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Angry Birds struggle to take on Androids

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Angry Birds developer Rovio is mulling creating multiple versions for different Android handsets, as fragmentation of the platform causes headaches for anyone not using Adobe's Flash.

Angry Birds is hugely popular on iOS, and was eagerly anticipated for Android, but the fragmentation of the Android platform has prompted Rovio company to post a list of 17 handsets on which Angry Birds just won't work. It also announced that it's working on a lightweight version for the differently-able handsets.

No such problems over at the BBC, which has pulled the iPlayer streams used by third-party android app myPlayer, claiming the cross-platform capabilities of Adobe's Flash make platform-specific versions redundant - excepting iOS, and BlackBerry, of course.

It's true that with Froyo installed and the latest Flash client downloaded, iPlayer does indeed work on Android without the need for a native application; and the BBC reckons that supporting the fragmented Android platform would be impractical without having Adobe's technology.

But that's what Rovio is being forced to do as users continue to expect every Android application to work on every Android handset. Rovio reckons that by creating a lightweight version it's "doing a favour for [its] fans", which is very altruistic of the company. We can only hope the additional advertising revenue will go some way towards rewarding Rovio's commitment to the fans.

Still, the fragmentation problem is only going to get worse, especially as Android devices spread into the tablet space. The 24-hour trial period offered by Google's Android Marketplace helps; but the Marketplace is going to have to evolve to provide more compatibility information, and developers are going to have to spend more time understanding the limitations of the hardware if we're not going to return to the arcane technical requirements that used to adorn the sides of software boxes. ®

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