This whole post should just be a single tweet, but somehow it doesn't feel safe to say anything comparing Android and iOS development, even implicitly, without five paragraphs full of disclaimers. First, here's the tweet:
Developers complaining about fragmentation on the Android platform are like fashion designers complaining about size fragmentation on the human body.
Expanding on that I'd say, yes, it's easier to make something that fits beautifully if you know the exact size and shape you're targeting and don't have to think about how it will look on other form factors / body shapes. Some designers create clothes for only the fashion model body shape, and some create clothes that fit a wider variety of body shapes.
An average Android application that doesn't do anything particularly out of the norm visually and avoids undocumented behaviors, does just fine on any device at its target version or later. It might not be visually stunning, but it's worth noting that "just fine" is always available, and plenty of great apps have taken it.
On the other hand, developers that reach for visual excellence on the Android platform do have a hard row to hoe, in the same way that making clothing that's flattering on all body shapes is very hard. Things have to be extensively tweaked and tested. If you're building Glipboard or a game engine on Android, then I totally get that the variety of resolutions, form factors, and input options makes your job harder.
To be clear, I'm not drawing any analogies between iOS devices and fashion models excepting the uniformity of shape/form factor, and I'm not saying anything particularly negative about designers that stop at size two or developers that only do iOS.
I'm just saying that Android fragmentation isn't inherently a problem, and that while it makes stunningly beautiful applications harder, it doesn't make the basic "getting stuff done" application that represents 99% of both the iOS and Android app stores any harder. Most iOS and Android apps are just using the usual controls in the usual way, and wouldn't be affected by Android fragmentation in any meaningful way.
Background: Just to put it out there I've developed a lot of software, but very little for both iOS and Android. I've bought two iOS devices and three Android devices, and like and dislike different things about both platforms. I know nothing more about fashion design than I've learned watching a few seasons of project runway and shopping with non-size-zero women.
Any discussion here please.
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