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Too-high Android tablet prices spook developers

Gregg Keizer | April 26, 2011
While developer interest in Apple's mobile devices remains solid, interest in Android has stalled among programmers disappointed with tablet prices and pressed by Android fragmentation, a survey published today showed.

"There's a value disparity between Android tablets in theory and Android tablets in reality," said Schwartzhoff, referring to the 20-points-and-more split. "That difference in trajectory is the most interesting thing to watch in the next months."

Schwartzhoff also attributed some of the fall-off in Android interest to continued concern by developers of fragmentation, a term typically used to describe the multiple versions of the operating system out and about on both old and new smartphones.

But Appcelerator sees fragmentation as a bigger issue.

While nearly two-thirds of developers said that fragmentation was their top concern, when Appcelerator and IDC dug deeper, the Android OS fragmentation issue came in third, with 21%, behind other answers, including skills fragmentation (33%) and OS fragmentation (22%).

"Fragmentation on Android is six layers deep," said Schwartzhoff, explaining that all mobile application developers face problems finding skilled programmers, keeping up with the rapid changes in operating system differences, and managing a suite of apps that must be maintained or ported to another platform.

"Set against this, Android fragmentation piles on top of an already sore spot," said Schwartzhoff, noting that iOS-only developers don't face the problems of multiple handsets, multiple OS editions, multiple app stores.

"Fragmentation is hugely important, and also cumulative," said Schwartzhoff. "And now Android developers are being asked to add in tablets?"

Something has to give, and apparently, it's Android tablets that some are willing to abandon, at least for now.

"These are big concerns," said Schwartzhoff, "because Android developers know they have couple of major issues right out of the gate."

The Appcelerator/IDC survey summary can be viewed on the former's Web site; registration -- name, email address and phone number -- are required to download the full report.

 

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