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Thursday, February 24, 2011

RANT: Android Fragmentation and Lack of Minimum Requirements

This is an open letter to Google Android division and ALL Android Developers:

Start specifying MINIMUM HARDWARE requirements! 

It's a fact, the best games on the market won't work on anything less than 1 GHz CPU and 512MB of RAM

Take Glu Game's GUN BROS for example. Looks to be a great little game... But tremendous footprint. You also need to download ANOTHER 80 MB of data. 

It won't work on my Motorola Droid, which has anemic CPU (though mine's overclocked), GPU, and memory, but it has a high-res screen. Got to the menus, then it's "crash to launcher". 

Yet there is NO hardware requirements in the game description! I wasted bandwidth AND time downloading the stuff! 

Same with EA's Need for Speed: Shift for Android. 

And most games that has a huge footprint. Will NOT run on my Droid. 

It has the latest stable Android: 2.2.1, which MOST Android phones and devices get, so it is NOT the OS. It is the hardware. 

Don't take me wrong. I do NOT want the developers to develop for old wimpy phones. 

I want them to LABEL THEIR GAMES BETTER. If it was designed for 1 GHz CPU and 512MB RAM, SAY SO! 

And Google can easily come up with a specification, like "Hardware Level 1" "Level 2", and so on. Just keep on adding levels as new hardware come out. However, they don't seem to want to. 

I have personally identified the following levels:

Gen 1: T-Mobile G1 / Motorola Droid -- 192 to 256 MB RAM, 500-600 MHz CPU

Gen 2: Samsung Intercept -- 384 MB RAM, 600 MHz CPU?

Gen 3: HTC Evo, DINC, Droid X, etc.  -- 512 MB, 1 GHz CPU

Gen 4: Thunderbolt, Bionic, Atrix, etc.  -- 768 MB or 1024MB, dual core 1 GHz CPU

Gen 5: Quadcore? 

It appears that the level of RAM is the most reliable indicator for the phone's Android generation. 

Most apps on Android will not care about memory or CPU, but games do. And they need to create a standard if there is none. 

And that concludes my rant. 

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