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Android Distribution Charts Spark Ridiculous “Fragmentation” Arguments for the 1,000th Time

I really despise this time of the month. Whenever the Android team updates their distribution chart, a barrage of posts from the tech world scream out our favorite word and argument all over again:  fragmentation. It never fails. It gets so old, but these industry analysts and pundits can’t help themselves. Do we believe that there is some form of fragmentation in Android? Obviously there is or we wouldn’t have a chart like we do above. Is it a death sentence or end of the world as many seem to make it out to be? Not for a second.

As you can see from the chart, only 2.9% of Android devices today, run Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android. While that’s frustrating to a point, we know that carriers and manufacturers are feverishly preparing updates for many of their handsets, all of which should be here shortly. This is simply the way Android is and arguably, the way it was meant to be. 

It’s a free and open platform. Google made it this way on purpose. They want manufacturers to take it, tweak it, customize it, and then sell it to consumers. They want different experiences to be created and for OEMs to innovate. If they didn’t, they would have already laid down the law and closed off everything or started selling the platform. Do we see OEMs really complaining all that much? Android helped revive most of their depressing sales goals over the last 2 years and helped some of them become global smartphone giants.

“But fragmentation is so bad!” Is it really? Android is everywhere. It has taken over the mobile world and is dominating in market share. How is it so bad? Sure, there are times when an app here or there doesn’t work but on the newest version of Android. And yes, we all wish we could have updates to the new version of Android the minute Google announces it. That’s just not the way this platform will probably ever work. I hate to say it, but get used to it. Android is doing fine the way it is. Is there room for improvement on the update front? Of course there is – Motorola, Samsung and HTC could all be faster. And by all means, they are getting faster. With Gingerbread last year, it took 6-7 months before OEM skinned updates started happening. With ICS, it has taken all of 3-4 months for some.

I’m just saying for the 1,000th time, that fragmentation as an issue is not anywhere near the level that some of these people would have you believe. Only tech geeks and bored journalists truly believe it to be a problem. Go ask your aunt with the Incredible 2 if she’s mad about not having ICS yet. Chances are, that you mentioning it is the first time she’s heard of it. Just give her a phone that works, at a reasonable price and that has a ton of apps on it – exactly the way Android is.

  • Charles

    Say what you will about fragmentation, but it’s A COLD HARD FACT. I’m the biggest Android apologist around, but the fact that the NCAA March Madness app was not compatible with my practically brand new Galaxy Nexus phone really chapped me, and proved that there’s a big problem. Yes, I know there are ways to side load and bypass things such as this, but why should I have to? It’s ridiculous.

    Kellex, you are wrong that only “tech geeks and bored journalists” believe that there’s a problem. All of my low-tech friends are thoroughly frustrated by fragmentation. The only difference is, they don’t realize what it is and therefore are quick to dismiss their Android devices. 99% of users want a consistent, reliable experience and they don’t care to know the whys or hows behind it. This is what Apple gives over Android, unfortunately.

    I love my Galaxy Nexus, but this is my final straw with Android. Is it too much to ask for a completely operational, seamless and compatible phone experience out of a $650 phone? I think not.

  • jtwildman1

    My only hope is for Google to force/implement a timetable for devices to be upgraded after release to the most current OS. I’m not sure if it’s even possible, but leaving it up to the manufacturer or Verizon doesn’t seem to be the answer.  

  • Counsel Dew

    Just curious… but is this really that serious that you need to get all worked up? How about get serious about using tech to stop human trafficking? Who cares what OS is on a device? You have a device. Don’t like your OS? Flash a ROM. No problem…

  • patapongirl

    I don’t see how is this even a problem as long as most apps work on the recent releases of the OS. For the older ones that don’t work, it’s called advancement in technology.

    Stop abusing the word ‘fragmentation’. 

  • The Dude

    I’m sick of blogs and people willing to give Google a pass for the absolutely terrible job they’ve done managing Android. It’s so easy to blame the OEM’s, right? Fact is the oem’s try to make devices to help their users by adding missing features in Android, and app developers try and work around the incompatibilities in different Android releases.

    Google itself doesn’t give a damn about their brand, all they do is pick a Nexus phone and optimize that years release for it. They don’t care about a consistent user experience or fragmentation, as long as they get their license fees and ad revenue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bignicktuck Nick Tucker

    a few hours ago i helped reduce the froyo % and increased the ICS % as i just upgraded from a stock original droid to a galaxy nexus. its so freakin awesome :)

  • Yup

    Just imagine how higher that Froyo number would be if not so many users didn’t just get annoyed and go off and get a new phone because they were tired of froyo.

  • Stevewoz

    Meanwhile, once ICS gets to 10% jellybean will be out. Nope, no fragmentation here. Move along… Google needs to completely overhaul their system. 

  • TheDude

    The word fragmentation is incorrectly used. Fragmentation only exists between Honeycomb and all version previous to ICS. Please choose another word.

  • Dean Rider

    this is a fanboy post, of course it’s a huge problem. Its the reason the applications aren’t on par with ios. and that is the number one advantage ios has over android.

    i know we love android but let’s be honest about its problems. stop the fanboyism. fanboyism also got you to buy into not having an sd card. no sd card is a big problem.

  • Lulx

    so only <3% of the users are using ICS huh, yet every single post on nexus-life is about ICS

  • drinksprite

    wtf is fragmentation? !?!

    • E A butler

      Here’s the best way to describe it…. 
      I have a Samsung Galaxy Note running 2.3, a Galaxy Nexus , running 4.0 and an Acer Iconia running 3.0.    All three devices have different screen sizes, hardware and software.   Now when I want to install apps, I run into issues, because certain apps will not be compatible with certain devices.  Productivity apps usually dont give you any issues they usually work well across all platforms, but you will run into issues mostly with games.  I can be annoying at times, but not a major turnoff from for me. 

  • duke69111

    What is this data collected from?  I wonder how many version 1.5 – 2.2 devices are still in use as a secondary device, just not as the daily driver for most peoples primary phone.  

    My old moto droid is on 2.2 and I still use the hell out of it by connecting to wifi, even though the LTE Galaxy Nexus is my daily driver and is 4.0.2.

    I wonder what the number would be if those were not included. I don’t think that having more than 65% on Gingerbread or more is really all that fragmented.

  • http://twitter.com/LBJAY02 LBJAY02

    Yea, and my brother and sister both have an iPhone 4. Neither has ungraded to ios 5. They could care less. In fact neither one even knew what version they were on when I asked them. 

    • E A butler

      Like i said before , most people have no clue and really dont bother to update unless it adds some kool new must have feature to the device….. 

  • bakdroid

    Thanks Kellex for a real post on this subject instead of a dumbass article from Ron explaining how he is the only one who is right in the world. Android is what it is, and that is why it dominates.

  • scijohn

    Ya know what?
    Windows is highly fragmented too but we don’t seem to hear complaints about that.
    I have computers at home running Win XP, Win 7 32-Bit, and Win 7 64-Bit.
    I have industrial computers at work running Windows 98 and 2000.
    I have servers running on Windows Server 2003 and 2008.
    The hardware on some of these machines cannot support a newer OS.
    It sounds just like Android “fragmentation” to me yet we don’t have people acting like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man.

    • ApplesNAndroids

      Your point is mute. Most of semi-older PC’s can be upgraded with latest windows release. Also, new PC’s already come with 7. Not the same ass with android.

      • scijohn

        My point is not “mute” nor is it moot (which is the correct word).
        Not all windows computers come with the latest OS installed. There is a period of 3-6 months where the new OS overlaps the current OS as some vendors catch up with drivers updated for the new OS.
        I have two laptops that I bought after Win 7 came out but they came with Vista because the webcam driver was incompatible and causing the Win 7 64-bit to bluescreen (or blackscreen actually). It took 3 months before the manufacturer came out with compatible drivers and I was able to install Win 7.

        That wasn’t even my point though. My point was that computers age out and cannot upgrade to the new windows OS and we accept that but for some reason there is an expectation that all Androids should run on the latest OS no matter what the hardware specs or how old the devices are.

        • ApplesNAndroids

          That was a silly mistake on my end (love my Android)
          I understand what you’re saying. However, there is still the option if need be where one is able to upgrade. Unfortunately tis not the same with android. I’m sure if you were to look the numbers (given equal sample size) will tell you more new PC’s are running latest software where androids numbers will be minimal.

    • TC Infantino

      Damn, Win 98?  Wow.  I thought my company had outdated computers with them running XP.  But you are correct about that, and PCs having many different types of hardware is the main reason.  And even with all that Windows fragmentation, MS still totally beat Apple in the PC game.

  • http://twitter.com/geoffcalver Geoff Calver

    I don’t think there’s an issue with people having different versions of Android on their phones. In that sense, fragmentation doesn’t matter. 

    The way it does matter is that there isn’t a universal standard because of the fragmentation. When developers know they have to develop their device to work on ICS, Gingerbread and Froyo as well as for many different devices it makes their jobs a lot more difficult. As a result, the Android market ecosystem suffers. Why did it take so long to get Instagram over to Android? Because they had to make it compatible with many variants of Android, which took a long time. 

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Galaxy Nexus, but the Play market will always suffer in comparsion to the App Store because of the difficulty involved in developing across the Android spectrum. 

    • marcusmaximus04

      Eh, as a developer I can say it’s really not that big of a deal. I’ve encountered one problem, exactly once, that made me change my code in order to have it function on everything from 2.0 up to my GN with 4.0.4(the leaked verizon build). The change to fix the problem took about 2 minutes to make and totalled to 2 lines of code(well, really it was one line of code, copy-pasted into 2 places).

      Basically, if you use any features from a certain build of android, there are two choices: Either you decide it’s vital for correct operation of your app so you set that build to the min sdk level or you can live without it in previous versions so you wrap it with a check against the SDK level.

      It’s not that difficult to deal with and it doesn’t take much time.

  • ilikebikes

    “Only tech geeks and bored journalists truly believe it to be a problem”

    so do you think it’s a problem?  i’m assuming yes.

  • Bionic Man

    this is just my opinion but looks at the new comScore #’s 
    http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/4/comScore_Reports_February_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share devs would be stupid not to develop for Android. Share percentage on Android grew double that of Apple in the past 3 months. We see it all the time on iOS with certain apps only working on newer iOS devices. The same should be done with Android (i.e. Chrome on 4.0+ only).

    • Google

      comscore is a terrible measure. they use “impressions” to try and determine market share. the only numbers that matter are official sales figures and dev payouts. Apple is crushing in both of those categories. 

  • John Burke

    What’s the % with ICS 4.0.4? I’d be part of that one

    • bakdroid

      4.0.4 wasn’t released through the whole 14 day period so that is probably why it is not on the list.  Also, isn’t 4.0.3 and 4.0.4 both part of the same API?

  • Curtis Martin

    Fragmentation may not be a problem for the end-user, but it sure as hell is a problem for the developer. Developing an app with a handful of people that performs well on the majority of phones out there is basically impossible unless you somehow have a way of testing on every variation of device/OS/vendor skin.

    I realize that this is “the way it was meant to be,” but it still makes development a lot more frustrating than it is with other mobile OSes out there (sad but true).

    • marcusmaximus04

      Eh, not really true. For general apps you really just need to properly check against SDK levels for select features, which amounts to a single line.

      For games and apps using OpenGL or heavy use of cpu-specific features in the NDK, it gets a bit different, but there’s still only a select few targets you need to test on. Test on something with snapdragon, OMAP, Exynos, Hummingbird and Tegra and you’ve pretty well covered about 99% of devices out there. Vendor skin doesn’t matter at all unless you’re actually trying to use their(typically private) API’s, in which case you probably already know what you need write/test against and you damn well better have one of their devices. Specific device isn’t going to matter at all and OS version is covered perfectly by the first part.

      • Curtis Martin

        I’ve run into problems several times where specific phones have their own unique problems even with normal everyday API calls. For instance, Droid Incredible doesn’t fetch media thumbnails the same way that 99% of the other phones out there do for some reason. I’ve also run into other media related issues on the Nexus S. The whole Galaxy S line of phones requires mp4s to be hinted if you want to stream them to the phone.

        The point I’m making is that if you’re a small development team just trying to write apps, there is a ridiculous amount of bases you have to cover, and it’s unrealistic. The Zyngas and Facebooks of the world don’t have a problem testing on all these devices, but the everyman does.

  • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

    That 0.5% is what worries me.  I think it proves the Galaxy Nexus CDMA/LTE is a flop.  It could also mean most people that own one are running a ROM since 4.0.2 should be on pretty much all of them except for a possible new activation that has yet to update.  Kinda sad again Google that your flagship device is falling behind.  You can blame Verizon all you want but until someone tells me exactly why it is not out I have always leaned more towards the CDMA portion of it since Qualcomm has such a tight reign on it.  I wish someone or all of them would get together and give us an honest answer.  With Google “dropping” AOSP for CDMA devices due to licensing that brings us back to getting Qualcomm to let them release the radio.  Obviously the 4.0.2 radio works fine for the GNex but for being an “open” OS there is a lot of crap that Google keeps hidden.  Short of tearing apart the code yourself which trust me is a lot to go over even a changelog is hard to come by.  

    • JMonkeYJ

      500 million google devices activated * 0.5% = 2.6 million galaxy nexus. it’s not a wild, iphone-like success, but it’s definitely not a flop.

      • kixofmyg0t

        Thats such a optimistic number. I still have yet to see anyone with a Galaxy Nexus. Most overrated phone ever. 

  • James Mueller

    Lets face it people fragmentation isn’t Android’s fault! The fragmentation was created by the OEMs that are to lazy to skin the newest version in a timely fashion. Granted some of the Big Dogs are getting better at rapid rollouts but most are just ignoring their stable performers and are perfectly content with the devices dying with the factory installed OS. Google is doing their job as the author and releasing new versions on a semi-predictable schedule that the OEMs should be able to work with. Just my 2¢.

    • PC_Tool

       Okay…

      I’m with the whole “fragmentation isn’t an issue” train, but seriously?

      Not Android’s fault?  Android is the OS.  The OS, developed by Google, was designed to do…exactly what the OEMs are doing with it. 

      Sorry, but as stated int he article: This is the way it is and the way it was *meant* to be. 

      Playing the blame-game can be fun, but when it comes right down to it…Google did it. 

      • James Mueller

          Your statement is absolutely correct. OEMs are doing exactly what Google intended them to do with it, install it on their products. However it is not Google’s responsibility to upgrade their software on someone else’s equipment. That is like saying its M$’s fault for NT4 servers still existing in the wild. Its not the developer’s, as you say, fault, for the consumers (the OEMs in this case) of their product not upgrading their released equipment to the latest version. In the world of mobile devices it is a responsibility of the manufacturers or service providers to ‘push’ the upgrades to the devices. The developer’s job is just that, to develop. M$ doesn’t push its OS to Dell or IBM’s equipment. Same concept here! 
          And for all the Apple fans out there their fragmentation is caused by their users. In their case they are the developer and the OEM. They control their own fate up to the point of physically making the user press the “upgrade now” button on the display.

  • http://twitter.com/Jubmasterflex Jubby Salhi

    Fragmentation or not, this is why we can’t have a decent gaming platform….

    • PC_Tool

       I already have one.  Steam/Windows 7.

      Problem solved.  ;-) 

      Yeah, I know….I’ll just never understand “gaming” on a phone.  Now get off my lawn.

    • JaeLim

      I don’t get why some people even care about mobile gaming when PC has far better games then what iDevices can dream of having. Only mobile games I need are quick time killers like Angry Bird.

  • MKader17
  • ddevito

    In other news:

    Android US market share jumps past 50%. 
    iOS, 30%

    Source: Comscore
    http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/4/comScore_Reports_February_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share 

    Suck that BGR!

    • Manny

      You almost forgot the one where ATT and Sprint sell more iphones than any other phones combined.. oooh and that iphones account for 80 % of phone sales on att and are even steven with verizon… ooh and the fact that that there are 150 androids to 2 iphones…put that in your….

      • JaeLim

        Thx for giving us relevent stat along with perfectly understandable grammer structure.

      • TC Infantino

        Eh, not going to get into the fanboi flame wars.  What I will say is that yes, Apple is doing well with the iphones.  And Google is doing well with the multitude of Android phones.  And I hope that they both come out with new groundbreaking ideas and technologies to compete with each other. That way we all win with new and fun abilities baked into our phones.  I don’t like the iphone or the way Apple does business, but without competition there isn’t an impetus for companies to innovate and keep improving their products.  So let Cupertino keep making their locked down and strangled phones so that Google can keep coming out with new ideas to beat them.

    • MicroNix

      Woot!!!

  • GawkerRedesignSucks

    “Sure, there are times when an app here or there doesn’t work but on the newest version of Android.”
    I’d say the opposite is true.  It seems that more apps DON’T work on ICS because developers refuse to update them.

    • PC_Tool

      Short answer:   Those developers…suck.

      If you have to update your app to get it working on ICS from GB…you did something *wrong*.

      • JMonkeYJ

        the one i’m waiting for is a game based on the unity engine. my guess is the engine doesn’t work on ICS yet. not sure i really blame the app developer for that, but it’s certainly annoying.

        • marcusmaximus04

          ShadowGun is based on the Unity engine and it works just fine in ICS.

  • http://twitter.com/masroorhussain Masroor Hussain

    this is main reason I hate Android…I can’t have up to date OS on my phone in next 6 months by the time new OS will be announced….which is really hurting Android…even after buy latest and greatest phone still not satisfied 
    I think Google should control the release only announce new OS when phone manufactures are sure they can release within a  month or so

    • MicroNix

      Please list what you are missing out on by not having the latest version.

      • http://twitter.com/masroorhussain Masroor Hussain

        stability, looks and features

  • r0lct

    They should either leave off the versions at less than 1% or just group them together under other. That’s just manufacturing a group that probably doesn’t exist in any real numbers.

    • kixofmyg0t

      That would mean leaving out the people that bought a Galaxy Nexus……

      Seems like a good idea to me. 

      • r0lct

        Right, because that’s the point.

  • summit1986

    4.0.4  I’m under the radar.

    • patapongirl

      Hahaha me too ;P

      • JimDeuxTrois

        we are the 0% ?

  • Face

    The fragmentation problem is not only one of OS versions. Android-built software has to account for multiple different devices in hopes it works the same on all of them. Testing software for iOS takes 2 devices. Testing your software on all possible platforms of Android is nigh impossible.

    • MicroNix

      If iOS didn’t exist, this would all be considered perfectly normal.  Just like other mobile OSs. The world does not sing to one song.  Neither does the world use one phone.  Get over it.

  • ArmanUV

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. I’m not talking about OEMs taking their time with the updates; there is nothing google can do about that due to the open nature of aosp. 
    The real problem is the app ecosystem. ICS was reased 8 months ago and 90% of apps are not updated to take advantage of ICS and the reason is simple: why would the developer go through all that touble for 3% of his/her users? He probabely donse’t own an ICS device himself!
    Your argument would be valid if there was no play store or if every OEM had their own store. 

    • Robert Greathouse

      Since when is mid-November (GSM release of the Galaxy Nexus) 8 months ago?

      • ArmanUV

        ok 5 months. you happy now? lol
        I stand corrected about my point. 

  • balthuszar

    the people that care(non-apple junkies) know that fragmentation isnt bad, so why advertise that they’re dolts, and complain about them posting something numerous times? “if you don’t stop complaining about the same thing over and over again, i’m not going to stop complaining over and over about you complaining about the same thing over and over”

  • Michael Forte

    Considering most apps work on Android 2.2 and above, which most phones are running, this fragmentation “issue” isn’t as bad as many make it out to be.

  • RAZR FANN

    By contrast: Give her a phone that everyone else has, at a price too high for its worth, and that has a ton of features Android had forever ago – exactly the way Apple is. 

    I bet only 1% of the Android world probably cares about timely updates. They wouldn’t have picked the phone in the first place if there wasn’t something appealing about it. 

    #TeamAndroid!

    • RedPandaAlex

      That’s my experience too. I just updated my girlfriend’s captivate to gingerbread over the weekend, and she spent a few minutes freaking out about how things on her phone were different. Most people get frustrated when their phone changes. It’s only those of us who read Android blogs and get excited about new features who are really into this. And we can just get Nexus devices.

      • PC_Tool

         This.

        My wife wants Eclair back…

        *sigh*

      • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

        Done with Nexus devices since the CDMA versions get treated like a red-headed-stepchild.  Going to HTC next I think since they unlock bootloaders as well.  Hope they turn around some of their other quality issues though.  Moto still makes a great radio but until they unlock a bootloader I am done buying their crap. Samsung has the worst radios I have seen my GNex sucks compared to my old DX2

    • tomn1ce

      I agree with you in that most people have no idea that there’s a new version of Android out there. Most of my family have android devices and that’s because I got them into it. Only 3 or 4 of us know about the updates and only 2 out of the 4 keep up on it. For what I’ve seen they seem to be happy with their device.

  • Zebra

    Android 4.0 – 4.0.2: the CDMA Galaxy Nexus

    • http://Twitter.com/ContestsAccount bigrob60

      It’s sad b/c it’s true. :(

    • kixofmyg0t

      Which I find hilarious. It must burn pretty bad knowing that soon people with a RAZR will be running a more current version of Android than their beloved “Nexus”. 

      • MicroNix

        And it really won’t matter one squat which dot.dot revision they are using.  Trolling up the wrong tree.

      • JaeLim

        Yes because the OS number is whay matters the most, not the ugly skins OEMs put on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

    Load Chrome on your Android 2.3 phone.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Fragmentation.

    • http://twitter.com/wheineman Will Heineman

      Beta.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

        Still doesn’t mean it’s going to be backported!  And it doesn’t change that most Android users, even those that bought a phone late last year, can’t use Chrome right now.  As the time-honored expression goes: “but apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

        • Harris

          Load SIRI on your iphone4/3gs/3g. Go Ahead. I’ll wait.

          Fragmentation

          • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

            That’s a genuine hardware difference (there’s hardware noise cancellation in the chipset that isn’t in the earlier devices) that limits it to the iPhone 4S.  Not the same, and doesn’t help your argument.

          • TheDude

             Hardware requirements for Chrome too. Your point? Siri works on Android devices too if you please.

          • farts

             link or you don’t understand the difference between hardware and software.  Gonna go out on a limb and guess it’s a software issue and you’re just stupid.

          • TheDude

             Requirements are derivative from ICS HW requirements. See hardware acceleration.

          • PC_Tool

            Um…hate to break it to you, but…

            Siri was available on iTunes for the 3GS prior to the release of the 4S.

            Sorry if that doesn’t do wonders for your argument…

          • MicroNix

            Oh cut it out Jonathan.  Android has had voice recognition for years now.  Are you telling me your big bad iPhone 4 isn’t man enough to handle it?  So your iPhone 4 is substandard compared to the OG Droid released in 2009?  Go troll somewhere else because you won’t get any slack here.

        • MicroNix

          Can you use Siri on your iPhone 4 with the latest and greatest iOS 5 running on it?  Go ahead, I’ll wait too.

          • E A butler

            Siri is a bad example….  Try to play Infiniti Blade 2 on an older iOS device… it wont!!!!!  There are a few examples of 3rd gen and older devices that dont really run the latest apps well, even if they are running 5.0 (like my 3rd gen iPod Touch). This is fragmentation in iOS, and it is as bad as Android.  Also, I find that certain apps crash a lot on my iPod Touch after I updated from 4.0 to 5.0, plus it is slower and I have a ton a issues where songs do not show up in the music app even though they are on the device…… Sometimes its better to not upgrade to the most recent software if your device really wasnt made for it … or maybe its Apples way of forcing me to buy a new iPod…. haha

    • PABNJ

      That example really is’t accurate as Chrome was designed for ICS.  Try installing IE 9 on your XP machine, it won’t happen, but you do not hear the cries of fragmentation on Windows.  There is no difference, Google just opted to design Chrome on the ICS architecture as Microsoft decided to design IE9 on the Vista & 7 
      architecture.

    • PC_Tool

       Siri.

    • JaeLim

      Edit : Aw someone already said it.

  • Jon Markman

    Fragmentation isn’t just about which OS version the device is running. By virtue of its ability to control the specs, Apple is also able to limit the variance; it’s part of the reason they’ll probably not deviate from the current iPhone and iPad sizes until they absolutely have to. Android, on the other hand, has to work on a whole host of screen sizes and resolutions, different key and button layouts, not to mention differences in hardware specs and quality. Personally, I love the ability to pick which device specifications works for me, rather than having the Cupertino Boys make that call for me. But that freedom comes with a price. It’s a double-edged sword, and we Android fanboys shouldn’t pretend it isn’t. 

    • RedPandaAlex

      Apple’s system has allowed developers to get lazy by developing for a specific screen size. Desktop applications have to deal with it. Webapps have to deal with it. Designing apps that scale well is not new, and Android provides great tools for allowing apps to scale well.

    • Droidzilla

      Android doesn’t handle screen scaling the way iPhone does, so that’s a non-issue. Android was built to accommodate different devices from the start, whereas iOS was not. That’s why Apple has to double the resolution if they want a more pixel dense screen but Android OEMs have a lot more freedom with which resolutions they can choose.

  • Droidzilla

    Meanwhile, in iOS Land:
    1 5.0.1 – 54.42 %
    2 4.3.3 – 9.25 %
    3 4.2.1 – 8.60 %
    4 4.3.5 – 8.23 %
    5 ?? – 4.91 %
    6 5.0 – 4.74 %
    7 4.1 – 2.81 %
    8 4.3.2 – 1.46 %
    9 4.3 – 1.29 %
    10 4.3.1 – 1.20 %
    11 3.1.3 – 0.60 %
    12 4.3.4 – 0.52 %
    13 4.2.8 – 0.32 %
    14 4.0 – 0.28 %

    Didn’t get the version for #5; sorry. Still: TEH FRAGMENTATIONZ!

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Yep this.

      • iWebDroidBerry7

        And this is the reason fragmentation and update issues will never go away. Because of blind fanboys constantly denying the problem. Fragementation is really the only issue with Android why can’t we come together as a community and ask Google and the manufacturers to do something about it? Can anyone here really say it DOESN’T matter that NONE of the new Verizon phones *Minus the GNex which isn’t even completely up to date itself I believe* have ICS? Can we say that it doesn’t matter that we can’t Android beam or face unlock?

        I own Windows, Apple and and Android products. I can admit flaws with each one, and honesty the only reason I prefer iOS is because I know my phone is going to be taken care of at least through my contract if not longer. If us Android consumers won’t stand up for the platform, who will? *Answer* No one will. And will continue to get shafted.

        • http://twitter.com/kjwilk91 Kyle Wilkins

          You bring up a point iWebDroidBerry7 but think of this. Motorola started work for The RAZR (these dates are just for arguments sake, not actually real dates.) Aug 2011. They work on the hardware while building drivers and radios for the current Android platform (Which was 2.3 at the time with only speculation of ICS). The phone is being worked on, software wise consistently. Google isn’t working with Motorola here and giving the heads up. Google only works with Nexus devices. So would you rather have the RAZR delayed awhile just so it can be released with ICS? Same can be said about on screen soft keys. Probably not.

          • iWebDroidBerry7

            True, but then the answer to that would be that Google should begin working with the OEM’s to prevent miscommunication.

          • CORYK333

            Well said in your 1st post & totally agree with you on this point also. The whole “hands-off/open-source” approach Google took in the early years of Android was completely fine, but as the platform has grown in terms of media attention & user base that old way isn’t gonna cut it. I’m not saying they adopt the iOS way, but they have to figure out a way to work with OEMs/carriers on the update process.

          • http://twitter.com/kjwilk91 Kyle Wilkins

            Possibly to some extent. It hurts a company when they are pumping out tons of phones each year. It’s impossible for Google to keep up with that. I think the big three Android phone companies have the money to bring in more software people. It comes off to me as if they are understaffed in the software department seeing as how independent developers and teams can pump out updates quick with most everything already functioning before there’s even rumors of an OTA update.

      • Google

        Yeah not this. Even the 3GS can be updated and the 2nd gen iPod touch. Those devices are well over 3 years old. So clueless. 

    • RedPandaAlex

      Source? I believe you, but I want to be able to post this in flamewars.

    • Michael_NM

      … Device choices: 2

    • Mr Manville

      Unfortunately, IOS 5.0.1 should be compared to Android 4.0.3, and 2.4% is much worse than 54.42%.

      • Droidzilla

        That’s not the way Google does OS distribution. The latest OS is only on a Nexus device, which makes it night beta. Once it starts to really roll out, the masses get a polished product. The “latest” OS with Android is a bit of a misnomer because Google’s devices will always be a little ahead of the curve. Apple does their latest distro in house to iron everything out, so it works differently (as it should). 2.3 is really the “latest” OS for mainstream devices, and that will switch to 4.0 within the next few months.

        • iWebDroidBerry7

          Double post. Oopsss.

      • PC_Tool

        Platform to platform?

        Right now, in Android, Gingerbread arguably *is* the platform.  ICS is still out in the wings.

        63 vs 54.

        I mean, ya know…depending on what side you want your bias to show.  ;-)

        • InvaderDJ

          I don’t think *the* platform for Android being one major version behind is something to celebrate.

          Especially since popular older phones like the Galaxy S line and the Evo won’t be updated officially so the only way people will get that newer version is to get a new phone.

          • PC_Tool

            ‘I don’t think *the* platform for Android being one major version behind is something to celebrate.”

            Who’s celebrating?  oh…you took that seriously?  Heh…did you miss the bit about bias? Huh…should I have made that bold?

            “the only way people will get that newer version is to get a new phone.”

            *gasp*

            Those poor people!!  What ever will they do!??!  I mean they’re stuck with a phone….that like…works….n’ stuff…just like it has….since they bought it…. 

            Oh, wait: They can’t run Chrome. I’d try to shed a tear for those poor, sad little people, but guess what?  They really don’t give a crap.  No-one outside the little technology bubble of fanboys and marketing drones we have here does. 

            I suppose if Chrome is that important to anyone…they can spend the  $49 and get a phone that will have ICS in the near future? (Life sure is rough, isn’t it?)

            (This entire post, and virtually every post I have ever made online is tongue-in-cheek, so don’t go getting your undies in a bunch. K?)

          • E A butler

            I dont think the average user gives a crap, unless they see a really cool new feature that someone shows them, and with Android you can usually download some 3rd party app that does the trick, without having to upgrade or buy a new phone. …… I don’t even think people on this board understand what FRAGMENTATION or OPEN SOUCRE even mean… lol

      • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

        I would compare 5.0.1 to 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 myself.  You can pretty much keep apple a rev behind Google since Apple will polish a lot more than Google does. If you lump all of their 5.0 numbers together though yes it is sad but when we look at release dates for the OS and only have about 6 devices to support it is understandable.  Look at companies like ASUS they support a smaller number of devices and update more frequently than a Motorola or HTC.  HTC and Moto have about 30 phoens right now that are “current” spread across all the carriers.  Asus has what 3 tablets? This still boils down to OEMs turning out phones instead of focusing on a smaller number of phone releases and working on the software.  Motorola should IMO only be putting out 3 maybe 4 phones a year total, not 3-4 a quarter.

    • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

      The difference here, and i’m not defending Apple, is that pretty much all apps run on all versions of iOS, and the look and feel of the OS is pretty much identical on all versions.  Technically they may be different versions, but they sure don’t act like it for the most part.

      • MicroNix

        And what apps don’t run on anything Android 2.1 and up?  Let’s back up your statement please.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1525850281 Josh Eck

      LOL, um how about thinking a little before posting this.  The difference is that all iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4s can be updated to iOS 5.0 and only requires the user to plug into iTunes to update.  There is a world of difference between that and Android where it’s up to the manufacturer to decide if their handset is deemed worth enough to upgrade past its current version.  And that includes handsets just released within the last year.  

      Wow.  LOL.

      • Droidzilla

        People still say lol? Huh.

        Also, sweet photo! Are you a photographer? The filter you used is so different and talented; a real vintage look. Kudos!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1525850281 Josh Eck

          LOL, you’re trolling me because I used Instagram?  LOL, sorry, didn’t realized that the popular app offended you, I’ll make sure to stop using it just for you, Mr. Cool.  Damn if we could all be just like you…

          • http://twitter.com/RichNahra Rich Nahra

            I’m sure that Droidzilla’s name and bitchen profile pic get’s him laid all the time.  

        • CORYK333

          Dude, you’re better than that

          • Bigbear

            always nice to see apple trolls in droid blogs giving thier .02 c about ios and how apple is infallible. Must be a slow day over at the apple blogs josh. 

        • Steven Benner

          Nice argument there.

      • duke69111

        I do think that it would be a good idea for google to set a date  for manufactures to get devices up to date by a certain date.  I think this would really push the device makers to pull their heads out of their asses.  

    • MicroNix

      If your line up didn’t stop at 14, you’d find many more.  The app crash report from not too long ago had iOS 2.x devices crashing apps in many different dot variations.  I have an iPod Touch that is stuck on 3.x.  There is every bit as much fragmentation in the iOS platform.  Worse yet, you could be at iOS 5 and depending on what device you have, will have varying features!  What’s even better is that iOS devices can be a POS to even get to upgrade via iTunes (another POS).  I’ve had two different iPod Touch devices that needed to be connected to a *Mac* in order to properly update.  I can imagine those not having that option that just gave up and left them at the current version they are at.  

      • Google

        You mean the newest version of iOS doesn’t work on 4 and 5 year old devices!!!! I am shocked!!!!!

    • Google

      Hahaha, this guy is so clueless. The only people not on the newest version of iOS are those who are too lazy to plug their phone in, those who jailbreak and those who have a device that was released over 3 years ago. hahahaha, try again

  • Sp4rxx

    It’s like taking a survey about who uses what version of Windows …. the newest version of the software is ALWAYS going to have the smallest percentage ….

    You’re right it is frustrating as they keep looking at the smallest percents …. but if you look, Android 2.3x takes up almost 64% of the pie – and heck, they shouldn’t even count 3.0 … that’s tablets only!  Geesh!

    Numbers don’t lie, but people can lie numbers ….. They should divide it up b/w tablets and phones because having that iddy biddy percentage of Honeycomb makes the “pundits” go nuts!

    • Droidzilla

      The saying I think you’re looking for is, “Statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics.” Very apropos for this non-issue. Good point about early adopters, too.

  • ddevito

    BGR = iSheep

  • http://twitter.com/feedheadInc feedhead

    supercaliFRAGMENTlisticexpialidocious

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MMcCraryNJ Michael McCrary

    Good article. This is the exact reason I stopped following/supporting BGR. EVERY single month, it’s another “Android is fragmented! Derp!” nonsense from those guys. If you can’t be an intelligent tech writer, than don’t do it. /rant.

    • sonicyoof

      Yep, gave up on them too. Worst tech site next to Gizmodo.

  • Andrew

    OMG Haterade!!

  • DixieNormus420

    I am the 2.4%!

    • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

      since i jsut went back to stock on my GNex over the weekend i am the .5%