Apple now charting App Store iOS fragmentation just like Google's Android

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2014
After first announcing that 93 percent of App Store customers are using the latest iOS 6 at WWDC last week, Apple has added the chart to its public developer site, mirroring Google's reporting of Android users in Google Play.

Mobile OS installed base stats


Apple now portrays the data in the same pie chart format at Google, drawing increased attention to the fact that on iOS, developers need only target the latest operating system. Apple also expects that adoption of iOS 7 will follow the rapid pace of previous releases, due in large part to the company's aggressive efforts to upgrade users and to prepare developers for the update.

Just 1 percent of Apple's App Store visitors still use a version older than iOS 5, released in October 2011. And only six percent are still using last year's iOS 5, the last version supported by the original 2010 iPad and 2009 iPod touch.

Google currently reports that as of June, the largest segment of Android devices are still running version 2.3 Gingerbread (36.5 percent), which was released in winter 2010. Another 4.8 percent use even older software.

Google Play stats
Source: Google


Another 25.6 percent are still on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which was released the same month as iOS 5. Only 33 percent are running the latest major version, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which was announced last summer alongside Apple's debut of iOS 6.

And that's ignoring many Android shipments

Additionally, Google's statistics only look at those Android devices that regularly access Google Play, excluding Android-based products like Amazon's Kindle Fire and the millions of Android devices in China and other regions that don't use Google's services.

Google also began editing its numbers in March in response to comments by Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller, who pointed out to Reuters that "with their own data, [Google reports] only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system. Over 50 percent are still on software that is two years old. A really big difference."

Two weeks later in its April report, Google made the necessary changes in its reporting to instantly inflate the proportion of its users reported to be using a less than year old version of Android and scale back the number of users reported to be stuck on a version from 2010 to be slightly below the 50 percent mark.

Two thirds of Android users can't use Google Now

Android's advocates have long claimed that fragmentation isn't really a problem, while also trying to claim that Android's large global shipments position it as a larger platform for developers than Apple's iOS.

But even Google has been unable to roll out its apps and services across a significant number of Android users. For example, Google Now requires Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, meaning that 66 percent of active Google Play users can't even install it. "More than six months have passed since Google first introduced its enhanced notifications in Android 4.1. It's disappointing that more apps haven't jumped on the bandwagon.

Adobe's Photoshop Touch requires Android 4.0, meaning only half the users in Google Play can use it.

Google, its hardware partners and the various mobile carriers also make it complex and in many cases impossible for users to obtain Android updates, even months after a new version is "released."

On the other hand, many developers simply ignore new features Google adds to Android. "More than six months have passed since Google first introduced its enhanced notifications in Android 4.1," complained MobileBurn. "It's disappointing that more apps haven't jumped on the bandwagon."

Apple's efforts to keep iOS users up to date have enabled quick developer uptake of new platform features in their apps, ranging from Notification Center to Game Center to Passbook.

New phones, old Android, no updates

Additionally, unlike the Windows PC world, where even users who didn't want to upgrade to the newest OS version essentially had no choice when they bought a new Windows computer, Android licensees are still selling lots of handsets with very old versions of Android on them. Verizon Wireless sells a variety of smartphones on its website that still ship with the ancient 2.3 Gingerbread

Verizon Wireless, for example, sells a variety of smartphones on its website that still ship with the ancient 2.3 Gingerbread, including the HTC Rhyme, LG Lucid and Spectrum, CASIO G?zOne Commando and Samsung Stratosphere. Users have to dig to see the actual specifications, because in many comparisons the OS is only specified as being "Android."

Verizon is not unique. In fact, very few phones ever ship with the latest release of Android installed. Even a year after Jelly Bean was unveiled last summer, many new phones are still shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich.

In stark contrast, Apple not only makes iOS updates immediately available, for free, to all of its users the same day it is released, but also continues to support its hardware with new iOS updates for at least two years after their initial release. And it doesn't sell new devices with outdated software that can't be upgraded.

For example, Apple continues to support iPhone 4, which was released back in 2010 when Android 2.2 was new. The phone will also run iOS 7 when it is launched this fall, giving it more than four years of updates.

In 2011, Google IO rolled out the "Google Update Alliance," a plan to ensure new Android smartphones would get software updates for at least 18 months after going on sale. The plan was declared dead before 2011 even ended.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 101
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    In before whoever it was who said the chart was flawed and that it would be better to show Android on one manufacturer only.
  • Reply 2 of 101
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member


    This will make the decision to drop support for iOS 5 for my apps easier when Apple release iOS 7.

  • Reply 3 of 101


    How on earth can any fandroid make an excuse for this? It's absolutely ridiculous.

  • Reply 4 of 101
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member


    The longer Apple can keep a device updatable, the better. My MacBook 2007 (fall edition) just missed Mnt Lion. Apple released four versions of the MB that year and had I purchased three weeks later . . . 


     


    Now all my Apple products are up to date. Five years seems a good length of time. But, if progress necessitates moving on, so be it.


     


    Yet compared to the orphanage that is manned by Android, let that lady dance to its silly tune.


     


    Addendum: But how trustful is Google going to be? I suspect the fire department will need to be called to put out the numerous pants that are on fire.

  • Reply 5 of 101
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    How on earth can any fandroid make an excuse for this? It's absolutely ridiculous.

    No excuses just reasons.
  • Reply 6 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member


    I'd prefer if Apple just focus on marketing its own strengths. Comparison marketing simply draws attention to the competition.

  • Reply 7 of 101
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member



    Google should be commended for finally seeing fit to drop Android support for the OS version that used sync by string pulled taut between two devices.


     


    oops: taut for taught;


     


    thanks stelligent; dang those homophone's (and I really am fair minded wot ever sxual perswasion enyone is.)

  • Reply 8 of 101
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,624member


    Things will never get better for Android because the handset manufacturers, including Motorola, have no incentive to encourage customers to update their phones' OS.

  • Reply 9 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mhikl View Post



    Google should be commended for finally seeing fit to drop Android support for the OS version that used sync by string pulled taught between two devices.



    You should consider taking English lessons. The intended humor is lost in the translation. 

  • Reply 10 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    Things will never get better for Android because the handset manufacturers, including Motorola, have no incentive to encourage customers to update their phones' OS.



     


    I think it's the carriers as much as the manufacturers (if not more so) who are blocking updates.

  • Reply 11 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mhikl View Post


    The longer Apple can keep a device updatable, the better. My MacBook 2007 (fall edition) just missed Mnt Lion. Apple released four versions of the MB that year and had I purchased three weeks later . . . 


     


    Now all my Apple products are up to date. Five years seems a good length of time. But, if progress necessitates moving on, so be it.


     


    Yet compared to the orphanage that is manned by Android, let that lady dance to its silly tune.


     


    Addendum: But how trustful is Google going to be? I suspect the fire department will need to be called to put out the numerous pants that are on fire.



    The word you want is "trustworthy".

  • Reply 12 of 101
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post


    How on earth can any fandroid make an excuse for this? It's absolutely ridiculous.



     


    It's quite common for articles on here to be incorrect or misleading when referencing Android, but this isn't one of them.  iOS and Android each have their pros and cons.  This area is certainly one of Android's downsides and it's not likely to go away anytime soon with the way things currently work.

  • Reply 13 of 101
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    stelligent wrote: »
    I think it's the carriers as much as the manufacturers (if not more so) who are blocking updates.

    Yes but it's the manufacturers job to get the ball rolling. I'd agree with you if there were instances in which a carrier blocked an update that a manufacturer proposed. If it has happened I'm unaware of it.
  • Reply 14 of 101
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    L
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    No excuses just reasons.

    They used to point out that when Google releases a version of Android, it's like Apple releasing a beta at WWDC. To some degree I can see this as a fair comparison, meaning that Google has to first release the version and then vendors and carriers can start work on implementing upgrades.

    Ok, but when this was the excuse back in 2010, I was skeptical, but could see how this was the case. However since 2010, the largest group of users are still on the same version. THREE years! Meanwhile my server stats are already showing a larger breakdown for iOS 7 than the latest version of Android...which goes back to November of last year.

    Pathetic, that's what it is.

    But it's even worse than that. As a user, fragmentation exists on both ends. Meaning, my Nexus 7 does have 4.2.2... Great, I'm up to date, right? Not so fast. Many apps aren't yet compatible with my device despite the 4.2.1 coming out in November and 4.2.2 coming out in February. Fortunately I just use the Nexus for development testing.
  • Reply 15 of 101
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    After first announcing that 93 percent of App Store customers are using the latest iOS 6 at WWDC last week, Apple has added the chart to its public developer site, mirroring Google's reporting of Android users in Google Play.

    <div align="center"><img src="http://photos.appleinsidercdn.com/iOSvsAndroid.062013.jpg" alt="Mobile OS installed base stats"></div>

    Well, that's hardly "just like Google's Android" as the headline says. There's a world of difference between the levels of fragmentation.
  • Reply 16 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Yes but it's the manufacturers job to get the ball rolling. I'd agree with you if there were instances in which a carrier blocked an update that a manufacturer proposed. If it has happened I'm unaware of it.


    It has happened. Manufacturers would not make much noise about it for fear of being cut out by the carriers. But you're right in implying that manufacturers are not knocking down the carriers' doors to push this.


     


    Here's the process: Google releases a new flavor of ice cream ... eh ... Android. The manufacturers then not only have to adapt and test it for each phone, but for each carrier variant of it. Once that is delivered by the manufacturers, the carriers then have to do their own customization, and test. Assuming there is a will by all parties to make this happen, every step of this process takes time and effort, which is more often iterative than not (because the carriers are not happy with something). But what is the incentive to make it happen?


     


    If there is an Android manufacturer that can change the leverage, it's Samsung. But obsolescence of software is not something they care that much about, it would appear.

  • Reply 17 of 101
    binexbinex Posts: 23member
    stelligent wrote: »
    I'd prefer if Apple just focus on marketing its own strengths. Comparison marketing simply draws attention to the competition.

    Apple are not making the comparison, AI is. If you follow the Apple Developer link in the story you will see Apple only show the iOS distribution. Even the graphs are different; Google use white lines to separate the pies, Apple don't and they use different legend styling.
  • Reply 18 of 101
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by binex View Post





    Apple are not making the comparison, AI is. If you follow the Apple Developer link in the story you will see Apple only show the iOS distribution. Even the graphs are different; Google use white lines to separate the pies, Apple don't and they use different legend styling.


    Yes, Apple is making the comparison. They have been comparing iOS/Android almost since the beginning.

  • Reply 19 of 101
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    macslut wrote: »
    L
    They used to point out that when Google releases a version of Android, it's like Apple releasing a beta at WWDC. To some degree I can see this as a fair comparison, meaning that Google has to first release the version and then vendors and carriers can start work on implementing upgrades.

    Ok, but when this was the excuse back in 2010, I was skeptical, but could see how this was the case. However since 2010, the largest group of users are still on the same version. THREE years! Meanwhile my server stats are already showing a larger breakdown for iOS 7 than the latest version of Android...which goes back to November of last year.

    Pathetic, that's what it is.

    But it's even worse than that. As a user, fragmentation exists on both ends. Meaning, my Nexus 7 does have 4.2.2... Great, I'm up to date, right? Not so fast. Many apps aren't yet compatible with my device despite the 4.2.1 coming out in November and 4.2.2 coming out in February. Fortunately I just use the Nexus for development testing.

    I have a problem with the beta analogy, once a version is put on the server it's a complete product, the manufacturers have fine tune it to their device. Is it pathetic? Yes but I'll give you the epitome of pathetic, how is it that in some cases a singular dev can make a ROM using the latest version of Android and get it running on a device with minimal bugs. A dev with less knowhow and much less manpower is able to do what the manufacturers claim cannot. That's a joke and not a funny one.
  • Reply 20 of 101
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,419member
    droidftw wrote: »
    It's quite common for articles on here to be incorrect or misleading when referencing Android, but this isn't one of them.  iOS and Android each have their pros and cons.  This area is certainly one of Android's downsides and it's not likely to go away anytime soon with the way things currently work.

    So when you having nothing to criticize, you make a blanket accusation that most everything else is wrong.

    I challenge you to point out three actual "incorrect or misleading" things AI has ever reported with regard to Android. And your misreading of an article doesn't count.
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