Google has launched a new tool for Android developers that will address the fragmentation issues. This tool is a static library called the “Android Compatibility package,” and it’s an extension of the Fragments API that was first introduced with Honeycomb.
The Fragments API plans make it easier for developers to extend their tablet applications to other devices, including those with different screen sizes and resolutions. It also addresses a number of pain points with Activities, that Google mentioned. So what does it mean for developers? It means that apps compatible with Android 1.6 or later can use fragments to create tablet-compatible user interfaces without breaking compatibility with any android device.
Fragmentation had been the buzzword scaring developers and users alike, even when it was not that big issue in practice. But with introduction of two different flavors of android: Tablet and Mobile i.e. Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for smartphones and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) meant for tablets. Fragmentation could have been serious, but Google handled it just before it happened. Going further, google has plans to merge these two flavors.
Various Android versions are tracked here.
Going by the facts Android 1.6 is near extinction runnign only on 6.3% of Android devices. Meanwhile, Android 2.1 (31.4%), Android 2.2 (57.6%) and the newest, Android 2.3 (0.8%) take up most of the pie chart below. The reason is obvious, Gingerbread has just been released with Google’s own Nexus S, and is expected to be seen on other newer android devices this year. However, moddign community has already made it possible to install Gingerbread on any android device.
The Android Compatibility package available via SDK Updater here.