Africa and the Fragmentation

Welcome to the hell on earth.

This is the place where we can find lots of mobile devices running Android. A lot more than iPhones.


Non-Pixels/-Androidones are aging prematurely. They lose their value a lot faster and so they are replaced a lot faster. As a consequence the e-waste exported to countries like Nigeria are against everything we know about keeping our planet alive.

Fixing bugs and security holes is a complicated business. You have to test with multiple operating system versions, hardware vendor interface layers, hardware configurations, and network capabilities. The testing matrix for Android-based devices can be a serious challenge, impacting your product’s quality, time-to-market, and in the end, profitability.

That fragmentation is tough on developers, the folks who make apps you love. When you’re making software for so many devices, it’s difficult to make sure your app works well for each unique piece of hardware. It’s part of the reason why Android still tends to get updates much later than iOS does (except a minority of devices running pure Android).

Less fragmentation (OS updates for 5-6 years) and hardware durability is the reason why Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment at Apple, told us about iDevices:

“Because they last longer, you can keep using them. And keeping using them is the best thing for the planet.”

But the sad situation shouldn’t be simplified. Plans of carriers and manufacturers promising a new device every year and of course we as the customers let the situation get worse.

The sad aftermath

The picture shows the landfill Agbogbloshie, aka Sodom. It’s part of the Ghanaian capital Accra and filled with 250kTons of e-waste from Europe every year.

See also my post about e-waste …

Technology for your life

Thanks for reading.