Choice can be good for consumers, but this many different products is likely more confusing than it’s worth. Designers must have one hell of a time trying to create interfaces suitable for that many different screen sizes. And for developers, trying to target and test so many different devices and OS version combinations is simply an asinine request. That’s why well-designed Android apps with anything resembling a custom UI are only available for a few phones.
The only entities who benefit from this level of fragmentation are device manufacturers, who are able to tout dozens of SKUs as “innovation”, and carriers, who are able to retain device exclusives for a competitive advantage. For everyone else, it’s enormously discouraging.
Update: Although, (hat tip to Kontra), this is particularly stupid:
Apple are currently working on a lower-end device, increasing the fragmentation of their ecosystem in the process, suggesting that the Android ecosystem is not only doing something right, but doing something to be imitated.
All indications suggest that the lower-cost iPhone is going to have the same display size running the same versions of iOS as any other iPhone.