preventative versus corrective

Ars Technica: Google frags fragmentation with Fragments API for older Android versions

In a post on the Android developer blog, Google has announced the availability of a new static library for Android developers that provides a more portable implementation of the Fragments API. This will allow third-party Android application developers to take advantage of Fragments without having to sacrifice backwards compatibility with existing Android handsets.

This brings to mind the difference between preventative and corrective healthcare. The United States has been seeing a diabetes epidemic with more and more people being diagnosed with it each year. The reaction to this is just that – to react with corrective treatment. One way to respond to this problem is reducing the amount of corn-based products on the shelves of our super markets so people don’t grow to be so fat, putting them in the high-risk category.
Google’s Android platform is becoming fragmented across the various hardware units it’s being deployed on and they too are reacting. Perhaps a better approach would be to design a more scalable system less prone to fragmentation. As it stands now, Android phones being built by various hardware manufacturers have different screen resolutions, proportions and hardware button configurations.
Apple solved this problem not only by controlling both the software and hardware, but to limit the number of different hardware configurations. All iPhones and iPod Touches feature the same screen proportions (they were all 320×480 pixels prior to the iPhone, which has double the resolution – 640×980 pixels).
We can’t future-proof everything, let alone technology, but a little design thinking can go along way.