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Survey says most developers cite Android fragmentation as problematic

by Phil Hornshaw

This is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but a new survey says that a vast majority of Android developers find fragmentation of the operating system over multiple devices to be a problem for them.

According to a story from Pocket Gamer, a survey conducted by Braid Research of 250 developers found that 86 percent identify fragmentation to be a problem with Android. Fragmentation is an issue created by the open source nature of the Google (GOOG) Android OS. Since carriers are free to adapt the software to their needs and their various devices, not all devices can run the same apps. That forces developers to either create multiple versions of their apps, or lose out on potentially big portions of the Android market by letting some devices go without them.

But that doesn’t mean that developers aren’t making apps for Android, because according to the same survey, they are: of the developers polled, 71 percent now develop for Android, which is about 9 percent higher than the number who said they develop for Apple’s (AAPL) iOS platform. But the developers working on Android aren’t necessarily happy about it because of the notorious difficulties of working on the platform. But Android currently holds better than 30 percent of smartphone market share, so developers are left either working on it, or abandoning the largest group of smartphone users in the U.S. and other countries.

Not every developer claimed Android fragmentation was a showstopping problem for them, however. The survey breaks things down even further, finding that 24 percent of the surveyed developers brand fragmentation as a “huge problem.” Conversely, around 13 percent said it was only “somewhat of a problem.” Fourteen percent said fragmentation wasn’t a problem at all, 17 percent labeled it as “a problem,” and 33 percent said it was a “meaningful problem.”

Developers prefer the single-store approach of iOS, the survey says, which developers believe also has better app discovery tools, which make their apps easier to find.

Sony might release new Honeycomb tablet this summer

Speaking of fragmentation, rumor has it from Bloomberg that Sony’s (SNE) VAIO team is working on a tablet that will hit shelves in the summer.

The 9.4-inch display tab will be PlayStation-certified, meaning it will use Sony’s PlayStation Suite service for Android that lets users play old PlayStation games on specific devices, as well as against other certified devices over the Internet. It’ll also pack the NVIDIA (NVDA) Tegra 2 chip inside.

According to Engadget, the device will include two touch panels, one on the front and one on the back, making the tablet look “like a magazine folded backward on itself.” Not really sure what that means, but it certainly sounds intriguing.