Data Snapshot: The big, fragmented world of Android
Given the large base of active customers on devices running the iOS and Android operating systems, most developers build the apps to work on both platforms. But the fragmented world of Android means they have to work harder to reach consumers on that platform. The combination of different versions of the OS, screen sizes, screen densities, and resolutions presents developers with a matrix of variables and they have to decide what they want to support, knowing that wide support has a direct trade off in increased development time.
This Data Snapshot takes a quick look at Android fragmentation by two of these variables: Device Model and Screen Resolution. The consumer activity by version of the Android OS chart on Mixpanel Trends gives insight into fragmentation at OS version level.
Eight of the top 10 Android devices by activity are all Samsung and they are all part of their family of Galaxy branded devices. The other two devices are the Droid Razr and Nexus 7. On the surface, this seems like an area where fragmentation is not a huge issue. But these top 10 devices only account for 21% of activity. The vast majority of activity is happening outside of these top devices. That's a really long tail of devices.
The top three screen resolutions accounted for 63% of activity coming from Android devices. Breaking that down: 29 percent of activity in the past month took place on devices with a screen resolution of 480?800, 19 percent on 720?1280, and 15 percent on 320?480 screens.
It's also worth reviewing the on documentation and Official Guides from Android to understand how to build their app to work across devices from different manufacturers with different versions of the OS and different screen sizes, screen densities, and resolution.
The 400+ million Android devices activated make for a market of consumers that is too big to ignore, developers just need to decide how many of them they are willing to invest in reaching.