Eric Schmidt, chief of Google, as part of the talk that presented the Nexus S, denied once more that there was a problem of fragmentation for Android. He tried to convince the audience at the Web 2.0 Summit that his company was using an appropriate approach to keep phone producers in line and that the contracts made with the Open Handset Alliance were good enough to prevent a splintering of the Android Market. He said that applications on Android Market worked across phones.
Google’s CEO also rejected a complaint about some features missing in older Android versions by explaining that their absence was not the same thing as fragmentation.
These statements contradicted directly criticism from the industry and evidence from the company itself as well. The company’s usage trackers have mentioned Voice Actions or many of the newer applications or application features.
Netflix also brought fragmentation into discussion when blaming DRM fragmentation for an Android application missing, while iPhones and the just-launched Windows Phone 7 devices have Netflix viewing already available. With no copy protection consistent across different operating system versions and even from a device to another, Android has let Netflix to negotiate with phone designers and add code for each individual device, while Microsoft and Apple used a different approach, namely write-once and use-everywhere.
Cross-device application support was also weakly represented, many applications needing special accommodations for less usual resolutions, such as Motorola’s 480×854, and also physical keyboards, as well as specific software and hardware combinations.
Although Google has denied fragmentation, it has seen support weaker. These repeated denials were used by Apple to attack Android’s weakness. CEO Steve Jobs accused Google of not being honest on the topic of openness and has put the debate in terms of integrated devices, such as the iPhone, versus fragmentation of Android.