BlackBerry 10 Fragmentation?
Everyone knows that RIM likes to provide options when it comes to smartphones. Just take a look at the list of Blackberry Devices currently available. That is a grand total of 23 smartphones! And that is excluding all the devices running OS older than 5.0. With a variety of screen resolutions and aspect ratios, you can see why it was such a headache for the average developer to make BB applications. But that is in the past. BlackBerry demonstrated at this year's BlackBerry World Conference that they are "laser focused" on getting BB10 out on time and not only that, but doing it well. We have already seen a preview of what is to come and every day that passes we are getting one step closer to getting BB10 finally in our hands.
A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post from an Android developer who offers an app called "Open Signal Maps." There, they share their views on what fragmentation means to the Android community. They also provide insightful information about the model of the phone, the operating system, and also the screen resolution of the devices that downloaded their app. Although this report is most certainly outdated by now, it still give us plenty to think about.
For starters, let's leave BB7 and older devices in the past. Moving forward, we know that the PlayBook already has the basics of what will ultimately become BlackBerry 10. Other than this, the only other device capable of running BB10 is the Developer Alpha device being distributed at the various BlackBerry Jam Tour locations over the course of this summer.
It can be argued that this already created a bit of fragmentation for BB10 since the DevAlpha has a resolution of 1280x768 in comparison to the 1024x600 screen of the PlayBook. Pixel density is important but let's just note that the difference in pixels is very minimal and could easily be adjusted by a seasoned dev. What is more exciting is that QNX with Cascades is so powerful, a developer can provide "screen profiles" to render GUI elements on the screen dynamically depending on what the detected output is. At the "native track" of the Santa Clara BB10 Jam, it was mentioned that BB10 could essentially detect it was connected to an HDMI 1080p monitor or screen and build a GUI for that resolution if the developer takes the time to add that display profile. Remember the "stereoscopic display" demo back at BlackBerry Mobile World Congress 11? Cascades now makes it possible for any developer to create dynamic display settings for different outputs with minimal effort. It was also hinted that there will be other devices with different aspect ratios and that Developers should take advantage of Cascade's versatility for building elegant and functional GUI's that add to the BlackBerry Flow experience.
So, will there be fragmentation in BB10? You can bet there will be, but rest assured, it will not be as horrendous and as widespread as it is on Android.