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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt

OpenSignal

Android devices come in all shapes and sizes and may run any one of more than a half-dozen active versions of Google’s GOOG -0.14% operating system.

This diversity is both a blessing and a curse, as OpenSignal reports in its 2014 Android fragmentation survey.

On one hand, fragmentation gives app developers a wide audience to build for — far wider than Apple’s iOS. On the other, trying to develop an app that will run on the entire range of Android devices is a nightmare.

How fragmented has Android become? From OpenSignal’s findings:

  • 18,796 distinct Android configurations seen in 2014
  • 11,868 seen in 2013
  • 3,997 seen in 2012

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