The problem with fragmentation
Device fragmentation is an issue because diversity has always been an issue. Diversity of opinion or culture often leads to friction or in some cases conflict; that’s not to say we can’t strive for peace, it will come one day I’m sure.
Fred, being a VC, knows all about investment diversification; so from that perspective at least, he may be right. However, as a designer, my primary concern is understanding the device I’m creating a profitable — or otherwise — experience for. With almost 300 different (form factor and quality) Android devices available, building something of real value becomes an incredibly inefficient pursuit. With Android, we’re forced to make a lot of uncomfortable presumptions, exponentially more than normal, or than with iOS shall we say. Understanding device form factor, the quality of hardware and the expectations of users go a long way to informing the quality and sensitivity of a product. Without this understanding, fragmentation forces upon us a very average, or lowest common denominator experience.
Designed in tandem with their subtle realization, the most successful products are finely tuned to the nuances of their implementation. Software is a designed product, but when it’s forced to transplant itself into an alien device, the risk of rejection can only increase.
Humans always want to feel understood, not only by other humans but by the cosmos at large; when something, absolutely anything, inhibits that understanding, or when it’s lost in translation, humans pick up on that and carry it around until something better comes along.