Android may be the most-used mobile OS in the world, but to strike fear into the hearts of Google fan-boys all you to need is one word: fragmentation. Yes, Google’s open source software has led to a ludicrous number of devices in different sizes and some serious issues when it comes to adopting the latest updates, but a new report from OpenSignal argues that fragmentation may also have its upsides.
To put it simply, fragmentation means more choices. Because there were 11,868 “distinct Android devices” seen this year—up from just 3,997 last year—consumers can literally get whatever kind of phone they want at any price point, with any screen size and any features. With so many options, if you can dream it you can probably buy it.
Fragmentation can also be an advantage for both Google and Android developers, OpenSignal argues. The ability to make cheap devices is what helped the operating system conquer the world and dominate the emerging markets where Apple is now struggling to catch up. Cheaper Android phones may not run the latest software iteration, but they still provide an opportunity for developers to reach a significantly larger audience. Finally, although iOS developers currently earn more on average than their Android counterparts, Google is quickly closing the gap.
So there you have it. We already knew all the reasons fragmentation was bad, but now you’ll have a quick response when your iFriends make fun of Samsung’s never-ending line of Galaxy devices.