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Google shifting its Android strategy, seeks to fix fragmentation

May 16, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • A Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone.
A Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone. (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

Google is changing the way it approaches the production of new Android smartphones, seeking to end fragmentation among phones running the many different versions of its OS.

For its upcoming line of Nexus smartphones and tablets, Google will give early access to up to five manufacturers in order to bring some form of unity to the devices running the Android operating system.

Previously, Google would work with a single manufacturer at a time, helping it produce a lead device. This strategy produced successful phones, but it also left the market with many slightly different versions of Android.

All that variance has made it difficult for developers to create apps that work for every version of Android, and many Android users often get stuck with phones incapable of updating to the newest versions of the OS.

How bad is this fragmentation? Check out OpenSignalMaps, which created a graphic showcasing the many different versions of Android phones, to get an idea. Though the number of devices that appears is a bit exaggerated due to a variable, the amount is impressive.

Google will also begin selling phones to consumers itself as part of its effort to bring unity to the Android family. The search company also hopes both of these strategies help improve sales of Android tablets, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

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