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Friday March 4, 2011 5:33 pm
Google releases tool to address Android fragmentation
Google on Thursday expanded its Fragments API to applications running older versions of Android, meaning apps that are compatible with Android 1.6 or higher can tap into Fragments to create apps that work on larger-screened devices like tablets.
Though Android has been growing in popularity recently among handset and tablet makers, the main complaint about the OS has been its fragmented nature. At this point, about 57.6 percent of Android devices are running version 2.2, followed by 2.1 at 31.4 percent. About 6.3 percent are still on Android 1.6, according to the Android Developers site.
To address this, Google introduced the Android Fragments API in early February as part of Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
"Android 3.0 further helps applications adjust their interfaces with a new class called Fragment," Dianne Hackborn, a Google software engineer, wrote in a February 3 blog post. "A Fragment is a self-contained component with its own UI and lifecycle; it can be-reused in different parts of an application's user interface depending on the desired UI flow for a particular device or screen."
At the time, however, the Fragment API was only available for Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Hackborn acknowledged that "the immediate need for many developers today is probably to design applications that they can provide for existing phones while also presenting an improved user interface on tablets." With it only available via 3.0, however, the "shorter-term utility is greatly diminished."
She said Google was working on a static library for older versions of Android, and that library is now available.
"Today we've released a static library that exposes the same Fragments API (as well as the new LoaderManager and a few other classes) so that applications compatible with Android 1.6 or later can use fragments to create tablet-compatible user interfaces," Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK tech lead, wrote in a separate blog post.
The library is available via SDK Updater under "Android Compatibility package."
This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc..
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