Dec 23 AT 7:22 PM Taylor Wimberly 80 Comments

Fragmentation is still a major problem for Android game developers

Google hates the word fragmentation when it’s used to refer to the Android ecosystem. They call it the “F-word”. I’ve seen it used many ways, but generally when developers talk about Android being fragmented they are referring to the hundreds of devices that they have to support.

Some people would point to the fact that over 80% of devices run Android 2.x, so what’s the problem? All you need to do is code your app to work with the different platform versions and display sizes and it should work, right?

Recent updates to the Android Market even allow developers to filter out devices based on screen sizes and densities (and soon GL texture compression formats). If a developer knows that a group of devices will not support their app, they should just be able to block those users from ever downloading it.

What sounds like a simple task to some is actually a huge problem for the big Android game developers. Just ask EA Mobile and Gameloft.

Developers might be able to filter out devices based on certain specifications, but they are still unable to target individual handsets.

For example, just look at some of the comments on any of EA Mobile’s new games that just went on sale. You will find hundreds of complaints from upset customers who purchased a game only to find out it didn’t work on their phone. You would think that a large developer like EA Mobile could have prevented these problems before they occurred, but they are still struggling with it.

To make matters worse, many of these people were unable to get their money back because of the new 15 minute refund window. Google raised the max size of apps to 50 MB, but most 3D games easily go over that limit so developers have to create their own distribution methods to deliver the extra data files. This process takes place after the point of purchase and that’s a problem when it takes over 15 minutes to download the files needed to see if the game even works.

Gameloft is another big game developer that has struggled to support the massive number of Android devices. When they first tested the waters of the Android Market , they offered over 20 games. After experiencing all kinds of problems and user complaints, they have reduced that to a single title – Asphalt HD.

If game developers are removing their games from the Android Market and creating their own distribution channels (like Gameloft’s online store), then there is clearly a problem. These developers are essentially saying that it’s not worth the added support costs (and hit to their reputation) to offer their games in Google’s Market. I’ve been very tough on Gameloft in the past, but I’m starting to see things from their point of view.

So what’s the solution?

Android Market comments for EA Mobile.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Lemon

    Basically Google needs to increase the window to an hour. 15 minutes was a retarded idea from the start.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      That would help with the refund problem, but what about these developers not being able to target individual handsets? Isn’t it stupid that someone has to waste 15 mins to figure out if a game will even work on their phone?

      • http://Website android-dev

        Most of the compatibility issues arise because game devs insist on using C to write their games, and compile/test against a certain combination of hardware. I understand that they’re trying to squeeze every ounce of performance out of these devices, but they have to understand that you can’t do that on Android and expect the game to work universally.

        They can do that on a PC, which is “fragmented” in much the same was as Android, but only because the Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer and Direct-X shield their software from hardware incompatibility problems by providing fallback solutions (like software rendering when hardware acceleration is not available).

        This is essentially what the dalvik vm provides, but the game devs refuse to use it. Essentially, what they’re trying to do is bring back the ms-dos style of gaming, where you have to go into a configuration menu and select your sound card, modem, graphics card and resolution from a supported list, and the game loads up the proper drivers before it lets you play, except instead of providing one game where you go through a config menu, they’re providing different versions of game for the various different handsets with all the proper settings already built in. Either that or they provide one version that supports a subset of all the hardware out there and hope for the best. Clearly, this is not the way to go.

        • http://Website ndk-dev

          The exact mechanisms you mention in Windows ARE available on Android — it’s called the NDK. The Linux Kernel, C libraries and OpenGL abstract the hardware the same way as DirectX and Windows API.

          You mention Dalvik. Dalvik is the problem, not the solution. Dalvik doesn’t do anything except abstract the ARM instruction set. Google focused too much on Dalvik early on. Someone apparently thought large games developers would be porting from J2ME platform, not Xbox and Playstation. Dalvik is a belief similar to Sun’s ridiculous “write once, run anywhere” claim on Java.

          Infinity Blade shows you exactly what Apple got right and Google screwed up.

          Google completely misjudged the games market and the need for native code, low latency audio, etc.. None of this is a problem on iPhone, not because the iPhone doesn’t have hardware and OS fragmentation — it does, more than people think — but because Apple committed to native code from the start. Gingerbread is the first release that really starts to address this, and won’t really be mainstream for a year or more.

          • http://Website Storm14K

            Actually theres some truth to both of your comments. I wouldn’t call the idea of write once run anywhere Java ridiculous. Its just FUD to say it doesn’t work. Java, Python, Ruby, PHP and most other interpreter based languages work wherever there is supported VM. Java’s failures to work everywhere have more to do with the tons of frameworks/application server code thats piled on top.

            Dalvik is definitely more of a solution than a problem because it keeps code from being tied to one processor platform. Talk about fragmentation if all apps had to be recompiled for a new platform. That would either lock down OEM’s or force devs to deal with real fragmentation. And now that Dalvik has JIT the code is being run as native code anyway. I haven’t seen any attempts at performance comparison so I don’t know if the performance argument is valid or just more perpetuation of Java performance myths. The iPhone can get away with native code because they control their hardware.

            Now I do agree Google missed the whole gaming market early on. I think I said long ago Google was making a mistake focusing on these Flash type games ….so were the fanboys that wanted these games so bad. Now how many of them do we see and who cares about the ones that are there? And it was obvious in their investments in all those Flash and social game companies that they thought this was the right direction. With the addition of JIT I think they expected to have a rush of new game development from up and coming shops in Java. They could have learned their lesson by looking at Xbox Live and their game dev platform. Its been mediocre at best and they will probably have the same problem with their non-native phone platform. The fact is that alot of these dev shops have tons of investment in C code. That code is right at home on iPhone. Shops aren’t going to want to keep a separate Java code base.I haven’t done anything with the NDK for Android so I don’t know how well it accommodates but apparently it needed some work.

            We’re never going to be at a point where any phone can run any game. Maybe things will be better with the Tegra 2 revolution and competitors. But I think the answer may have to be something like the Windows 7 experience level deal. Have phones report an experience level based on all factors and let the games be filtered by that.

          • http://Website Larry

            Dungeon Masters for Android uses the same unreal engine that infinite blade does. So there is no reason why infinite blade won’t run on Android.

    • http://Website Anonymous

      I too agree, 15 minutes was a very poor choice.

      However, I know from previous experiences, the developers have the freedom to refund consumers monies if they choose to do so. They can do so even after the 15 minute deadline, even days after, but it is up to the developers to decide.

      The problem is, there are developers whom refuse to do so, even when they know it’s a Fragment issue, or just poor app due to poor development.

      • Greg Bulmash

        Old system:
        * User doesn’t like app or app doesn’t work. User uses market to request refund.
        * Computer does all the work.

        New System:
        * User doesn’t like app or app doesn’t work. User spends time hunting down contact e-mail address and fires off angry e-mail about the crap application that didn’t work and how much Developer sucks.
        * User e-mailed from their hotmail address, not noting the Google account they used to make the purchase on their android phone.
        * Developer has to ask User to provide information.
        * User accidentally deletes e-mail. Sends Developer an e-mail 15 days later when they see the $1.99 still on their credit card bill and not refunded. User curses out developer… still uses Hotmail.
        * Developer asks again for user’s Google account information or transaction number from their Google checkout receipt. They give User step-by-step instructions on how to find this information.
        * User angrily says they developer should be able to tell because they’re mailing from their Android phone… using a web browser logged into Hotmail. User complains that the developer is intentionally making the refund process difficult so they can keep User’s money.
        * Developer politely asks for User’s Google account information or transaction number from their google checkout receipt… again.
        * User threatens to sue developer for not giving them back their hard earned $1.99, accusing developer of deliberately holding onto it.
        * Developer finally loses it and tells user the’ve used way more than two measly dollars worth of time trying to get a stupid-ass user to provide the information they NEED to provide the refund. They point to instructions they provided so the user can find the information.
        * User curses them out for being rude to them, but finally looks up the transaction details from Google checkout. Mails details to developer.
        * Developer looks at details and sees they’re for another game from another developer which has a slightly similar name. Points this out to user.
        * User stops bothering them, but also doesn’t bother to apologize.

        In light of this, the whole “the developer can still provide a refund” just doesn’t work. It takes a lot of automated labor ooff of Google’s shoulders and puts a lot of manual labor on the shoulders of developers. I think this is Google’s way of deliberately punishing the developers who complained the prior refund time limit was too long.

        BTW, the “New System” is based on an incident that occurred when I was a mailing list admin in the 90s and some stupid git bothered me for weeks to remove them from a list they weren’t on because they got my address confused with the address of the admin for the list they were actually on.

  • http://Website Dan

    There was nothing wrong with the 24 hour window. In order to test certain software like GPS, schedule-specific apps (like backup software), system monitoring apps, etc. you need more than 15 minutes. Geeze, getting 15minutes and then being interrupted by life before you`re able to rush to test an app is just not right. PC software trials often extended to 30 DAYS and developers reaped the benefits of it without the user feeling that they were rushed or scammed.

    • http://Website AdamJ

      I totally get why people want the 24hr window back. It was definitely very appealing to the users but it was not to the developers and that is why Google changed it.

      • http://Website Raptor007

        I agree with you, the dev’s didn’t like it but they also won’t get any sales because of the 15 minute window. I personally have stopped buying any apps for my iTouch (was an iPhone) for the simple reason of getting stung by crappy apps that received inflated ratings only to suck.

        • http://Website Darwin

          Going from 24 hours to 15 minutes is just ridiculous. Google really F’ed their users with this. They are desperate to get some decent software out there from so they bent over for the big developers like EA and said F the users. Not to mention these should not even show up for you in Android market if your device can’t use them. Its pretty much a scam. It is also likely to contribute to piracy.

          • http://Website Larry

            Any developer who asked for 15min window is an idiot. 1 hour is the logical middle step between 15min and 24 hours. The current 15min window is unworkable with most apps that take even longer than that to install, let alone test.

            Google should change the window to 1 hour. That is a fair middle ground.

        • http://Website android-dev

          I don’t think most (good) devs really had that big of a problem with the 24 hour window. There are, of course, certain types of software that really require a shorter refund window (games), to prevent people from beating the game and getting a refund before the return window expires. But, 15 minutes is overkill. I don’t think any dev wanted a 15 minute refund window.. except maybe all the assholes that spam the market with crappy wallpaper and soundboard apps..but honestly, those devs are the least important.

          Google, give us back our 24 hour refund window, or at least leave it up to the developer.

    • http://Website riknos

      Just be glad that Google is better than Crapple by actually giving you a chance to get a refund at all. However I believe that 15 min is definately too short. I would suggest the Google raise the time limit to 1 or 2 hours, long enough to find obvious flaws with an app, but not too long (I think) for the developers.

  • http://Website dsim91

    Initially when my download for NFS was done, I was given the your device is not authorized, well I thought that is not acceptable. I went to get a refund and bam no refund for me I was to late, so then I clicked on the open button to open the app form the market page, and guess what the game opened I haven’t had any problems since.

  • http://Website slowz3r

    Realistically guys, its 99 cents today,

    • http://Website Raptor007

      Most of gameloft’s and EA games are not going to be $.99. I purchased (4) Gameloft games and recently I changed devices so they won’t run. What makes me laugh is I d/l Hero of Sparta “for free” and it force closes despite supposedly working. Support says to d/l again but I’m not paying for it. So I lost $20, not #3.97.

      Also keep in mind $.99 x 1000, 2000, 5000 d/l’s as lost money but thats a lot of money that shouldn’t be lot to begin with.

      The refund window needs to be more reasonable, 6 -12 hours, the notes about the app should be more detailed and state a) what phones have issues, b) there is extra d/l required so the user knows, c) how to reach them if there is an issue.

      I actually look for paid apps over free ones in the Android Market so I can help the devs out, but this is pushing me towards free again.

      “One more thing . . . ” they should allow you to browse the Android Market on the desktop, I use AppBrain but Google has been cutting some of their features like pushing apps via the web. If Google wants more control they need to step up and fix the issues or let others do it.

      • http://Website Brian

        Well, if you have been paying attention to posts… Google is developing a desktop version of the market, with push.

    • http://Website Darwin

      Realistically thats one day out of the year so it doesn’t exactly make me feel better. This is just another sign of how Google is slowly going to lock down Android now that they have a large user base. Bet on it.

  • Terrormaster

    Increasing the window would definitely be helpful. But it still won’t resolve the root problem – fragmentation. Not even HALF of the fragmentation issues would exist if Google tightened the reigns and force manufacturers to not throw on their crappy UIs and core level android changes.

    • http://Website Gee

      That only helps from a software perspective, but what about hardware? All the different GPUs, CPUs, cameras, etc. App developers will still spend more money and time developing to support all the hardware they can and even then the Android market is still incapable to specifically target the devices. And it’s not only the third party apps either, Android JUST got optimized to take advantage of the Hummingbird – what about the Tegra 2? The upcoming rush off third generation chips from various OEMs? It’s a never ending problem.

      I’m NOT saying that it’s better but just to see the contrast, look at WP7. Microsoft choose to specifically target one hardware profile (the first gen Snapdragon) and even with the very weak Adreno 200 GPU it runs much smoother than Android on modern hardware. It’s the price Android will pay to have better variety (and market penetration).

      • http://Website sha

        Wp7uses adreno 205 (same than desire hd)
        And i would wait 1 year or 2 before agreeing with you because wp7 will not eternally run only on qualcomm chips and 800×480 screens

        • http://Website Arion

          current WP7 phones do not use an Adreno 205..they use the old snapdragons with Adreno 200 (Same as the Evo)…That said my Epic runs smoother then any WP7 phone I’ve tried :/

          As for standards, Open GL is a good standard for most modern be fair Intercept, Moment, Transform, Hero and etc won’t be able to take advantage of it..but they are low end phones so no one is expecting 3d games to run on them…

          But if EA puts out a game that doesn’t work on Galaxy S (Hummingbird), Droid X (OMAP), EVO (Snapdragon 1g) or G2 (Snapdragon 2g)..then what exactly are they targeting?!?!?

          I think what google needs to do is let developers set return windows, and let developers put how much mb extra is required to download..then test your connection speed and give an estimate how much time it would take to download the extra file..cause at 15min its a lose to both customers and developers..developers don’t want their apps rated 1 star either…

      • http://Website phred

        Actually under the hood they are all ARM cortex cpus. Humming bird ane snap dragon are just variations.They are all A

        The GPU is either the PowerVR SGX 5×0 or the Adreno 205. Both are open GL ES 2.0 parts.

        My plan is to target only the top 8 handsets which make up the majority of the user base. Dont get too crazy with your shaders and take advantage of the NEON simd instructions and you should be ok.

        • http://Website phred

          They are all ARM v7 is what that was meant to say!


  • http://Website brandon

    I don’t understand why Google doesn’t put more restrictions on android, people are knocking Google because the phone manufacturers are skimping on features and specs. It will be the end of android if this keeps happening. I myself have a mytouch 4g and everything on the market runs flawless, but my girlfriends aria cant handle angry birds for the life of it. Its not the developers fault and not Google’s. They need to step it up.

    • http://Website Mark

      Hey, Brandon. I totally see where you’re coming from. However, Android is open source for a reason. It’s open enough for manufacturers to manufacture whatever they want to a certain degree and open enough for consumers to make a choice on what Android phone they want/suits their lifestyle. If you want Google putting restrictions and forcing choices down your throat then I best suggest you switch to AT&T and get an iPhone as Jobs has already made sure what his customers can and can’t do on that phone.

      I’m sorry to hear about your gf’s Aria but that’s the thing with Android. You have to do some market research. When you pick a phone. Ask yourself. Do you see it receiving timely updates? What’s the manufacturer’s history on dishing out updates? What about the features? Can they hold out till the next big thing (which typically in the Android world is 6 months to a year)? If you want to run the top, processor tasking apps and games you have to make sure you get a phone with the processing power and features to handle all that. You can’t buy a netbook and expect it to run Age of Empires or Crysis smoothly. It just doesn’t work out….

      • http://Website damien

        I agree with what you’re saying about the need to do research with Android phones, but I also have to agree with Brandon when he says there should be at least a set of minimum specs. Maybe Google could still allow anyone to build Android phones, but require a set of minimum specs in order to use the Android or Google brand when marketing the phone?

        Here’s my example of getting bitten by Android fragmentation: One of my best friends, Edwina, wanted a smartphone, but didn’t want to pay the prices that Verizon charged and didn’t get good reception from AT&T and T-Mobile in her apartment. So, a couple of months ago, she switched from AT&T to Sprint and asked me how I liked my HTC EVO. She had used my phone before and loved it, but wished for a physical keyboard (she came from using a Blackberry that her previous job provided her). So she got the Galaxy S and loves it – with one big exception, she can’t use the Yahoo Mail app on her phone, which is one of the things she wanted most (alongside the Google Maps). This made me feel kind of silly because I recommended the phone to her. It’s one of the top-of-the-line phones out there – Android or otherwise.

        I’m not sure why Yahoo Mail’s app doesn’t work on that phone, but it’s an example of how fragmentation burns users – even those who do their research. My friend’s not a very big techie at all, but she read lots of reviews and used the phone before she brought it. Never would she or I have thought something as low-power as a Yahoo Mail app would be a problem. Google needs to get it together, because they risk making bad first impressions on average, run-of-the-mill customers.

        • Zacqary Adam Green

          Google does require a set of minimum specs to use the Android brand.

          Unfortunately, these minimum specs include things like “a camera” and “a screen.”

      • http://Website brandon

        I agree and understand completely to what you’re saying, I do tons of research on the phones and anything that I buy, my girlfriend on the other hand purchased the aria because it was small and cute haha. all im saying is for us people that understand there is a huge difference between a galaxy S or nexus device from a G1 or mytouch slide are ok with what android is, but people that pick up an android device because their friend has a super nice nexus S and they go with an LG optimus are going to be disappointed by the performance and not choose android the next time they buy a phone. there should at least be complete control over how the developer offers their app to phones, as well as a bigger return window but on the other hand I think google needs to set minimum specs for the phones released so people get a more complete idea of what android is.

  • http://Website Chris

    I agree with everyone on both aspects. The refund window needs to be at least 24 hours. I downloaded the initial games and didn’t know there was extra to download. I’m not in an area that has wifi or 3g and I won’t be until tomorrow so ill never know if these will work for my device. I’m just glad they where 99 cents instead of 5 dollars or I woulda been out of quite a bit of change. As far as fragmentation I really wish there was a default layout for android phones such as minimum requirements.break it down into two or three tiers. Low level mid level and high powered and make three versions of the game.

  • http://Website Francine Z

    My iPhone does not have these horrible problems. Thats what you get for mediocre fragmentation technology!!!

    • http://Website matt

      Yes but your phone cant even make calls and try running a 3d game on a 2g or 3g.

    • http://Website Mark

      Hey, Francine. Looks like you OD’d on the Apple Koolaid and got all delusional. Back away real slow from the computer. That’s it. Now go upstairs to the medicine cabinet and take a tablespoon from the silver bottle. Good girl. Now dial 9-1-1 and go sit in the corner and wait. When you see the flashing lights, open the front door. Remember not to hit the nice paramedics; they are only there to help.

    • http://Website Raptor007

      I had the iPhone (still have an iTouch) and guess being FORCED into Jobs view of the world is NOT something I wanted for a phone so I ditched it.

      Apple is not perfect and neither is Android, but I get a lot more options with Android than I do with Apple, starting with THE NETWORK.

      • http://Website darinw

        Well the network is about to change within a few weeks. You get a lot more shitty options with Android but name one Android app that can’t be done on the iPhone. Oh you can root Android and do XYZ? Well you can root iOS too. Blame Google instead of trying to blame Apple for every failing of Google and Android. Sheesh.

        • http://Website Dudeguy

          Plain and simple, though, you don’t need to root Android devices to get full functionality of the device. They come with a veritable array of choices, customization options, different launchers and wallpapers you can interact with and games that do work if you do your homework right. And you made a point, as well that Android devices can and do just about the same things as iOS devices, except when some games don’t work.

          And that, in my eyes, is still the developers fault(Sorry guys!). I’ve only recently got into swapping roms and whatnot on my vibrant and even after all these changes my phone still runs all my games and apps with full compatibility, but only because I’ve chosen to download and pay for apps from developers willing to go the extra mile to make sure everything is compatible.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the iPhone is a great phone, but I really think Android is much more than you give it credit for.

        • http://Website Riper

          Things you can’t do on iphone: Listen and react to phone state changes, use the software keyboard you prefer, use the message app you prefer.

    • Zacqary Adam Green

      You know what’s productive? Talking about how the iPhone is so much better than everything on an Android blog.

      That’s one of the best uses of your time in the entire universe.

  • http://Website sha

    The market right now is not ‘large game’ friendly at all. I amazed ea has even released nfs on it

  • http://Website bobby

    1. Hummingbirds
    2. Snapdragon G1 &2 (if on g1 but everygame I tried runs fine)
    3. Omap36xx
    4. Tegra 2

    1.800×480 and above

    Those should be the basic requirements for these high end 3d games

    oh android 2.x

  • http://Website Steffen

    I hate to say it but I really think the only long run solution is for Google to do what Microsoft does with WP7. Set specific guidelines for device manufacturers. In order to keep Android open they would just have to regulate which devices could have Google services. That way if a manufacturer really wanted to make a crappy device, it couldn’t have the android market, and wouldn’t add to the fragmentation.

    • http://Website AdamJ

      The new market filters should help because now developers can only make their apps visible to devices with specific requirements. As long as developers actually use these filters…

      • http://Website Steffen

        I agree that this will help developers, and stop some frustrations. However, from the perspective of an unsuspecting end user, I don’t think this stops “Fragmentation”.

        The average end user doesn’t know the difference between a Behold II and a Nexus S. They see Android phone, and think, “oh cool an Android phone, I want that.” Only to later find out that their phone sucks and doesn’t support all the cool apps their friends’ phone supports. The only way to stop this is to not allow manufacturers to make crappy phones.

    • http://Website Raptor007

      Good point, but too many secondary android markets are popping up, Verizon, AT&T, Amazon is rumored to be making one and who knows how many more. What I am worried about more is being forced (a la AT&T) to only install apps via d/l or from their specific market. Yes I can see carriers going that route to fully insure that all app purchases are under their strict control. No thank you. Luckily we have the wonderful AC Side loading machine app.

    • http://Website pm

      They almost need android and android lite.

      Full featured android — access to full store, and all apps, but has stricter minimum specs.
      Android lite — limited software, and is hardware dependent. You can’t even really call it android just an android experience.

      Just up the minimum requirement.

      I like the fact that I CAN download certain apps to improve the experience, I just hate that I have to. I mean the mail app is crappy, the keyboard is crappy. Google has some great software developers, and there are plenty of 3rd party apps that people like. Can we incorporate it into the releases.

      And its made worse because the manufacturers lock in other crappy software.

      Oh and I can’t update my software because my manufacturer (and service provider) used some special hardware or other requirements, and not included an open API to hook into so that any software update might work with the hardware

      I hate the fact that I can’t plug in my cable and sync. iPhone, you plugged it in, and everything was backed up. but at least with my evo, I have to use there software which only backsup contacts and calendar….. only works if I use Outlook, and I don’t even really need to worry about backing those up since I have the cloud — what about everything else. I have an 8 gig device… no I have a 1 gig device with 240 megs available, and an included 8 gig SD card that I could have bought myself.

      Sure, I can download and/or buy some 3rd party syncing and backup software–some of which require rooting–, but why?!?!?! Basic features like this should work out of the box.

      Ok, Android is 2 years behind apple, and they are playing catchup, but it should happen quicker because they have known targets, known goals, and stuff to copy er get logistic ideas from.

  • http://Website Kennon

    It’s a lot like the PC game market. Personally I kind of like how Gameloft does it. They have a drop down list of phones that a particular game is compatible with so you know before you buy if it should work or not.

  • http://Website Mark

    The 24 hour trial period was just perfect. It should NOT have been altered. Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to get 15 mins free time in our busy lives just to demo an app. At the least, if Google really wanted to reduce the refund time, it should have been 12 hours.

    Sidenote: I don’t know if it’s possible but I have an idea. Maybe Google or some developer can make a free app called “Checker” or something that basically checks an app/game to see if it is compatible with your phone. Just throwing ideas out there.

    • Noyabronok

      That’s a pretty good idea. This app would be much easier to write if we had access to device info when users leave ratings for a game on the market. Then you could average the rating per game/device and display with a confidence interval, which is based on the number of reviews, the rating of the game.

  • http://Website Miguel

    It sounds like you’re advocating for a closed system like the iphone. The developers can filer by device and off they choose not to then its there fault. Plus phones like the Galaxy S and nexus S are blocking their processor id. So whose fault is that?

    • http://Website Darwin

      WTF does the iPhone system have to do with this subject? Nothing thats what. Quit trying to diffuse blame somehow, anyhow, to Apple instead of Google where it belongs.

      • http://Website miguel

        The reason there is so-called fragmentation is because Android is diverse. If you want 0 diversity and even less innovation then go with one phone and one spec sheet.

        I’m sure developers don’t mind having access to hundreds of millions of fragmented android devices versus a fraction of that number that use a closed system.

    • http://Website Raptor007

      If the developer can in fact list the devices that work with their app(s) and they fail to do so, then the refund should process through within 24 hours. If the manufacturer hides critical device ID information from the developers like the processor id (why are they doing this to begin with?) then the device should be automatically blocked by the developer and a note should be posted explaining that the app cannot be verified and if they want the app they should contact the mfg support line and complain.

      Dev’s want to sell apps, Google wants more phones sold, the manufacturers are always going to cut corners (so does Apple, look at each version of the iPhone and how little it really improved from 1-3, finally 4 is a big update but drops more calls) and they should be called out on it.

      What really matters here is the F-Word as Google refers to it and if they want it to go away, Eric Schmidt & Co. need to grow a pair of balz and fix it.

  • http://Website watbetch

    The solution is to only offer certain apps to certain devices that can handle these apps.

  • daveloft

    I think you have it all wrong. Check my blog for what I think is really going on. hint it’s got nothing to do with fragmentation.

    • Mark

      The huge list of “unsupported” phones in the comments left me baffled. How many other phones are left if so many aren’t supported? EVO, G2, Droid X, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy S phones (I probably missed some)

      Are Nexus One, Nexus S, Droid 2, and Droid Incredible really the only supported phones? (I probably forgot some here too, but still)

      EA evading fault by blaming “fragmentation” when a botched update was the true culprit sounds much more likely to me.

      • daveloft

        EA hasn’t said anything. All this is just advocated by the writer of this article. I don’t know what list you speak of but it worked great on my Galaxy S till the latest patch. I’m certain it will only take a patch to fix the game for many devices. They simply need to just undue whatever they changed in the last update.

        • Mark

          When I said “list” I just meant the phones mentioned by users in the app reviews. The point I was trying to make was that all these phones MUST be meant to be supported as they’re all the high end phones that would be supported.

          And I just assumed EA released something blaming “fragmentation” from the way the article reads.

          I usually really respect AaM, but this article is pretty obviously a huge over reaction. Thanks for pointing it out.

          • http://Website Ryan McKay

            I cannot express how much I agree with the term “over-reaction” If every phone people claimed didn’t work actually didn’t work, there wouldn’t be any phones left.

            I think the bigger issues here is we’re giving users too much credit. Someone complained about buying NFS shift on their tab. The description of the game clearly states will not work on tab, tablet version coming soon. Yet they scream foul and as with the better majority of the human race they follow the new golden rule. “Its not my fault, its yours.”

  • http://Website frag me ntation

    im done with faildroid….they run out of excuses soon….

  • http://Website riknos

    I believe that Google should allow handset makers to do what they want with the phones the make as long as they meet some baseline hardware requirements that are nessecary for decent performance. (I would have to say that the nexus one hardware is what I would set for a minimum)

  • http://Website Micah

    What was wrong with the 24 hour refund anyways? An app that is worth it isn’t going to be refunded EVEN if you have 24 hours to do so. I still think google needs to increase the size of apps, even if it’s just apps that are categorized as “games.” Regardless, I’m still not letting gameloft off so easy, I want the game that I pay for to work for me on all my future devices. The market is the most convenient and easy way to do that.

  • http://Website Deon

    I hate to admit it but Microsoft got it right by taking the best of both Android and iOS. The problem with iOS is that it’s available only on iPhone (and iPod but nearly the same). There’s no variety, no choice on manufacturer. The problem with HTC is that there are too many choices and too many variances and very little quality control. Fragmentation. One Android device may rock, but another could absolutely suck. So Microsoft allows Windows Mobile 7 to work across various carriers (HTC, LG, etc.) like Android, but they have built a factory to stress test the hell out of all the devices that will carry WinMo7, they have robotics push the buttons a thousand times, they look for crashes, stability, consistency, etc. and only after it passes a rigorous test does it get allowed to go public w/ WinMo7 on it. I’m not Pro WinMo7, I love my Android phone but I do have a high end one with good specs and such, I have used Android tablets that downright suck and older Android phones which couldn’t do half the things mine could. I can imagine from a developers standpoint how frustrating it must be to support such a myriad of Android devices.

    • http://Website Deon

      Ever wonder if Google bit off more than it can chew? They’ve taken a real beating with Android. I mean they’ve learned a lot, they’ve done a lot, etc. but their slow response time when there was that payment issue thing a month ago, and their poor support, and seemingly lack of response to a lot of developers and users needing help, seems to indicate they’ve become overwhelmed. This thing is growing at such a rapid pace I wonder if they were truly prepared for it. But being as big and powerful as they are, they really should have the money to just throw more personnel at the problem, until it’s not a problem anymore. I remember Google and Apple’s relationship used to be tight, until Google decided they wanted to break into the phone market, and Apple didn’t like that idea one bit, now their relationship is strained. Wonder if Google could go back, if they’d do it again.

  • Tony Allen

    That screenshot has nothing, nothing to do with fragmentation.. merely a game developer that isn’t supporting particular devices.

    • http://Website Ryan McKay

      No idea why you got downvoted. Your statement is very accurate.

  • http://Website Ben Johnson, GA

    Thats why i have a flawless iPhone 4. I dont want to be second-best.

    sent from my iPhone 4

    • http://Website J-Man

      Obvious troll is Obvious. :)

    • http://Website tommy_chooi

      dude, ppl are discussing on the android platform. No one here care if your iphone4 is the best or not, the rest of the iphone are just all the same thing.

    • http://Website Ozzzy3z

      Too bad the iPhone isn’t “flawless” otherwise many of us would have one. Both platforms are awesome and flawed – just in different ways. I simply prefer what Android has to offer over Apple. Call it personal preference.

  • http://Website J-Man

    But at least Google are doing something about it, by giving new tools to Devs to filter out phones etc.

    Believe me kids, it’ll get better. Openness will triumph in the end.

  • http://Website Andrea90

    I rather get an iphone…no hassle, trouble-free, better games, superior iOS


  • tahsin

    Step-by-step easy steps of application of game tactics. There are simple and straightforward methods of free bonuses also have a strategy wow schools for ideas.

  • http://Website Jeffster

    From the pictures, it seems like the game supports no phones whatsoever. None of the Galaxy S phones, not Motorola’s phones, or even the Evo.

  • http://Website brigini

    what does fragmentation have to do with this game not working if it doesnt work on ANY 2.2 device or 2.1??? In this list of comments alone there were a multitude of firmware versions, but most were 2.2? If it doesnt work on DX, fascinate, Evo, G2 or the Tab what does it work on??

  • Tre

    Above is a link proving that the fragmentation is a huge problem… Google should make game development much easier to work with on their platform because Gaming is the only gap I see between iphone users and android users… Once this issue is fixed Android will be sure to rise above IOS… (even though Android is better anyways)

  • http://Website FMMobile

    great post,

    I’m about to launch my app and code works fine, but some people can’t open in this devices.

    Why prevent this, if the APk is the same?

    Big problem for programers!

  • thechad

    good article thanks