According to a recent article on FierceDeveloper, CEO Steve Jobs has criticized other operating systems, specifically Android, regarding the increasing number of Android iterations in the wild.
Ironically earlier this week we saw the release of iOS 4.2, the latest version of the operating system for the iPhone and iPad, with indications that another update could be just a month away. From a testing perspective reactions are likely to be mixed. Several developers will welcome certain bug fixes and new features whilst some will sigh and begrudgingly begin to update their iOS applications to work on another plethora of device combinations heralded by this latest update.
The Android OS is also expecting an announcement later this week with the launch of Android 2.3, a.k.a. “Gingerbread,” which may also prompt trepidation amongst the developer community already struggling to keep up with the rest of the Android iterations in the wild. New features such as the integration of Near Field Communications technology, which will allow users to make retail purchases via their smartphone or share content with other users, clearly open up new exciting opportunities for developers but also the possible requirement of making multiple versions.
One example of Android fragmentation prompting multiple versions of an application being created was publicized this week on FierceDeveloper. Rovio Mobile, the company behind the Angry Birds franchise, stated that it will develop a lightweight version in response to a wave of negative consumer feedback. The company currently lists more than a dozen Android smartphones that the current version of the game does not support with older, lower-performance handset models being played by performance issues.
As an increasing number of operating systems, handset specifications and the introduction of new network technologies come into play, the fragmentation of these “new” OS platforms is likely to continue. With strong developer relations being a core factor in their success, they will need to develop tools to ease development pains or risk losing market momentum.