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Android Rules Smartphones, But Which Version? 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the whichever-one-doesn't-give-me-diabetes dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google Android's dominance of the smartphone space has been reinforced by a new IDC study that places its market-share at 68.3 percent, well ahead of iOS at 18.8 percent. But which version of Android is most preferred by users? A new set of graphs on the Android Developers Website offers the answer to that question: 'Gingerbread,' or Android versions 2.3 through 2.3.7, dominates with 50.8 percent of the Android pie. 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' or versions 4.0.3 through 4.0.4, is second with 27.5 percent, with the latest 'Jelly Bean' build at 6.7 percent. As demonstrated by that graph on the Android Developers Website, there are a lot of devices running a lot of different versions of Android out there in the ecosystem, all with different capabilities. In turn, that could make it difficult for Google to deliver 'the latest and greatest' to any customer that wants it, and potentially irritates those customers who buy a smartphone (particularly a high-end one) expecting regular upgrades." Here's how Slashdot readers using Android break down: 31.0% Jelly Bean, 31.5% Ice Cream Sandwich, 0.7% Honeycomb, 22.8% Gingerbread, 4.3% Froyo, 1.1% Eclair, 0.05% Donut, 0.02% Cupcake, 8.5% unknown. Looks like you folks are ahead of the curve. iOS breaks down like this: 67% iOS 6, 28.6% iOS 5, 3.2% iOS 4, 0.5% iOS 3, 0.7% unknown. (These numbers include more than just phones, of course.) Overall, our iOS traffic (8.74%) is higher than our Android traffic (6.75%). Windows Phone and BlackBerry both clock in at about 0.2%.
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Android Rules Smartphones, But Which Version?

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  • Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:32PM (#42184731)

    "But which version of Android is most preferred by users?"
    I don't think it's about which version users prefer but rather what version they are stuck with.

    • Re:Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Githaron (2462596) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:39PM (#42184843)

      "But which version of Android is most preferred by users?"

      The newest.

      • Re:Preference (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:56PM (#42185089)
        Well it depends. The newest runs like crap on a two year old phone. Some of the early Android phones didn't have enough memory.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          I'm running Jelly Bean on an original Galaxy S using CyanogenMod and it's pretty damned quick. It probably depends on the phone and the added bloat from the carrier.

          • by AuMatar (183847)

            I had a Galaxy S until I recently lost it. It had the default app layout (which basically meant google apps only, non of the OEM crud). I noticed a significant slowdown in many apps (especially the browser) moving from 2.3 to 4.0. It wasn't horrible, but it was feeling its age.

    • Re:Preference (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:46PM (#42184929)
      Exactly. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3. I've been waiting for the official over the update to Jelly Bean from Verizon, and there isn't even a publicized release date. (No idea if it will be 4.1 or 4.2 either).
    • by jandrese (485)
      It still drives me crazy that there isn't a "reference install" for Android that you can use (perhaps missing support for any esoteric hardware on your device, but with drivers for all commonly used hardware) when your service provider invariably stops updating your phone (approximately 6 months after first releasing it, or whenever the new version of Android comes out).

      Is it really that hard to do what people have been doing on PCs for ages now? You don't even have to upgrade the baseband, just leave it
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        It drives me crazy that folks like you have no idea how ARM SOCs work.

        There can't be a reference install. ARM does not even have PCI or anything like it so you can't figure out what hardware it has to even load drivers at boot.

        It is impossible to do what we have been doing with PCs.

        • Re:Preference (Score:4, Interesting)

          by the_B0fh (208483) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:06PM (#42185261) Homepage

          And that's because all the people involved are being actively stupid. It *IS* possible to have a few standard interfaces. They are just too damned lazy to do so.

          http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/linus-torvalds-arm-has-lot-learn-pc [networkworld.com]

          • Re:Preference (Score:4, Interesting)

            by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:10PM (#42185317)

            I think it is more that this is a new place for ARM to be in. They were not prepared for something like Android. They were used to be used on one off SOCs for embedded devices that never saw any updates and very little user interaction.

            ARM needs something like PCI, it needs standards it needs something like BIOS/EFI. Sadly right now it lacks all that and it really destroys any chance of a standardized installer for the platform.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            Adding standard buses and auto-configuration like on PCs isn't free though, both in terms of cost and in terms of power consumption. When you are trying to make a really, really cheap all-in-one chip with associated driver support and trying to make it last as long as possible on small batteries that sort of thing matters.

        • Re:Preference (Score:5, Informative)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:34PM (#42185605)

          It is impossible to do what we have been doing with PCs.

          To be more correct, the PC is really just ONE platform, while ARM SoCs form many.

          E.g., in a PC, the memory will ALWAYS be in the same location, the BIOS will ALWAYS be in the same location as well. Once you have those two basics out of the way, it's trivial to figure out where stuff like video adapters are (which happen to be in the same spot for a basic console, as well). PCI enumeration and assignment (which relies on the PCI bridge being in the same spot, as well as stuff like keyboard controllers and all that having the same I/O map).

          When stuff's in the same location, it's easy.

          With ARM, that's like everyone agreeing to use say, Samsung SoC's for the next 30 years and making sure Samsung's SoCs remain backwards compatible w.r.t. memory maps.

          After all, you can still boot DOS on a modern PC these days, If the memory map changed, or even if the memory is not in the same spot as it was before, that won't work as the link addresses are all wrong.

          Linux uses device trees for ARM, which is a hack to try to get the same thing on ARM SoCs, but the problem there is things like DMA controllers aren't the same, memory controllers vary, etc. And of course, where one chip can have memory starting at 0x80000000, others can have it at 0x40000000, or 0xC0000000...

      • Re:Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:20PM (#42185463)

        I have to give credit to Apple that even users of the positively ancient iPhone 3GS still get first tier support. You would be hard pressed to find an Android phone from that era with official support for Jelly Bean. Maybe one of the Nexus phones?

        Um, no, that's not entirely true.

        Ask anyone who has installed IOS5 or IOS6 on an old iPhone 3G, or even a 3Gs. Its horrible.

        Large portions of new and marvelous best-thing-ever features are just not present on the old phones [about.com], (even those features that do not technically require new hardware elements, or are so slow as to be unusable. Battery life goes to hell, even with after Apple attempts to fix it. Most people who do this immediately hop on the net looking for a way to revert, the rest give up and run out to buy the latest iPhone (which was the plan all along). There is a lot of advice to simply not upgrade [cnet.com] old phones.

        Even iPhone 4 users are wary about updating to IOS6.

        If anything the fact that you can install IOS6 on older devices speaks only to how little the iPhone has really progressed over time.

        • Re:Preference (Score:4, Interesting)

          by EXrider (756168) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:14PM (#42186029) Homepage
          Have you actually used an iOS device for any extended period of time, or is this just conjecture based upon accounts of others and ramblings on forums?

          I can't speak for the 3GS, but I had an iPhone 4 up until very recently and all of the OS updates, all the way up to 6.0.1 worked just fine for me. I mean, it was incrementally slower past iOS 4, as you would expect with more features (bloat) added for the newer more capable devices, but it wasn't as slow to be annoying or unusable like other devices I've had the displeasure of using. Battery life was always good for the two years I had the 4, I was regularly able to make it 24-48hrs on a charge all the way up to the last day I had it on 6.0.1.
          • by samkass (174571)

            He has a point about the iPhone 3G. It had too little memory and the upgrade to iOS 4.x went badly for many who tried it until Apple released a patch several months later. Of course, that was years ago and hasn't happened since, and the rest of what he says is inaccurate FUD. As is obvious from Slashdot's own public statistics, iPhone owners are not hesitant to upgrade, with almost 70% on the latest version. And the upgrade works quite well for 3GS and 4 owners.

      • Re:Preference (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:41PM (#42185687) Journal

        It still drives me crazy that there isn't a "reference install" for Android that you can use

        AOSP is the reference version. http://source.android.com/faqs.html [android.com]

    • Re:Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:56PM (#42185093)

      "But which version of Android is most preferred by users?".

      CyanogenMod

    • I can't think of anyone that has said they don't want to upgrade Android. It is purely because they can't. Google ballsed up by not enforcing upgrades on phones.
    • by pruss (246395)

      You may be right about most cases, but not all cases.

      Some people might prefer older versions because Google from time to time disables an API thereby breaking some app important to them. For instance, in JB, Google made it impossible for non-root non-system apps to access system logs, which kills many apps that monitor the logs to check for system conditions like app launch (e.g., I have an open source app that lets you set CPU, orientation and other settings differently for different apps; on JB, alas, it

  • by stevez67 (2374822) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:32PM (#42184741)
    That should read "which Android version is the one their device will run or has been allowed to upgrade to." It's not like anyone with an android phone running Froyo can arbitrarily decide to upgrade to Jelly Bean.
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      It's not like anyone with an android phone running Froyo can arbitrarily decide to upgrade to Jelly Bean.

      My HTC Glacier/T-Mobile MyTouch 4G was originally running Froyo when I got it. I've been able to upgrade to Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and JellyBean with 3rd party roms from over at XDA Developers.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        HTC is pretty ROM-friendly.

        Motorola, OTOH, has locked bootloaders on all its line unless you bought a developer phone. So the easy romming of HTC is a fantasy for Moto owners. The nearest you can get is a 2nd stage preloader that overlays the alternate ROM during the boot process, but I still don't really trust it.

    • I suspect they could go further than you think. Especially if they turned off certain functionalities like iOS does. For example maps on iOS 6 won't have 3D rendering on an old ipod touch. I guess it sucks if you know others have it but it's fully functional in every other way and it ensures as many people can move forward with the more essential bits.
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:33PM (#42184759)

    I know I'm not the only one but is this just age? Is there a real problem with the "code word" naming schemes?

    And stay off my snow.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:34PM (#42184775)

    Which version of Android is most preferred by users?

    How would anyone know? The decision is made by the service provider, not the user.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Most people, that is... Some devices can be dragged into Jelly Bean land with a solid ROM and work without issue.

      Other devices tend to be set aside at best thanks to locked bootloaders. For example, the Atrix 2 had promise, but the combination of a locked bootloader with the killing off of the laptop-esque dock made it just something to toss in a donate bin and write off taxes.

  • I'll upgrade to 4.x if CM9 or CM10 every deliver a stable build for my Defy. Stuck on CM7.2 for now
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:41PM (#42184857) Homepage Journal

    Android 68.3 percent, well ahead of iOS at 18.8

    So there are over 3 times as many Android phones as iPhones, yet internet usage by Android is *lower*?

    Something is fishy here.

    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:43PM (#42184895) Homepage Journal
      It's well documented that iOS users tend to use their phones a lot more than Android users. Same thing in tablet space.
    • So there are over 3 times as many Android phones as iPhones, yet internet usage by Android is *lower*?

      I own an Android device myself. But the only thing on it that's usable at all is Maps.

      There are tons of super-cheap Android devices sold that don't have great touch screens and thus people don't use them much except for the basics like email and maps and texting.

    • Android 68.3 percent, well ahead of iOS at 18.8

      So there are over 3 times as many Android phones as iPhones, yet internet usage by Android is *lower*?

      Something is fishy here.

      Most Android phones are the low-cost, low-margin, free-after-subsidy variety that are used at texting phones. Most iPhones are actually used as smartphones.

      I create Android and iOS apps for a living. At this point iOS apps have a much larger potential market, despite the fewer number of devices out there.

    • Android appears on some pretty low-end phones. Everyone talks about phones like the S3 but those sort of phones aren't what most Android owners have. I read something awhile ago saying that Android is replacing the feature/dumb phone. So when you have people picking up dirt cheap phones on PAYG sims they probably don't get internet (or very little) and they certainly won't be buying apps.

      That's the other issue with Android. Google can tout their numbers but 68.3% on its own doesn't mean anything unless y
    • So there are over 3 times as many Android phones as iPhones, yet internet usage by Android is *lower*?

      Something is fishy here.

      I'm guessing android users are spoofing the user agent on their browser to iPhone because so many websites still look and work better on mobile when the web server thinks you have an iPhone.

  • A little surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:42PM (#42184873)

    Yada yada, "preference" is the wrong word here. Anyway...

    I know there are many articles saying that iOS has more overall web usage, but I'm still surprised to see that it's even the case with a demographic like Slashdot. Of course, it doesn't mean there are more iOS Slashdot users, but it's still interesting.

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      Actually, if any group is likely to have a large set fiddling with their UA Strings in Android to get Slashdot to serve up the desktop version instead of the mobile version it's probably Slashdot. Speaking of which, i really ought to look into figuring out how to change that permanently rather than having to keep resetting in via about:debug.
      • You can get to the desktop Slashdot just fine in mobile browsers. I forget how as I switched long ago but look for a link that says "full version".

        I really doubt that accounts for any difference at all.

        • by godrik (1287354)

          most browser for android have an option "request the desktop version of the site"

          • by Daetrin (576516)
            The browser on my Jelly Bean tablet has such an option, the browser on my Gingerbread phone does not. I can't speak for the browsers on Ice Cream devices.
            • by Aranykai (1053846)

              I believe it does, its just hidden away in the advanced section of the settings as I recall. I could be wrong though, been awhile since I was using gingerbread.

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          A lot of sites have such buttons. And for me at least, on about half the sites when you hit the button all it does is reload the mobile page. I'm not sure if it's buggy programming on their part or something wrong with my browser, but i usually find it easiest just to reset the UAString to desktop from time to time.

          I do agree it doesn't account for much difference on most sites, i was just saying Slashdot is one of the few places where it _might_ be a measurable factor given the audience.
    • Slashdot doesn't represent most people and most Android phones are budget phones. Android owners need to realise most people don't own things like a S3 which I'm sure is a lovely phone but it's out of the price range of most people (even on a contract).

      If google doesn't do it already they need to release hardware stats too so people know if they target a certain level and OS version then how many people will they could potentially have. This is why developers still prefer iOS because I suspect the actual
  • Focusing on which version is just a distraction from what really matters. What really matters is the first three words of the headline. Android Rules Smartphones.

    It rules for the same reason that when you look in the parking lot you see no two cars alike. They all have different versions of equipment, or different model years. Nobody cares. What does matter is that, like Android phones, they come in every size, shape, color, style, feature combination and price that one could want.

    Openness. It a
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:59PM (#42185161)

      It rules for the same reason that when you look in the parking lot you see no two cars alike. They all have different versions of equipment, or different model years. Nobody cares....they come in every size, shape, color, style, feature combination and price that one could want. Openness. It appears that it may always win in the long run.

      What is "open" about cars at all? I can't generally use parts between them, often not even within the same model line between years.

      About as close as a car gets to being "open" is that I can buy a floor-mat that fits badly in ALMOST any car.

      Cars are "open" in the same way that Android and iOS and WP8 and every other Smart phone are "open" already. I can buy a tank of gas anywhere and use it in my car (well, not Diesel....). I can also use a number of carriers from any smart phone (well, not any smart phone, some are carrier locked). I can browse the web anywhere, well, except for web sites that use Flash or SIlverlight because those plugins don't exist anymore on most mobile smartphones.

      I guess they are alike in that I can use the same cleaning products for any car, and can find cleaning products that also work for any smart phone?

      In the end your analogy just seems really bad, even considering it's based on cars which are foolproof in the analogy department.

      But perhaps it's just you trying to claim something the opposite of what is being demonstrated; cars after all are a prime example of how proprietary and closed wins over the hearts and minds of consumers.

      • Android cars are more alike than they are different. That's what matters. A better analogy than your floor mats and cleaning fluids is that until Android phones, all of the phones needed different "fuel" (eg, Apps). So an analogy would be that there was a mishmash of incompatible cars, all using different fuels. Apple made one that uses its own fuel. Android came up with an engine (eg, OS) that enabled all sorts of cars to use the same fuel (eg Apps).
      • I'm not so sure. Many minor assemblies such as Brembo brake callipers are common across many vehicles. Also, many manufacturers share common chassis designs with a cosmetically different body.

        Take a look at these three:
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/VW_Sharan.jpg [wikimedia.org]
        http://www.albacars.com/image/seat_alhambra.jpg [albacars.com]
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/Ford_Galaxy_-_first_generation.jpg [wikimedia.org]

        Same chassis, three different makers.

        However, I do dislike the car analogy. Invariably the iProdu

      • I'm not sure I would use the word "open," either. It's more about "choice."

        My roomate's nephew got himself an iPhone 4. But he secretly lusts after the Galaxy S3. He loves the big screen.

        Personally, I like the size of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5--I like that narrowness that I can grab comfortably. The Galaxy S3 feels a little too big and light and I feel like I'd drop it. But, again, that's me.

        The example of the parking lot of cars is a good analogy--not so much for openness but for choice. Check out t

      • His point wasn't phrased the best. Look at the cars in the carpark. You see huge variety in size, shapes, colours, functions, etc. You don't see a monoculture of same size, same shape, same features. Apple's tight corporate control enforces that sameness; Android's openness allows companies to produce the sort of variety you see in cars.

        Car's are only "open" inasmuch as the key patents have expired, and the basic engineering principles are well known. Anyone can make a car, and we get variety because of it.

      • It rules for the same reason that when you look in the parking lot you see no two cars alike. They all have different versions of equipment, or different model years. Nobody cares....they come in every size, shape, color, style, feature combination and price that one could want. Openness. It appears that it may always win in the long run.

        What is "open" about cars at all? I can't generally use parts between them, often not even within the same model line between years.

        I have NGK spark plugs in my Honda.

        I can choose between Firelli, Toyo or Khumo tyres. Hell, if I really wanted to I could take the K20 engine out and replace it with a 357 Chevy... not that it would work very well but I can. I'm not forced to use Honda oil, Honda petrol, Honda tyres, Honda Brake pads, Honda clutches, Honda seats, I can use any brand I can get.

        Hell, next week I'm putting in an Apexi intake... Sure as shit not a Honda approved part but she's going in.

        But perhaps it's just you trying to claim something the opposite of what is being demonstrated

        Nope, the GP is right. You simply di

    • Cars all serve the same basic purpose of getting to poit A to point B within the speed limit. All android phones don't do what a smart phone should do and if they do, they don't necessarily do it well. I should know, I just gave up a G1 on 1.5. Surfing the internet on it was fucking hell. The market just broke with no error message and I lost all my apps. A lot of those older verisions still have bugs like when the login cookie corrupts that leaves certain buttons, like the home button, don't work and unles
      • Giving up a G1 is like saying I just gave up a model-T. Now if you had purchased it within the last couple years, then it is something that someone should not have been selling. I think you would have a much better experience on an Android device that was new two years ago. I certainly have had. But you should find whatever works for you.
        • I was going to just that but my friend had a phone that's probably 2 years old now and he still had pretty much the same problems I had even if it was improved over all. He's also had to replace the battery sooner than I had to in my G1. Where as everyone I knew with an iphone (even 3GS) didn't have to even be concerned the battery wasn't replaceable so I went with a 4S.

          I also didn't like that everyone that has an Android phone that remains relatively up to date and cool also uses cyanogenmod. As someone
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:49PM (#42184963)

    As with so many things, Slashdot users are not typical of the wider world. According to android.com, the marketshare for Android versions 3 and up isn't at 40% yet...

    http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html [android.com]

    • Similarly to your example at developer.android.com, when I look in the parking lot, I notice that most people are not driving the very latest model car! (gasp!) Horrors! How can this be allowed!

      Someone should pass a law or something.
      • when I look in the parking lot, I notice that most people are not driving the very latest model car!

        Wouldn't you rather expect them to if they could have the newest model with only a five-minute download?

        • > Wouldn't you rather expect them to if they could have the newest model with only a five-minute download?

          The answer, at a place like Slashdot, seems like it has an obvious answer.

          But in reality (not Slashdot), the obvious answer is the opposite.

          No.

          Most people, your mom, the school cheerleader, a doctor, the car dealer, etc, will NOT have the latest phone OS even if it were a five minute download. And the reality is that in some cases it is more trouble than a five minute download. So I sup
  • which becomes useless if you don't upgrade. Android OS versions each have their unique abilities and are all worthy in-themselves. I can still use an Android 2.2 device to its full extent, same can't be said about Apple products.
    • which becomes useless if you don't upgrade. Android OS versions each have their unique abilities and are all worthy in-themselves. I can still use an Android 2.2 device to its full extent, same can't be said about Apple products.

      iOS6 has support all the way back to the iPhone 3GS. Apple supports previous hardware as well as anyone.

      • Actually, Apple supports previous hardware *better* than pretty much everyone else. The only one that does better, is Microsoft. Well, for PCs at least. Their mobile devices... not so much.

        The vast majority of devices receive either minimal updates, or most likely no updates at all.

    • Well, unlike IOS versions which becomes useless if you don't upgrade.

      That is totally false. Lots of people wait a long time before upgrading. Almost all iOS developers support iOS 5.1, most of them even support back to 4.1.

      And even if you never upgraded you could just keep using the device and the apps you had installed as long as you wanted. It would simply be the case that over time you'd be able to use fewer new applications and some updates to apps you had.

      iOS users don't upgrade because they NEED

      • They upgrade because Apple pesters you until you do [...]

        FTFY.

        • They upgrade because Apple ASKS YOU ONCE and then doesn't care if you proceed without upgrading.

          It's funny how Slashdot geeks would hold back commenting on any other topic where they had no knowledge, but with Apple many are genius-level administrators even though they don't use the product or have not for years.

    • No, 2.2 will still be shit. My friend is on it and surfing the internet is nothing like on an S3 or even a iphone 4. Yes, 2.2 will function but it won't be great by any means. It won't even if good. People probably just blame their network connection and don't realise its the browser choking on JS that makes it slower.
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:11PM (#42185323) Homepage

    Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" was the newest phone OS for a long time, because it was followed by Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" which was only for tablets. A whole bunch of phones shipped with Gingerbread.

    After a long time Google released Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" and then, after a much shorter time, Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean". ICS was a big enough change that the phone companies were a bit slow to roll it out, with many phones shipping with Gingerbread and a promise that ICS would be provided as an update. Early adopters made an effort to get new phones, but most people kept on using their existing phones (which after all still worked).

    Thus I would expect Gingerbread to still be a large chunk of the Android phones in current use, with ICS or Jelly Bean as an ever-growing segment. I've seen articles claiming that the large amount of Gingerbread still in use is a "problem" or a "failure" but I don't see it that way.

    At this point, new phones no longer come with Gingerbread so over time the old phones will be replaced with ICS or Jelly Bean.

    I don't think we can learn anything useful about the merits or weaknesses of Android 2.x versus Android 4.x by looking at market share. It's almost purely related to what was available and when. Early adopters always want the newest, other users mostly just buy a new phone when they need one and take whatever system the phone is running.

    But I will say that there is no way the Galaxy SIII would be as popular as it is if it were saddled with Gingerbread.

  • Perhaps this is telling in how little support is given to phones after they are sold. Mine runs Gingerbread (2.3.3). It is 2 years old, yet was released 2 years, 4 months ago. No updates were provided past 2.3. Sure, I can install CM on it or another flavor, but most consumers will not do that. I expect the numbers to reach Froyo levels in 2013 as users start swapping carrier-subsidized phones for ICS or JB. One thing Apple does get right...phones get new versions of the OS long into the future. The Android

  • If Google would have made it so that OS upgrade directly came from them and not the scumbag carrier, most phones would be running v4.0 or better.

    Instead if the carrier thinks it will benefit them (the carrier, not their custmers), then they will crapify the OS and impose it on their captive customers. Most times they wont do this because the new OS is what will sell a new phone.

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yahMENCKENoo.com minus author> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:36PM (#42185621)

    People on tech forums always complain about how fragmented Android is. "ZoMg iM sTuCk On TiArAmAsU!!!!!111 WhEn WiLl i GeT wHiTe ChOcOlAtE MoChA??? WAAAAHHHHHhhh!!!!!1111 $MY_CARRIER iS tEh SuXoRz!!!"

    In my experience, it's more version number bragging contests than anything else. The only apps that don't run on every version of Android I've used since 2.2 (now a three year old release that counts for less than 3% of devices combined with all of those below it) are LBE Privacy Guard (doesn't run on Jelly Bean but runs on anything else; XDA-Devs has a translation of the Chinese variant that works fine), 4EXT Recovery (which is more hardware specific than OS specific since it's actually a recovery environment), and a few power widgets since ICS and up don't allow widgets to directly toggle GPS and the baseband. Everything else, from Amazon daily free apps (usually games) to Netflix, to media players, to Root Explorer...it all works flawlessly on every Android device I've owned.
    Yes, Jellybean gives us Google Now and pseudo-Swype. Yes, ICS gave us a somewhat different UI (I prefer the vertically scrolling app drawer myself...and yes I know about the third party launcher apps; that's not the point) and MTP instead of USB Mass Storage (another change I somewhat-understand but can't stand). If your hardware supports NFC, ICS can also utilize that, although its utility is still in the "because I can" / "the iPhone doesn't have it" stage. Beyond those changes, I have to Wikipedia the rest.

    Really, the bigger differences tend to follow the OEMs. I personally really like HTC Sense, though I know plenty of people (especially here) disagree with me. Touchwiz doesn't completely suck like Motoblur does, and the bone-stock nexus/cyanogen UI seems a bit too minimalist for me. For end users, the differences in those skins is going to be a bigger change than between different android versions, especially since, once again, they all run the same apps.

    Everyone complains about how fragmented Android is, but literally every OS that's ever had more than one version will have that. Windows? XP/Vista/7/8, to say nothing about the asymptotic number of 2000/9x users clinging to their 15 year old desktops that still work perfectly and refuse to die. No one complains that Windows is fragmented. OSX? Tiger/Leopard/Snow Leopard/Lion/Mountain Lion all exist, all happily running Final Cut Pro, Logic, Photoshop, and iLife. Linux? There's an extensive SVG-formatted family tree of flavors over on Wiki, all doing something. iOS? Perhaps the closest to a unified platform, but there are still plenty of 3GS devices and older-gen iPod Touch units running iOS 5.x (including every first-gen iPad), 4.x, and likely still a handful on 3.x.

    No matter what you compare Android to, you'll be comparing it to something with plenty of fragmentation of its own. Fragmentation has never stopped a computing platform from adoption, and just because there is a version of $WHATEVER_OS newer than yours doesn't instantly prevent all the existing applications from running unless the OS maker royally messes with stuff or involves a completely different flavor of hardware or something equally drastic. So why is it that Androidland always has their knickers in a twist over the fact that their hardware isn't running THE LATEST version? If it was really that big of a deal, most phones have fairly simple rooting instructions over at xda-devs or sdx-devs.

    Mobile OS updates were RARE before the iPhone; I remember my HTC Dash getting exactly one (official) update. Desktop Windows never gave free updates, and neither did OSX - that was always something the Linux community prided itself on, but the Linux community isn't attempting to perpetuate a business model.

    I'll conclude with posing the question again: Why does Android get the 'fragmented' label as a derogatory stigma and a 'problem' in need of 'solving', when literally every operating system ever can also wear that badge just as well and no one cares?

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      They have to have something to complain about. Don't worry about it. Android is taking over the world anyway, so this criticism doesn't matter. We will still get our cool new Android in the future because it moves units. At the end of the argument that is all that matters.

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