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Summary:

The Angry Birds phenomenon just keeps rocking the mobile world, and soon a second Android version will be rocking low-end handsets with older versions of the OS. Performance issues are forcing Rovio to develop this version to address the diversity of devices running Android today.

Angry Birds

The Angry Birds phenomenon just keeps rocking the mobile world, and soon a second Android version will be rocking low-end handsets with older versions of the OS. Rovio Mobile blogged today that many owners of Android handsets — those running older versions of the OS in particular — are reporting problems running the game. These performance issues are forcing Rovio to develop a second Android version of Angry Birds that can run properly on these cheaper phones.

The version under development is a lightweight version designed to run on Android phones with lesser processors and older Android versions according to Rovio:

So far, we have hesitated to create multiple versions of Angry Birds for the Android platform. But judging by the feedback we have received, we feel that by providing a lightweight solution, we are doing a favour for our fans.

We are currently developing a lighter solution to run Angry Birds on lower end Android devices. This does not mean lighter gameplay or a lesser amount of levels, but a game experience optimized for devices with less processing power.

Having two versions of a game like Angry Birds once again raises the concerns that Android is too fragmented for developers to support properly. There are still several versions of Android on consumer devices, and developers must choose to do what is necessary to support the older versions (like Rovio), or simply restrict their apps to later versions of the OS.

The situation is improving with 77 percent of devices in the world now running either Android 2.1 or 2.2, both of which should run Angry Birds fine on proper hardware according to Rovio. Google has advanced Android at such a fast pace that fragmentation was inevitable, but hopefully a more sedate release pace for future versions of the OS will improve that. It’s hard to fault Google for fragmentation, as the fast development track is no doubt responsible for the major impact Android has created in the mobile space. Like Angry Birds, Android is a force in the mobile segment that can’t be stopped.

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  1. These seem like growing pains to me. And not very bad ones. As hardware changed across iPhone releases you saw similar things. The big difference is that Apple controls its silo. They can managed perception of differences. But in the long run that also limits their ability to differentiate themselves thus limiting the size of their market. I don’t see how this is much different then the silo that they have created in the general purpose computer market.

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