Google IO17: Android deployment rate continues to slip backward

Posted:
in iPhone
Google has unveiled new versions of Android at its annual I/O developer convention with features often inspired by the previous year's iOS. The main difference: Apple can launch a new version of iOS and broadly distribute it before Google can deploy its copy of last year's iOS across even a third of its installed base. This problem is getting worse each year for Google and its Android partners.


Android's software deployment pace is slipping backward

Two years ago at Google I/O 2015, less than a tenth (9.7 percent, according to Google) of Android's active installed base had upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop, which had been introduced the previous year (around the time of iOS 8).

Another 39.8 percent were using 2013's Android 4.4 KitKat, then two years old (comparable to iOS 7), and 39.2 percent were still on some version of Jelly Bean, which dated back to 2012 (like iOS 6). Another eleven percent were stuck using software that was from 2011 or older. Those numbers were so dismal that it looked like Google could only improve on them.


Source: Google


It didn't. Instead, a year later it could only report that 7.5 percent of its active base on Google Play was running its year old Android 6 Marshmallow (a 20 percent decrease in deployment success).

Further, only 35.6 percent were now running a two year old Android (a 10 percent regression) and 32.5 percent were running a three year old Android (17 percent worse). The remaining 24.4 percent were using software four or more years old. That was a 120 percent increase in the number of users running extremely old Android software (at the time on the level of iOS 6 or older).


Source: Google


Things haven't improved. Instead, a year later it can now only report that 7.1 percent of its active base using Google Play is running the year old Android 7 Nougat (5.3 percent worse than last year and 26.8 percent worse than 2015).

Further, only 31.2 percent are now running a two year old Android (12 percent worse than last year) and 32 percent are now running a three year old Android. The remaining 29.7 percent are now using software four or more years old. That's a 21.7 percent increase in the number of users running extremely old Android software (on the level of iOS 7 or older) over last year and 170 percent worse than 2015--when the situation was already clearly a problem.


Source: Google


Back in 2013, Apple began charting its own iOS deployment. Today, Apple states that as of February 79 percent of iOS users are on its latest iOS 10.

Four years ago, things looked rough for Android because "only" 33 percent of Google Play users were on Google's latest version of Android. Today Google's ability to keep its platform modern, patched and updated has deteriorated even more dramatically. How is that even possible?

Peak Phone is a big problem for Android

For one thing, growth in the smartphone market has been cooling off, and even disappeared entirely in some markets over the last year. Shipments of all smartphones grew by 282 million in 2014 (growth of nearly 28 percent) but only 131.2 million in 2015 (just ten percent growth). During 2016, overall sales grew by less than 5 percent globally, according to Gartner.

The rapid growth of Android's smartphone unit volumes that was expected to at some point result in a more desirable platform target for app developers compared to iOS is now gone. But it's not just volume growth that's missing. There's also the value of each unit sold.

Since 2010, the average selling price of Apple's iPhones has consistently remained within $50 of $700. In contrast, the ASP of Android phones has plummeted from $441 down below $250. While iPhones used to sell at a $260 premium over the average Android, they're now selling near a $450 premium. To reach that low, corners need to be cut.

Three years of Google aiming at the low end

The price tags of premium Android phones haven't really been going down. Since 2014, Samsung's Galaxy S and Note models have carried retail prices similar to or higher than Apple's newest iPhone. If Android were actually delivering modern phones at lower prices, new users would be cost effectively gaining access to the latest Nougat. They're clearly not

The reason Android's ASP is plummeting is that an increasing proportion of devices are being sold in the mid-grade or low-end tiers. If Android were actually delivering modern phones at lower prices, new users would be cost effectively gaining access to the latest Nougat. They're clearly not. Instead, buyers are frequently getting outdated hardware with outdated versions of Android software to reach down to $100 to $200 price targets.

That's despite the fact that recent Android releases have not been high-powered releases targeting expensive, premium Android phones. In fact, the primary stated focus of recent versions of Android were to enable basic phones for emerging markets to rapidly bring modern Android features to market via low cost hardware, an initiative Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai initially outlined as "Android One" for the "next billion users" back in 2014.

That goal was reiterated last year and again this year for Android O, which even delivers a specially designed Go edition designed to work better on devices with even less memory and processing capacity. The Go release is also intended to run simpler apps for basic phones equipped with less than 1 GB of memory--the kind of anemic specification you'd find on an iPhone 4s dating from 2011.

Android Go


Android One turned out to be a huge flop. The fact that Marshmallow and now Nougat have also reached new lows for penetration in Android releases illustrates how badly Google has failed to achieve its stated objectives.


Sundar Pichai outlining Android One at I/O 2014

Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel both aimed at premium, both failed

While Google failed to deploy modern Android via low end devices, Samsung failed in its efforts to expand into the premium tier. During its launch quarter last year, Galaxy S7 reached 9 million shipments, a slim fraction of the company's overall smartphone quarterly shipments of more than 80 million.After the complete flameout of Note 7 last fall, the supposedly pent up demand for the Galaxy S8 failed to materialize in new peak sales

This year, after the complete flameout of Note 7 last fall, the supposedly pent up demand for the Galaxy S8 failed to materialize in new peak sales. Instead, the launch month sales of S8 and S8 Plus has barely surpassed 5 million.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Samsung to sell significantly fewer of its flagship S8 model this year than last. This year's launch shipments are also down dramatically from 2014, when Samsung announced flagship launch month sales of 10 million.

Outside of its top tier models, Samsung rarely bothers to upgrade many of its other middle tier devices, and mobile carriers often slow down the update cycle even further.

It's not just Samsung that has failed in the premium tier. Particularly starting in 2015, Google itself also attempted to rustle up support for faster Application Processors for its Android partners. However, flagship Android chips continue to lag behind Apple's rapid pace of development.

The oldest A9 chips used in iPhone SE and iPhone 6s models continue to beat the fastest Android chips in single core performance, and Apple's new iPhone 7 shipped last fall with A10 Fusion, a chip that remains faster than the Qualcomm chip in Samsung's most expensive Galaxy S8 phone this year.

In part, that's because Apple can invest more in its custom chips because it makes more money from selling far more high end phones than any other vendor. But it's also due in part to the superior efficiency of iOS, which uses substantially less memory than Android requires. Over the last several years, Apple has been beating the performance of Androids equipped with twice as much memory--an embarrassment for Google's OS-level engineering.

Meanwhile, despite pundit advice that for years demanded Apple release a cheap iPhone, the company instead launched premium, larger devices. And when it refreshed its smaller iPhone SE at a lower entry price, it gave it a fast A9 processor that kept it ahead of premium-priced Androids.

As a result, Apple has the top selling smartphone in the US and Europe and decisively leads the premium price tier even in less affluent countries such as India, China and Russia. That strategy has not only kept iPhone a premium, aspirational brand, but has also resulted in Apple earning virtually all of the available profits in the industry as high volume, lower-end phone makers fight over the scraps.

Premium tier phones in China
Source: Counterpoint Model Sales Tracker - Q1 2017


Google's own efforts to turn its spectacularly cheap Nexus phones and tablets into a premium-priced portfolio including the Pixel C tablet and Pixel and Pixel XL phone have sold in very small quantities despite significant advertising and marketing efforts. That's sent Google back into cheap land to try to at least get its partners selling volumes of phones that can run its services, display its ads and collect data from users.

Instant Apps for a lagging OS

Old versions of Android in the installed base also mean that strategic features Google intends rolls out each year are not being broadly deployed. Google has tried to shift more of its new software into Google Play updates and this has helped to deploy some features faster than the full OS which never makes it to most users across its first two years of availability. Google has tried to shift more of its new software into Google Play updates and this has helped to deploy some features faster than the full OS

But Apple does not have this problem at all, enabling it to rapidly shift its users to new services and apps and quickly roll out new API features that its third party developers can immediately use. That helps to attract iOS development and also helps to build Apple's Services growth.

Last year, Google introduced Instant Apps, a mechanism to enable components of apps to launch and run on systems dating back to Jelly Bean, reaching at least 75 percent of Google Play's active users. The primary issue Instant Apps sought to address, however, was the fact that users aren't searching Google on mobile anymore.

This year, Google is doubling down on efforts to roll out Instant Apps by opening up the program to all developers. But it is also increasingly working to get its apps and services on a platform where there's a more attractive demographic of users running modern software on premium hardware: iOS.
capasicumCyborgKungFu
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,022member
    A completely underwhelming IO.
    watto_cobraBluntlkruppalbegarcjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 55
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    What a mess.
    Good luck with that.
    pscooter63watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 3 of 55
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 4 of 55
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,280member
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.

    avon b7
  • Reply 5 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    I think it was possibly a mistake to add the Mission Impossible self destruct option in the Galaxy models' version.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 55
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 912member
    gatorguy said:
    I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.
    Citation needed.
    watto_cobraStrangeDaysCyborgKungFu
  • Reply 7 of 55
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,022member
    gatorguy said:
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.



    Highly doubt it. iPhone outsells Samsung flagships by almost 4:1. And Samsung is the number one vendor of Android flagships.
    Rayz2016watto_cobrajbdragoncornchipCyborgKungFu
  • Reply 8 of 55
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 989member
    gatorguy said:
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.

    I don't see it. What I see, as per current, are:

    PREMIUM
    iPhones : Androids = 4 : 1 (x15% total smartphone market)

    NON PREMIUM
    iPhones : Androids : Others = 0 : 9 : 1 (x85% total smartphone market)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 55
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,216member

    Everything, from the I/O logo, to the Android Go slide in that warehouse, seems off.

    Nothing I've read about I/O seems interesting. But then again, I'd never consider Android so I'm not the target audience.


    watto_cobrapscooter63jbdragoncornchip
  • Reply 10 of 55
    kevin kee said:
    gatorguy said:
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.

    I don't see it. What I see, as per current, are:

    PREMIUM
    iPhones : Androids = 4 : 1 (x15% total smartphone market)

    NON PREMIUM
    iPhones : Androids : Others = 0 : 9 : 1 (x85% total smartphone market)
    He mentioned "premium hardware" NOT "premium price". By "premium hardware", he meant Android devices with SD 820/821/653/Kirin 950/960 (SoCs which are all capable of pushing QHD displays), 4GB RAM, QHD display etc. Basically the devices like One Plus 3, MI 5/Note 2 (and variants), Lenovo Zuk Z2 plus, Honor 8/8 Pro etc were all included in the "premium hardware" category. My guess is that - even after including all of those devices, it would be iPhones : Android = 2:1 (about 200 million iphones and 100 million Android phones with high end SoCs/4+ GB RAM).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 55
    mudcat62 said:
    Waiting for the Android  crowd with " Android is perfect, it needs no updates" LOL.....
    Since you asked for it, here you go!!! Android is NOT perfect, by any stretch of imagination. It will never be (much like IOS is/will be). BUT, Android fragmentation as an issue is completely blown out of proportion, than what it actually is. It is just similar to the PC space - with various windows versions (from XP to windows 10) running on different computers depending on the needs of the end-users, availability of hardware to run those versions etc. The reality is this - People for most of the time (more than 90% of the time) use the "Apps", not the built-in OS features. And all of the frequently USED apps are available and running even in 4 year old phones with Android Jellybean. So the users with old Android version phones are not really missing out on something which they desperately need (something similar to people who own windows PCs with XP/7). Security updates are a different story - Google is working on improving the situation here and need to get their act together.
    edited May 2017 singularitycropr
  • Reply 12 of 55
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,464member
    gatorguy said:
    I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.
    Citation needed.
    Why is a citation needed if he clearly stated "I think there may"?

    When AR goes mainstream hardware will follow, and probably very quickly.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,464member
    mudcat62 said:
    Waiting for the Android  crowd with " Android is perfect, it needs no updates" LOL.....
    Since you asked for it, here you go!!! Android is NOT perfect, by any stretch of imagination. It will never be. BUT, Android fragmentation as an issue is completely blown out of proportion, than what it actually is. It is just similar to the PC space - with various windows versions (from XP to windows 10) running on different computers depending on the needs of the end-users, availability of hardware to run those versions etc. The reality is this - People for most of the time (more than 90% of the time) use the "Apps", not the built-in OS features. And all of the frequently USED apps are available and running even in 4 year old phones with Android Jellybean. So the users with old Android version phones are not really missing out on something which they desperately need (something similar to people who own windows PCs with XP/7). Security updates are a different story - Google is working on improving the situation here and need to get their act together.
    I spend two hours every day commuting by train but at different times so I don't just see the same people every day. I'm on a combined worker/tourist route so I see a nice cross section of society. If I could stop time and walk down the train checking how people actually use their phones, WhatsApp would be the most used App followed by FaceBook and then the other social networking apps.

    It's incredible how rare it is to see someone surfing the net for news etc. The few times I see a game it's Candy Crush etc. 

    So your experience of 90% of the time users staying in Apps and basically abstracted from the under lying OS is what I'm seeing every day. And in places like China (but not limited to China) WeChat takes the biscuit as it is really a platform in itself sitting on top of another platform (the OS).
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 14 of 55
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.

    As others have said, I doubt it, too. You would think your conjecture sounds plausible, but what are these "dozens" of high-end offerings (say, just one from each of "dozens of Android OEM's")? You hear about 3, maybe 4, phones that people compare to the Galaxy or Note. Not dozens. And IF Galaxy 8 has sold 10M, which it hasn't or Samsung would be trumpeting increase over S6, then at least another six phones have to do the same to equal iPhone. ...each and every quarter! And, as others have pointed out, Samsung is the Android leader.
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 15 of 55
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,280member
    gatorguy said:
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.



    Highly doubt it. iPhone outsells Samsung flagships by almost 4:1. And Samsung is the number one vendor of Android flagships.
    One of hundreds...
  • Reply 16 of 55
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    What I can't really see for Google in the Future is that with AR def going to become mainstream and very useful in the next few year, Android just doesn't have the premium phones in numbers like Apple has. There really not that many Premium Android phones being sold with good specs to push the tech forward, and this is going to be more and more of a problem for Android. I really think this is why Google has to come back out with The Pixel last year. They really do need there own high end phone to sell well or I just do see a way out for them. Samsung as well is not selling many premium phones either, although from the articles and the media you would think the S7 or S8 sell in iPhone numbers when in reality its not even close
    I think you're underestimating the number of capable Android handsets being sold across multiple vendors. While one single one may pale in comparison to Apple overall numbers, add up the sales of highly-spec'd smartphones from dozens of Android OEM's and I think there may actually be MORE "premium" hardware  (even if not premium-priced) Android smartphones being sold than there are very-recent Apple iPhones.



    Highly doubt it. iPhone outsells Samsung flagships by almost 4:1. And Samsung is the number one vendor of Android flagships.
    One of hundreds...

    True, but each one of them have to sell at least a million high end devices in a quarter to meet the overall number of Apple, which I highly doubt. All Android OEMs put together, my guess is that they are selling about half of what apple sells in a quarter. And that includes the phones with high end hardware (SD 820/821, Kirin 950/960 SoCs, 4+ GB RAM) but have a mid-range pricetag (around $350 to $500).
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 17 of 55
    FatmanFatman Posts: 262member
    Platform consistency is critical for app development. It's akin to the console vs. PC model. When console game developers know they have x million users on an identically spec'd hardware platform and can deliver an identical experience to that audience they invest (and conserve resources that otherwise would be spent tweaking drivers, multi resolutions, optimizing for specific graphics hardware, etc).
    By the end of this year the iPhone base of active handsets will nearly all be 64bit, capable of running iOS 11 (and the majority of devices will be updated to the latest software), with very capable and consistent memory, screens, graphics, CPU & IO subsystems. This will provide a ripe platform for great app development. Whereas the fragmented Android market will consist of significantly different OS versions, different CPUs, graphic subsystems and capabilities, memory, screen resolutions, etc. Just like PCs that have many different hardware vendors - Android will have software compatibility issues, endless updates, and different user experiences depending on the device. 
    propodchia
  • Reply 18 of 55
    lightvox said:
    Fractured installed base easy prey for malware, viri and hacking.  A huge security disaster for Android users is an inevitability...

    It has been that way for last 5-6 years!!! Can you please point out to a huge security disaster which has impacted millions of Android users in the last 5-6 years?
  • Reply 19 of 55
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,784member
    lightvox said:
    Fractured installed base easy prey for malware, viri and hacking.  A huge security disaster for Android users is an inevitability...
    Yet we don’t hear much about Android users getting pwned do we? When have we heard about a WannaCry style attack on Android users that resulted in carnage? Plenty of reports about this or that vulnerability that could result in such an attack but nothing major has actually happened. Look, I’m a rabid iOS fanboy but even I can understand that a lot of this security and vulnerability FUD about Android just hasn’t happened... yet. Same goes for iOS. 
    muthuk_vanalingamsingularity
  • Reply 20 of 55
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,464member
    Fatman said:
    Platform consistency is critical for app development. It's akin to the console vs. PC model. When console game developers know they have x million users on an identically spec'd hardware platform and can deliver an identical experience to that audience they invest (and conserve resources that otherwise would be spent tweaking drivers, multi resolutions, optimizing for specific graphics hardware, etc).
    By the end of this year the iPhone base of active handsets will nearly all be 64bit, capable of running iOS 11 (and the majority of devices will be updated to the latest software), with very capable and consistent memory, screens, graphics, CPU & IO subsystems. This will provide a ripe platform for great app development. Whereas the fragmented Android market will consist of significantly different OS versions, different CPUs, graphic subsystems and capabilities, memory, screen resolutions, etc. Just like PCs that have many different hardware vendors - Android will have software compatibility issues, endless updates, and different user experiences depending on the device. 
    That's great for developers and will save them some time and money but they will still be writing for Android and dealing with the issues all the same.

    Q1-17 saw the $400+ handset market shrink but the same period saw the $300-399 segment grow by nearly 50%.

    This coincides with some Android manufacturers selling higher numbers of premium and the so-called 'affordable premium' phones.

    It seems that there has been an injection of capable phones onto the market and by definition, very few of them were iOS phones. That, combined with the relatively small iOS share should see many developers pursuing Android development in spite of the drawbacks of having to deal with the issues resulting from different hardware, bugs etc.

    The Q1 numbers might just be a blip but they could also be a trend and India especially is showing great potential in the mid tier zones.



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