Fragmentation is a recurring issue that haunts the Android ecosystem in many ways. While Google’s latest version of the Android platform was intended in large part to address the issue — which many believe to have peaked when the software giant launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb and maintained two entirely separate versions of Android for smartphones and tablets — Ice Cream Sandwich has not yet done its job. Four-and-a-half months since its debut, only 1% of Android devices currently run the unified Android 4.0 operating system according to Google’s own data. To compound matters, a recent report suggested Google may launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean as soon as this summer. There is no question that fragmentation is a real issue for the Android platform, but is it really as big a deal as some make it out to be? More →
Budget Android handsets are poised to takeoff in 2011, a new report from Digitimes suggests. The firm states that it expects 20 million to 25 million entry-level Android handsets – defined as devices priced below $150 – will be sold globally in 2011. That figure is up from the 2.5 million to 3 million that were sold in 2010. Digitimes suggests that chips designed in China and Taiwan will drive white box OEMs to create budget-conscious handsets that will be attractive in emerging markets. An estimated 10 million to 13 million of those handsets are expected to be sold in China alone. Digitimes is known for having a mixed track record, but we do know that Android handsets — such as LG’s Optimus — were priced in the $100 range on many U.S. carriers. Similarly, last night Boost Mobile announced its new $179.99 Samsung Galaxy Prevail handset, which will be an attractive option for prepaid buyers. More →
In a report titled Emerging Wireless Consumer Devices published this month by Berg Insight, the firm claims that sales of connected consumer devices will grow 77% in 2011. Berg estimates that 22 million consumer devices with embedded cellular connectivity were sold in 2010, and that number will nearly double in 2011 to 39 million. In 2015, Berg thinks over 270 million connected consumer devices will be sold globally, representing a compound annual growth rate of 65%. The category, as defined by Berg, includes devices with integrated cellular connectivity such as tablets and eReaders, and it excludes cell phones. The firm also notes that connected portable gaming consoles such as Sony’s NGP will be a new and significant entrant into the category later this year.