Sencha Tackles Google Android Fragmentation

As the Google Android platform becomes more popular after this holiday season, more developers are going to be asked to create applications that run on it. The trouble is: there are so many variations of Google Android that the cost of supporting that platform is considerably higher than it is for Apple iOS.

To address that issue, Sencha has created Sencha Space 1.2, which enables HTML5 developers to deploy a run-time environment that is consistent across all Google Android devices.

As part of the update, Sencha is also making available Sencha Space APIs that enable everything from allowing applications running in different instances of Sencha Space to securely communicate and share data with one another to a sensor API that provides access to a wide variety of device types.

According to Nick Harlow, director of product management for Sencha Space, Sencha Space 1.2 automatically optimizes the application being developed to the platform it runs on, eliminating the need to manually configure screen sizes. That capability also makes it simpler to centralize the management of those applications, says Harlow.

In general, Google Android platforms have been gaining traction: interest in the smartphone and phablet categories has increased significantly. Apple still dominates the market in terms of total mobile devices deployed, but in terms of momentum, Google Android devices have been picking up steam. Harlow says Sencha Space is designed to reduce the total cost of both developing and maintaining applications that run on any Google Android device.

That’s critical in IT environments where the team of people who develop mobile computing applications are often the same individuals charged with updating and maintaining them.

Of course, when it comes to Google Android, fragmentation of the operating environment also serves to limit adoption. For example, the latest “Lollipop” version of Google Android is running on only 0.5 percent of the Google platforms. But if it becomes easier to develop applications across multiple instances of Android, it’s probable that organizations that support Android would move faster to deploy the latest version of the platform.

With over 18,000 types of Google Android devices in the market, obviously Google Android is not a platform developers can ignore. But there’s also no getting around the fact that it represents a much bigger commitment in terms of time and effort than iOS. Developers need to start figuring out ways to minimize the time it takes to build applications for this platform — if for no other reason than this: for every minute spent optimizing an application for one instance of Google Android, the amount of time left to address the rest of the market declines.
 

Michael Vizard
 

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