Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What's in a Word?

There's some interesting discussion on ModeratorBuzz, Twitter, and in the comments of my last post asking you guys to tell me what you mean when you say "fragmentation".

My theory (stolen shamelessly from Dan Morrill) is that the term has been overloaded to the point of uselessness. The aim of my previous post is to unwrap the (genuine) concerns hidden within this term to allow us to discuss them without dissolving into an argument over the semantic meaning of one word.

I'm going to let the discussion continue for a while but I'll definitely respond to some of the most prominent / popular(?) issues soon. In the meantime I wanted to highlight some tweets I got from NinjaCyborg on Twitter.

He raises some interesting points, which I'll respond to, but I wouldn't have considered any of them to be good examples of fragmentation. For the most part you could happily substitute "openness" or "annoying" depending on your point of view:
  • Fragmentation is launching apps that only run on the new OS release when the previous one barely had a 6 month lifecycle.
  • Fragmentation is allowing licensees to ship hardware that isn't powerful enough to run your OS and makes web apps crawl
  • Fragmentation is changing the browser location API in between 1.6 and 2.0
  • Fragmentation is not including basic APIs for things like Bluetooth OBEX so we have to hit the hardware. OBEX is a basic, fundamental part of Bluetooth. Not complying with the standards == fragmentation
  • Fragmentation is pretending most Android users are on 2.1+ when there are still phones being sold on 1.5 and 1.6 with no upgrade
  • Fragmentation is letting your licensees choose whether to have browser chrome or fullscreen browsing
That doesn't make his questions any less valid, but it does demonstrate just how overloaded the term "fragmentation" is.

[To make keeping track easier, comments for this post are closed. Please use Moderator or the comments from the previous blog post to continue the discussion]