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Meanwhile, 78 percent of Apple's mobile users are on iOS 7

Things are definitely looking up for Android. The mobile operating system can be found on a vast number of smartphones and tablets, easily eclipsing competing platforms from Apple and Microsoft. In fact, Gartner predicts that over 1.1 billion Android-based smartphones and tablets will ship this year. In addition, Google and a number of auto manufacturers are banding together to put Android inside the dash of your next vehicle.
 
But with so many different Android devices shipping at varying price points and in varying configurations, there’s bound to be plenty of that dreaded word that analysts like to talk about: fragmentation. In its first distribution numbers assessment released for 2014, Google shows that 54.5 percent of devices are running some version of Jelly Bean — this covers 4.1.x (which was released in mid-2012) up to the more recent 4.3 (which was released in July 2013).

 
The most recent version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, makes up just 1.4 percent of all Android installations. Interestingly, there are still over 21 percent of devices out there still running on Gingerbread.

 
For comparison, 78 percent of Apple’s mobile devices are running the latest version, iOS 7. The number of users running iOS 6 has fallen to 18 percent, and those using even earlier versions now stand at 4 percent.

Sources: Google, Apple



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honest question
By rsmech on 1/13/2014 2:53:34 AM , Rating: 2
I don't use Android so my question is why so many old OS installations? I can understand older hardware not working on kit Kat but even in jellybean itself there are 3 versions. Why so many (most jellybean installations) not updated to even the latest jellybean version. Is it user, carrier, Google? It's a strong platform but would be even better with less fragmentation.




RE: honest question
By piroroadkill on 1/13/2014 3:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, one of the benefits of Kit Kat supposedly is that it can work on lower spec phones.

So, it's suited to run on those old devices that ended with Gingerbread.

The problem is there simply is no will to update your old phone. They'd rather make you frustrated with it and buy a new one, than freshen up your old one.


RE: honest question
By medys on 1/13/2014 3:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
Fragmentation comes from phone manufacturers not releasing updates after Google releases them.


RE: honest question
By Solandri on 1/13/2014 4:50:20 AM , Rating: 2
Dunno about recent phones, but Samsung had Gingerbread ready for my old Galaxy S within a few months of Google releasing it (Dec 2010 vs Feb 2011). Sprint took nearly a year to "test" it and push it out to the phones (Dec 2011).

It's the carriers who delay updates because they insist on locking down "your" phone (they still treat it like it's their phone). Google seems to be pushing for unlocked phones. So the carriers will take their sweet time testing and rewriting software to re-implement any of their locks that Google broke with the new OS.

In the iPhone's case, Apple wants your phone locked down, so they and the carriers are in sync and there's no intermediate development stage needed to ensure locks aren't broken. Same thing with Cyanogenmod - they are in sync with Google about wanting the phone unlocked, so they can push out the updates a lot quicker than the carriers. If it were the other way around and Google wanted to keep Android phones locked, carriers would roll out Android updates quicker, while Cyanogenmod would take a longer time to produce an unlocked version.


RE: honest question
By sheh on 1/13/2014 6:32:44 AM , Rating: 2
Flagship phones get more attention. The bulk, not so much.


RE: honest question
By MScrip on 1/13/2014 9:58:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

Flagship phones get more attention. The bulk, not so much.

Exactly.

We only ever talk about a handful of flagship phones from a few manufacturers on tech websites: Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3, HTC One, Moto X, LG G2, etc.

However... those phones only represent a tiny fraction of the Android market.

There are literally hundreds of Android phones from dozens of manufacturers on sale right now around the world. Most from companies we've never heard of.

This particular chart represents Android phones that accessed the Google Play Store in the last week. So that's the current installed base of Android phones.

And a large amount of those phones were purchased in the last 2 or 3 years... which will never see a Jelly Bean or Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

Samsung may do a pretty good job of updating their mid to high-end Galaxy phones.

But the same can't be said for some random low-end budget phone sold in China and India, for instance. And there are tons of those on the market.

Like you said... the bulk of Android phones don't get enough attention.


RE: honest question
By troysavary on 1/13/2014 7:23:07 AM , Rating: 2
Technically, if you got it on contract, it is kind of theirs until it is paid for. Just like the house belongs to the bank until the mortgage is paid off.


RE: honest question
By rsmech on 1/13/2014 12:33:22 PM , Rating: 1
How is Windows phone or Blackberry phones? Windows has regular updates, don't know about Blackberry. Are they as locked down as Apple?


RE: honest question
By Tony Swash on 1/13/14, Rating: -1
RE: honest question
By retrospooty on 1/13/2014 10:03:57 AM , Rating: 3
To be fair HTC is in a world of hurt because they are ridiculously inefficient in all aspects of their business.

The truth of the question is that there are most steps though. The OS is bigger, more flexible and supports far more features , far more chipsets, and far more hardware configs. On top of that it's more controlled by carriers. Making a ROM is a difficult and expensive process. Apple makes a couple per year, as they only do one thing, one config, in one way, once per year... and that one thing lacks features and flexibility. But by all means, if having the latest OS update is what you look for in a phone, Apple is the phone for you.


RE: honest question
By Tony Swash on 1/13/14, Rating: -1
RE: honest question
By retrospooty on 1/13/2014 12:27:47 PM , Rating: 3
Fair enough. Damn, 2 for the last 2. We are on a roll.


Who cares about fragmentation?
By medys on 1/13/2014 3:52:53 AM , Rating: 2
Probably developers and some enthusiasts.

For the end user it is all about what the phone can do, not which version of OS it runs. So as long as his favorite apps run on 2.3 he can use it. Even more a lot of people use smartphones for calling and browsing news sites, this means only 2 apps that are integrated into the OS.

That said I'm an enthusiast myself and I'd really like my Xperia to get a newer version of Android.. not that I really need it.




RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By sheh on 1/13/2014 6:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
It affects end-users at least in that that developers might feel that new OS features aren't worth the trouble of using, Since the share of users that can use it is small.

They might be used eventually, but there still could be relative stagnation.


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By troysavary on 1/13/2014 7:21:49 AM , Rating: 1
It causes the same problem that PCs have with games. Since PC hardware is all over the place power-wise, game developers tend to develop for the low end. How long after DX11 was released before we started to see engines move beyond DX9? I imagine similar scenarios on phones. If not enough people are on the newest version of an OS, devs might not think it is worthwhile to target newer features.


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By MScrip on 1/13/2014 10:22:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

If not enough people are on the newest version of an OS, devs might not think it is worthwhile to target newer features.

Exactly.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is now the largest part of that chart at 59%. However... that version of Android came out in July 2012.

Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich make up the rest of that chart at 38%... and they were released ages ago in 2010-2011

So yeah... if a developer is excited about some great new feature in the latest release of Android... it's gonna take a few years for that version to become mainstream.


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By Rukkian on 1/13/2014 1:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is now the largest part of that chart at 59%. However... that version of Android came out in July 2012.


Actually, that is not correct, if you read the article (or look at the chart), 54.9% are on Jelly bean, but only 36% are on 4.1. Some are on 4.2, others on 4.3 (which was release 7/13).


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By MScrip on 1/13/2014 8:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
Oops... yeah... I added up all 3 version of Jelly Bean instead of just 4.1. My bad.

Let me correct my comment:

Android 4.1 has the highest percentage of distribution at 36%... and it came out in July 2012... 18 months ago.

If it takes a year-and-a-half to gain a decent percentage... developers shouldn't be in a hurry to put the new features of the latest operating system into their apps. It seems to take a while for a particular version of Android to gain traction.

So by that metric... should we expect Android 4.4 to have 36% sometime in 2015?


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/13/2014 5:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
In reality nothing you are saying is happening or ever will.

But oh it's Troy, Android hater, what a surprise you would say this.

Do you even know what's in KitKat? Please do some homework, and explain to me how developers would be impacted at all.

quote:
How long after DX11 was released before we started to see engines move beyond DX9?


What the...huh? Wow. Please explain how that is even REMOTELY applicable to mobile devices.


By retrospooty on 1/13/2014 10:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
There was a pretty heavy break from 2 to 4 But since then its been very simple as far as apps and compatibility ... The so called fragmentation is 2 parts pre4 and post4. Pre4 phones are well over 2 years old and it isnt even a consideration at this point other than flame bait.


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By elleehswon on 1/13/2014 10:03:55 AM , Rating: 3
.....and then there's the xda developers website, which is an alive and well smartphone/tablet development community. If your phone is relatively new and well taken, there is a good chance there is a cyanogenmod rom for it, or some one-off's. Speaking from experience, there are kitkat roms for my LG G2 if i want to go that route and skip the "well lets wait for verizon to ruin my android experience by adding their bloatware and locking down my phone" hoopla.


RE: Who cares about fragmentation?
By Nagorak on 1/14/2014 4:03:44 AM , Rating: 1
The thing about that is some of those "hacked" roms don't actually run very well in my experience. A team even came out with a JellyBean rom for the Viewsonic G-Tablet. Problem was it ran like absolute shit. It froze up all the time. For all practical purposes it was unusable. I wouldn't be surprised if the same is true of many other devices.

Also, upgrading your rom is not at all user friendly. It's definitely beyond the understanding of your average person.


Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By KiwiTT on 1/13/2014 1:10:51 PM , Rating: 1
Google is now doing marketing trickery as well. Read the detail.

2.2.x - 1.3%
2.3.x - 21.2%
3.x.x - 0.1%
4.0.x - 16.9%
4.1.x - 35.9%
4.2.x - 15.4%
4.3.x - 7.8%
4.4.x - 1.4%

Still looks fragmented to me.




RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By Rukkian on 1/13/2014 1:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
Does it really matter outside of nerds and tinkerers? I would guess that 98%+ of people have no idea what number their OS on their phone is. While some may know jellybean, they don't know/care what the version number is.

While there are a very few apps that dont work across versions, pretty much anything that works on ICS, works on JB, works on KK and vice versa.

Are there people on older phones? Yes
Do these people really care, probably not.

Fragmentation is just a buzz word, and has very little real world impact.


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By rsmech on 1/13/2014 2:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not trying to set up an argument, I'm. Not an Android user or developer. So I am asking to be informed.

Why so many variations? Besides hardware support I would assume there are also security fixes. Is that real world? Am I as secure on jellybean's first version as the last?


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By Rukkian on 1/13/2014 2:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, for the most part Jellybean is Jellybean. Once you get to the much older ones (pre ics), there were issues, but most of those phones are either very old, and barely used, or new pieces of junk (and still barely used).

While there are differences between the different versions of Jellybean, the changes are not huge. With KitKat, google is moving towards most of the new stuff being available in the play store, so even if your manufacturer, provider, etc do not upgrade your phone, you can still get most of the new stuff if you care enough about it.

I am a nerd/tinkerer, and would love to always be on the latest greatest, but my current phone (LGG2) is not updated, and may not be for some time, and I like how the phone runs (for the most part) enough to not bother with a custom rom at this point.

The bottom line in my mind is that most people do not care. For those that do, there are nexus devices, which will always get the latest greatest (at least until it gets too old), and you have full access to tinker as much as you want.


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By BabelHuber on 1/13/2014 3:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Am I as secure on jellybean's first version as the last?


Yes you are.

Older versions in general still get security updates for a few years from Google, but then your OEM has to add them to his ROM and your carrier has to release them. This can take months in the real world.

OTOH, CM and OMNI-ROM tend to include the security patches withinh days. So in fact you are more secure with a regular updated custom ROM in theory.

Additionally, there are security apps like avast, Lookout mobile security etc. avast even has a Firewall included (requires Root of course).

But Android never got infected by simply browsing a site or so, you need to actively be stupid to get malware.

There are e.g. these MMS which claim they originate from your bank. They state that you have to enable sideloading in the security settings, follow a link to an obscure web page, downlad an APK (=installable file) and install it.

Needless to say there are two further Android-popups with warnings when you do this. If you ignore this, too and install the APK, you get your malware.

And in this case you have honestly earned to be infected, I must add.


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By rsmech on 1/13/2014 9:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
From the comments I've read the biggest lag in updates is the carrier, critical updates may get released in the app store (?). So unlocked phones would go a long way in allowing those who choose to update their OS to do it easier and faster.

I'm not an Android user but from the comments updating really isn't necessary if your phone falls in the 2-3 year cycle and you get a new one.


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By rsmech on 1/13/2014 9:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
From the comments I've read the biggest lag in updates is the carrier, critical updates may get released in the app store (?). So unlocked phones would go a long way in allowing those who choose to update their OS to do it easier and faster.

I'm not an Android user but from the comments updating really isn't necessary if your phone falls in the 2-3 year cycle and you get a new one.


RE: Huh?!?!? - Still fragmented
By retrospooty on 1/14/2014 7:06:05 AM , Rating: 2
You spend way too much time worrying about updates. If you had an Android that is mid to high end and less than 3 years old, just update it via Cyanogenmod if you are that worried about it. If not stick with stock. OK, move on.


Oh, FFS Brandon.
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/14/2014 12:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Jesus h. Christ! How many times are you guys going to regurgitate this pro-Apple propaganda and need to have it explained to you yet again?

Do you guys understand what VERSIONS are? Jellybean and Kitkat are RELEASES. Not VERSIONS. If you are going to compare versions, then compare Apple's installed VERSION to Androids VERSION. Apples to (ehrm)Apples. Not apples to grapes.

Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean and KitKat refer to release NAMES not VERSION. All of these are Android 4 .

Now, add up all the users of ICS, JB and KK. What are the percentage numbers and you get?

... wait for it...

77.4%

All of the Android 2 & 3 versions put together add up to 22.6%

How many people are on Apple iOS 7.0? Not 7.0.1, 7.0.2 or 7.0.3, or any other release than iOS 7.0.0?

Now compare how many people on Apple iOS 7

Now remember that the Android numbers does not include all the Cyanogenmod and other 'current' Android 4.x AOSP-based roms in use out there. How many custom roms does APPLE have out there? None?

Also remember that APPLE does not use cute RELEASE NAMES for its mobile OS.




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