OpenSignal have a new version of their study into Android Fragmentation. It’s the multi-coloured graphic, that I won’t be reproducing here, you often see when some blogger starts talking about fragmentation. Instead, I find the variation of OS version market share over time to be more interesting as it helps define what minimum version to target for new projects…
I believe this data to be more useful than declared device shipments as it a) represents the installed base and b) tells us the Android version. It’s also useful to compare with Google’s own dashboard.
It has been the case for a while now that there’s no point supporting pre Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Having worked on many past projects that had to go down to 2.3, this is great relief as it simplifies development and testing. Despite the hype over fragmentation, carefully selecting test devices that cover all the Android versions (v4.03 and later), top brands, dpi bands and main screen sizes is usually sufficient on most projects.
There are still a few outlying ‘strange’ current devices to consider. For example, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Pocket 2 that runs Android 4.4.2 yet only has a ldpi 240×320 screen. I find it’s a useful device to test apps at the lowest end of the device spectrum.