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Android Market Fragmentation A Major Problem for Users

Rececnt changes to Android Market has brought the issue of platform fragmentation to the fore and left some users with frustration. “The updates to 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 willn’t 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,” according to Android and Me “many users who downloaded a number of EA Mobile and Gameloft games, as both were unable to fit their games within Google’s 50MB limit, have devised systems that download the remainder of a game’s content – often hundreds of megabytes in size – after the initial purchase is completed.

Many users who downloaded a number of games including Need for Speed: Shift, The Sims 3, Tetris and Fifa 10 were only informed their devices were incompatible with the apps after downloading.

Users were frustrated to discover that the second ”extra” download often took more than 15 minutes, putting them outside the Android Market’s 15-minute refund window. Whether or not the app will work at all can only be determined after both the Android Market and the ”extra” download have finished. It remains to be seen if Google will eventually provide developers with a way to ensure users cannot even begin to download an app which’s incompatible with their handset.


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