This 'SNL' Verizon ad has a not-so-hidden message about Android fragmentation

"Saturday Night Live" ran a spoof Verizon commercial this weekend, making fun of the carrier's somewhat-confusing 4G LTE terminology.

"Saturday Night Live" ran a spoof Verizon commercial this weekend, making fun of the carrier's somewhat-confusing 4G LTE terminology. Intentionally or not, the skit also pointed out a bigger issue in the smartphone market. Check it out and see if you notice:

Did you catch those mentions of 10 or so different devices? All of which happen to be Android devices?

Android fragmentation is a problem on several different fronts. It's confusing for customers, as the "SNL" ad shows. It's bad for developers, who have to make sure their apps are compatible with all the different devices and operating systems in use today. And it's not great for Google and its manufacturers, either, because they can't tell a unified story like Apple can with its one OS, one phone and one tablet.

Android fragmentation can also be a problem for IT in the era of consumerization. It's hard to come out and say "we support Android" as a blanket statement, because the smartphones are so different. Most still run Android 2.3, but some now have 4.0, which offers new Android enterprise features. Some offer on-device encryption, but most don't. Some have native remote-wipe capabilities, while others don't. And that's just scratching the surface of the differences between Android smartphones.

Unfortunately, you can't just walk out of the store in disgust like the customer in the "SNL" ad. End users -- not IT -- are the ones making these purchasing decisions, and as long as they're buying Android phones, they're going to want to do work on them.

The most common approach I've seen IT take is to limit official Android support to specific tasks or devices. Here at TechTarget, for example, they let me get my email on my HTC Incredible through Exchange ActiveSync, but that's it. (They also require a screen-lock password.) Or, at my dad's job, when the contract was up on his corporate-issued BlackBerry, they gave him a very short list of approved devices he could choose for his next phone.

How does your IT department handle Android fragmentation? Do you think the problem will get better with Ice Cream Sandwich, which is supposed to be the great unificator?

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Very timely, because once Microsoft releases their WOA (Windows on Android) tablet, this is what it's going to be like trying to buy a tablet that runs Windows 8.


BoxTone partners with 3LM to lockdown the Android kernel to enterprise security wants and needs (and includes encryption).


The Android OS is far superior to that of phone. Android runs on Linux, which is known for customization and usability. Android is the underlying system no matter the phone.  It does not take a manufacturing genius to alter a look. A lot of those phones have close to the same insides just minor differences.  App developers have to make apparently for the OS and then do minor tweaks here and there.  Your rant is nothing but an uneducated nightmare.  The SNL spoof is entertaining and is actually not too bad for Verizons state of mind.  Their phones were repeated multiple times and THEY DO HAVE THE BEST NETWORK HANDS DOWN!!! Especially when it comes to data.


I never commented on the superiority of one OS over the other. I have an Android phone, as I mentioned in the post, and I like it a lot. I also have an iPad, which I also like a lot.

You may be right that Android developers only have to make minor tweaks for different devices, but they have to make those tweaks all the time. I have to update apps on my Android phone far more often than I have to update apps on my iPad. And a lot of those are device-specific fixes and updates. Don't you think developers would rather spend time innovating and creating new apps instead of just trying to keep their existing apps up and running?


I'm a little confused, even though the ad referenced android devices, the story was around 3g vs 4g/LTE?


The embedded video seems to have temporarily disappeared, but we'll work on getting that back up. Sorry! Anyway, the skit was focused on Verizon's 4G terminology and how it can be confusing, but they also threw out the names of nearly a dozen Android devices, and that was the inspiration for this post.

You can check out the video here in the meantime:


I love how some people still seem to insist that Android is such a superior operating system. It's not. it really is not. I've tried them and many of them are just clunky and completely unsmooth- sometimes requiring numerous checkouts from our IT dept. Not saying you shouldn't buy it (I'm sure it's fine for some), but this "Android is superior" thing is just a lie and it's ridiculous.

And yes, for anyone that doesn't follow this technology on a daily basis, this 4G vs 3G info would definitely be a nightmare.