspective. While older versions of Android continue
to drop percipitously in usage, there is still a fair amount of fragmentation between Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop. The report points out that this is not the case with iOS but of course, that is a close ecosystem with only one device manufacture so it is a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison.
Device fragmentation is not the only challenge that developers face when building for Android; the
operating system itself is extremely fragmented. We have, however, seen a slight reduction in
fragmentation over the past year, with the market share of the dominant API version (in this case KitKat)
having risen over the past year.
KitKat still remains the dominant build in the Android ecosystem with OpenSignal seeing 39.2% of survyed devices running it. Lollipop accounts for 12.4% but is the new version since the last report. This closely reflects what Google saw in their own report that I posted on earlier this week.
You can read the full report over at OpenSignal and it contains a great deal of information about Android and the overall ecosystem.
Ultimately as you read the report, you will see the OpenSignal team has done a lot of work to pull together the report and it certainly poses some interesting challenges for developers.