Fragmentation is both a strength and weakness of the Android ecosystem, a headache for developers that also provides the basis for Android’s global reach. Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with vastly different performance levels and screen sizes. Furthermore, there are many different versions of Android that are concurrently active at any one time, adding another level of fragmentation. What this means is that developing apps that work across the whole range of Android devices can be extremely challenging and time-consuming.
This year we see a continuation of the trends seen in previous reports; more devices and more differentiation between the devices out there. One big thing we’ve noticed this year is the increased fragmentation of manufacturers, with over 1000 manufacturers seen this year that we did not see in 2012 when we first published this report. Samsung, still the market leader, have seen their share of the global Android device market fall from 43% to 37.8% (although the market itself continues to grow). The great strength of the Android ecosystem from a consumer perspective has always been the ability to pick a device that is perfectly tailored to your specifications, as there are so many devices to pick from. This trend has only continued, with more Android devices and manufacturers seen this year than ever before.