Did Amazon just solve the problem of fragmentation? Dealing with different screen sizes and versions of OS on the same platform has been an infamously tricky scenario to navigate, but what Amazon is implementing could make things a lot less frustrating for both users and developers.
At the heart of Kindle Fire lies Android — which has already been criticized for fragmentation woes — and this customized version of software is running on Amazon’s full run of tablets, including the older model plus the new HD 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions. To deal with the situation, these devs have now been given “device targeting,” a special feature that lets them create for a specific model of Amazon tablet. Says the company:
While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide that it is easiest for your apps to generate different binaries for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. For each title, you can now offer separate APKs for Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and general Android (all non-Amazon) devices.
Of course, developers could still make their apps work across the board, but that can be complicated and delay releases, particularly for bootstrapping indie developers. But with this change, they can work on releases piecemeal, i.e. one device at a time.
For consumers, they’d be able to zero in on device-specific apps, which could do a lot to enhance the user experience, as they’d be able to discover applications that are optimized for their particular model of Kindle Fire within the Amazon Appstore.
What do you think of Amazon’s approach to fragmentation? Think this could succeed in heading off confusion and complications?