Fake Steve on Android Fragmentation, i.e. Why It's Harder to Develop for than iPhone
Is the Android Marketplace a more open alternative for developers compared to the iPhone App Store, or does the growing diversity of hardware, software, and overlays make it just as frustrating in its own way? Okay, so Fake Steve is likely to be more pro-Apple than a Fake Eric would be, fair enough. And, yes, some high-profile developers have taken issue with Apple's
draconian incompetent App Store approval process, well taken. But as much as Fake Steve is funny, the real Dan Lyons (of Newsweek) behind him is an equal opportunity offender, happy to take the p*ss out of Apple at any opportunity, often anti-Linux, and just as often insightful when it comes to things like Old Media and, yes, competing platforms. So take this with a giant-sized fake grain of salt, but take it:
There are just a bunch of different devices that have a lot in common with each other but aren’t quite the same. Trying to turn that into a “platform” is like trying to build a porch using three hundred pieces of wood, none of which are the same size. From the [Gadget Labs] story:
A slew of problems have made managing Android apps a “nightmare,” they say, including three versions of the OS (Android 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0), custom firmware on many phones, and hardware differences between different models.
Dear friends, this is only going to get worse, not better. Think about it. Every handset maker wants its device to be different. And special. So they intentionally tweak the OS to give themselves what they think of as an “advantage,” when really it’s nothing of the sort, because all it does is prevent ISVs from writing apps for them. Even if the handset makers weren’t totally short-sighted and evil, there’s the competency issue.
No doubt Apple's App Store can make developers tear their flesh off in frustration, and GPS/CPU/GPU/Camera/etc. issues fragment the iPhone/iPod platform as well, but at the end of the day, does 50+ million "compatible enough" iDevices that are gate-keeper'ed still offer developers a better experience than a wide range of quasi-competitive, free'er devices?
(Yes, Google is closed as well, just not as closed...)