A fragmented Android universe
Despite the fact that version 2.1 of Google's mobile operating system has been available for several months, most devices are still running older versions. According to a device dashboard by Android developer Raphaël Moll, over the last 14 days only 27% of Android smartphones accessing the Android Market were running version 2.1. The majority – 38% and 32% respectively – were running versions 1.5 and 1.6. Version 2.0.1 accounts for just under 3% of users accessing the site and versions 1.1 and 2.0 barely troubled the scorers, presumably because updates are available for popular devices supplied with these versions.
Three months ago, these same statistics showed version 1.6 leading the field with more than 50% of users, with version 2.1 not even listed. Such statistics are useful for developers, who need to test their applications on different versions. They also reveal, however, that companies selling Android smartphones seem to have little interest in supplying existing customers with updated versions of the OS.
In some cases, the delay in distributing updates when a new version of Android is released is due to vendor extensions, such as the Sense interface used on HTC's Hero. The first smartphone to use Android, the T-Mobile G1, will not run versions later than 1.6 for technical reasons – it simply doesn't have enough internal memory. Other vendors decline to reveal why they are neglecting older devices. Samsung has not released an update for its Galaxy i7500, which runs Android 1.5. Acer also has no plans to update its Liquid, but, with the Liquid e, is releasing an almost identical phone which will run Android 2.1. Motorola are rolling out updates but are staging them as far off as Q3 2010 or are still evaluating updating for some phones.
- Report: Android gaining market share, a report from The H.
- Of Android and the Fear of Fragmentation, a feature from The H.
- Android versus Linux?, a feature from The H.