Open Signal visualizes a complex problem with strong analytics. 

We’re big supporters of open source visualization. We use tools like d3.js to draw great representative imagery around complex data scenarios all the time. We also love Google and the open source cellphone monolith, Android. Open Signal is a great app that helps users find the best wireless coverage in their area. Being smart dudes, Open Signal also tracks which Android device you use and helps to draw maps on how that device should perform in a particular geozone. Check out what they did with the data. The results are absolutely beautiful. The objective of this story is to explain how rampant device and operating system build fragmentation has become in the Android community, but if you click around the site you’ll be rewarded with a ton of cool viz.

From the Open Signal article:

Fragmentation is both a strength and weakness of the Android ecosystem, a headache for developers that also provides the basis for Android’s global reach. Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with vastly different performance levels and screen sizes. Furthermore, there are many different versions of Android that are concurrently active at any one time, adding another level of fragmentation. What this means is that developing apps that work across the whole range of Android devices can be extremely challenging and time-consuming.

Despite the problems, fragmentation also has a great number of benefits – for both developers and users. The availability of cheap Android phones (rarely running the most recent version) means that they have a much greater global reach than iOS, so app developers have a wider audience to build for. Android is successfully filling the gap left behind by the decline of Nokia’s Symbian – and in this report we look at the different shape of fragmentation in countries from different economic positions, as a way of showing that fragmentation benefits Android much more than it hurts it. Android is now the dominant mobile operating system and this is because of fragmentation, not in spite of it.

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