Google Gives Android Fragmentation a Giant Thumbs Up

One of the most immediate (and valid) criticisms of the Android bonanza is its fragmentation problem. Too many versions! It's confusing! So what could Google do to rein in the software panoply? Allow multiple versions of apps? Hmm.

The initiative has good intentions—instead of having one version of an app (APK) that might not be suited for every piece of Android hardware (which it very often isn't!), devs can tailor their releases to fit a variety of hardware hosts. An APK for every occasion! Download a game on your phone, get one APK—download the same game on your tablet, get another APK. The varieties are all contained under the same name in the Android Market, so you won't have to go fishing for the right one. So this could potentially make fragmentation more immense, but immensely less shitty.

Or it could just make it more immense. We're hoping devs use the newfound app-splitting power to do what Google hopes they'll do with it, rather than dropping sloppy permutations of their app for the whole Android family. [Android Developers Blog via Engadget]