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A recent report states that are close to 4000 different hardware devices using the Android operating system. (link)
Another report says that Android now has 59% of the mobile market. (link)
Android, which started from a company that Google purchased many years ago, has become an operating system similar to Windows in it's diversity, it's complexity and it's fragmentation. But is there something wrong with this strategy.
Microsoft started it's phone strategy by charging a licensing fee to manufacturers as their way to make money off the operating system. If their product was superior, that may have continued. But today, Microsoft makes more money in the phone business from licensing agreements for patents in the mobile space paid by those manufacturers using ANDROID, then they do from their own operating platform. Of course, at this point - Microsoft's mobile strategy is lacking any vision other then stepping on itself with no revenue model insight.
Google is said to make $2B a year off the advertisements in Google Mobile Search. This number will increase over time as more people use mobile as a source of information with Google the embedded resource.
While Keeping it Simple Stupid is a good methodology for most businesses, Google has succeed where others would normally fail. Not without their own missteps across the way that challenge the original "Don't Be Evil" motto (which was a slam on Microsoft), Google has been a success at constantly innovating and tweaking. It's the hardware companies that have made this complex.
Compare phones to desktop computers. Bring your own hardware to the party and load a Windows Operating System. Did you know the there are still over 50% of uses on Windows XP that is over 10 years old? The desktop computer is as fragmented as the Android mobile space.
So, how can we relate all this information and the KISS principle to daily business?
The media, and in our lives, our peers often focus on the perceived negative -- when in reality, that negative may be a positive.
Fragmentation is a word often thrown around by developers and the like regarding Android. It's true. With almost 4000 devices all with different hardware specs, resolution, etc. it makes it hard for developers to create apps and websites that work across all devices - REGARDLESS of operating system. But where does the blame fall when something goes wrong... App Developer? Hardware? Google?
Most often when an app fails people blame the app. At other times, they feel the need to upgrade due to hardware. And sometimes people upgrade to get the latest operating system.
What professionals need to do is cut through the clutter and determine if what the perception of reality is -- is truly the reality -- and work with that truth. Move past the clutter and static, focusing on what is truly important for your situation and your success.
While KISS is a great principle that can be applied to many circumstances, it is sometimes the circumstance that provides the principle as opposed to the other way around. Think slow, assess from arms length, leave emotion at the door -- and determine the best path for the end result you desire.