Google Has A Plan To Solve The Fragmentation Problem Of Android: Is 'Android Extensions' The Answer? : TECH : Tech Times

One of the biggest problems regarding Google's Android is the fragmentation found among the devices powered by the mobile operating system.

It was reported earlier in the year that Google might start shaming Android device makers who are late in rolling out updates to the operating system. Due to vendors not releasing updates on time, the adoption rate of the latest versions of the operating system are going slow, leading to Android users being on different versions.

The Android Fragmentation Problem

Fragmentation not only prevents users from accessing the latest features that Google has rolled out for Android but also exposes users stuck on earlier versions of the operating system to vulnerabilities that may have been found.

According to statistics from Google's Android team, only 0.3 percent of Android device owners are on Android 7.0 Nougat. Users on Android 6.0 Marshmallow make up 24 percent, while those on Android 5.1 Lollipop and Android 5.0 Lollipop make up 22.8 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. Alarmingly, the outdated Android 4.4 KitKat has the highest percentage among all major Android versions at 25.2 percent.

Google, however, might now have a plan to address the fragmentation issue once and for all. In the Android 7.0 Compatibility Definition Document, which the company has now published after over two months from the release of Android 7.0 Nougat, Google mentioned something called Android Extensions.

Android Extensions The Solution To Fragmentation?

The section describing Android Extensions discussed a new system that will extend the functionality of Android through shared libraries that device manufacturers will be forced to include in the versions of the operating system that they install in their products.

The theory is that Android Extensions can be used by Google to bypass carriers and manufacturers to push out operating system updates to all Android devices at the same time. While the APKs, which are connected to these Android Extensions, are currently mostly blank in the Google Pixel and the LG V20, Google could use them to push out updates to Android without requiring full system updates.

An Improved Android On The Horizon

If Android Extensions turns out to be the solution to fragmentation, Google might see even more success with its operating system. Android dominated the third quarter, with 88 percent of smartphones shipped powered by Google's operating system compared to only 12 percent for Apple's iOS.

Google has also started implementing an updated user interface for the Google Play Store, with a revamped main page and a larger install button for apps, among many other changes.

Coming together, all the updates and improvements being added to Android point to a better experience in the near future for users on the mobile operating system.

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