While 91% of Apple users run iOS 7, five different versions of Android hold 10%+ share

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
The latest mobile operating system statistics show that Google's Android is more fragmented than ever, with three different versions of the platform representing two-thirds of all devices, while Apple's latest version of iOS runs on 91 percent of iPhones and iPads.




The tale of two very different platforms is told by the latest data from OpenSignal, which has tracked nearly 19,000 total distinct Android devices this year, up from just under 12,000 last year. Samsung remains the dominant maker of Android devices, with a 43 percent share, while the most popular Android hardware is its Galaxy S III smartphone.

The plethora of device makers, many of which with their own custom skins and modifications to Android, only contribute to the fragmentation issue. And the number of distinct devices on the market tracked by OpenSignal has exploded from just 4,000 in its first report issued in 2012.

When Android fragmentation is measured purely among Google's major releases, the leading installation is 4.1 "Jelly Bean," found on 26.5 percent of devices. Next is the most recent version of Android, 4.4 "Kit Kat," with a 20.9 percent share.

In total there are five different versions of Android with more than 10 percent of the market. The remaining three are 4.2 "Jelly Bean" (19.8 percent), 2.3.3-2.3.7 "Gingerbread" (13.6 percent), and 4.0.3-4.0.4 "Ice Cream Sandwich" (10.6 percent).

Meanwhile, only one version of Apple's iOS platform holds more than 10 percent share, and it's not even close: iOS 7 is at 91 percent, while iOS 6 holds just 8 percent. Earlier versions of iOS account for only 1 percent of installations.

Those figures align with Apple's own App Store data detailed to developers on its website. The figures were most recently updated for a 7-day period ending Aug. 10, 2014.




The OpenSignal data breaks down mobile operating system installations based on new application programming interfaces made available to developers, referring to it as "API fragmentation."

The data tracks the market share of the leading API level at any time, which peaked around 60 percent in mid-2012. Since then, the market share of the leading API level has steadily declined, and is now at an all-time low

The data is also broken down for screen size fragmentation, another area where Apple has a key advantage over Android for developer simplicity. Apple's iOS platform has been limited to four different physical screen sizes, thanks to Apple's use of pixel-doubling when upgrading to Retina displays. On Android, though, there are countless different screen sizes, which OpenSignal said is "hugely challenging" for developers trying to create applications that can work well on a range of devices.

For its latest report, OpenSignal surveyed 682,000 total devices running its app. The sample size was kept the same as its fragmentation reports from 2013 and 2012 for a fairer comparison.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 184
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    IOS 7, 91% of IOS users. Android 4, 85.7% of Android users. Of course, that doesn't have the click bait ring to it does it?

    -kpluck
  • Reply 2 of 184
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,830member

    Don't we already know this? Why a 50,000th article on how segmented Android is? 

  • Reply 3 of 184
    What a poor headline. A better headline would be:
    "While 91% of Apple users run iOS 7, no version of Android holds greater then a 21% share."
  • Reply 4 of 184
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post



    IOS 7, 91% of IOS users. Android 4, 85.7% of Android users. Of course, that doesn't have the click bait ring to it does it?



    -kpluck

     

    Eh. It looks the same until you try to target specifics of those versions for development, which contain a vast array of differences across the versions presented.  For example, the 4.4 version would be considered a major update from the 4.3 version, a first digit increase on an iOS release schedule and then we have updates like 4.0->4.1/4.2 which were considered incremental but still introduced new underlying frameworks which some apps need to depend on. 

     

    This is one of the things I hate about the Android release schedule in comparison to iOS - it's a lot less cut and dry which makes the fragmentation issue more complicated for someone who isn't familiar with the ecosystem (e.g., new devs and even users who may want to care)

  • Reply 5 of 184
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,451member
    nobodyy wrote: »
    Eh. It looks the same until you try to target specifics of those versions for development, which contain a vast array of differences across the versions presented.  For example, <span style="line-height:1.4em;">the 4.4 version would be considered a major update from the 4.3 version, a first digit increase on an iOS release schedule and then we have updates like 4.0->4.1/4.2 which were considered incremental but still introduced new underlying frameworks which some apps need to depend on. </span>


    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">This is one of the things I hate about the Android release schedule in comparison to iOS - it's a lot less cut and dry which makes the fragmentation issue more complicated for someone who isn't familiar with the </span>
    ecosystem<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> (e.g., new </span>
    devs and even users who may want to care)<span style="line-height:1.4em;">. </span>

    It's not all that hard for developers. It's more of a mythical talking point anymore.
    http://rustyshelf.org/2014/07/08/the-android-screen-fragmentation-myth/
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2014-android-fragmentation-no-longer-190026012.html
  • Reply 6 of 184

    Oh, speaking of which.

     

    Fragmentation.

  • Reply 7 of 184
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    It's not all that hard for developers. It's more of a mythical talking point anymore.

    http://rustyshelf.org/2014/07/08/the-android-screen-fragmentation-myth/

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2014-android-fragmentation-no-longer-190026012.html

     

    These articles point out some good things I agree with - Screen sizes are what they address mostly, it's not that hard, right. However, across densities and and sizes - it's more to think about for someone who isn't familiar requiring more time to learn. - Google is containing their Play Services to update themselves independently of the OS - which is good for Google and to me to some degree

     

    However, these articles don't really address my problems which is the vast differences of API's available - and in some cases the flat out failure of manufacturers to correctly support their hardware. I'm not trying to claim to be the majority, but it is hard to target those features offered by and across Android versions for an incoming devs who are unfamiliar, myself included after a nice chunk of time dedicated to learning the OS. 

     

    It isn't shit, no. 

    But it's a pain in the ass that is discouraging.

  • Reply 8 of 184
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,333member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post



    IOS 7, 91% of IOS users. Android 4, 85.7% of Android users. Of course, that doesn't have the click bait ring to it does it?



    -kpluck

    Yes, but no. Version number has nothing to do with it. iOS 7 came out last year and it's minor versions were to correct issues, security fixes, performance. Otherwise the OS was the same.

     

    Android has been stuck on 4.x for a while now. Ice Cream Sandwich, the first 4.x release was unveiled on October 19, 2011, about the same time that Apple released iOS 4.0.  If you look at Jelly Bean, that has been in development now for 2 years as it was unveiled in June 2012.  While it's named the same, it's still an old version of the operating system.  The latest and greatest Android flavor, KitKat is only installed on about 20% of devices.



    OK, so.... Apple has 91% of it's devices running the LATEST version.  Android has 20% running the LATEST version.



    Those are the facts presented in the story.  Apple would have nearly 100% OS penetration if the original iPad and older iPhones could be updated to the latest, but the hardware doesn't support it.

  • Reply 9 of 184
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,583member

    The miserable operating system known as Android is only getting worse and worse.

     

    Only around a fifth of Android users are on the latest version. In 2013, about a third of Android users were on the latest version. It's actually going down!

     

    That figure is actually going down as more and more poor people are flocking to Android as Android continues to be adopted by certain users in very poor countries, also known as "developing" countries, or basically the third world, as I prefer to call it. And for those who are offended my by factual statement, I will of course provide proof for these ignorant people.

     

    OpenSignal’s data indicates that over a third (35 percent) of Android devices in countries with GDP/capita of greater than $20,000 are on the latest version of Android vs just 12 percent in less economically developed countries.

     

    Android fragmentation or diversity as some like to call it, is just absolutely out of control and totally disgusting!

     

    Who says that diversity is a good thing? Well, Apple does for starters, but I don't think that this is what they have in mind when Apple speaks of diversity.

     

    Here is proof that diversity is a terrible thing.

     

    This chart is just unbelievable!

     

     

    18,796 unique Android devices! Holy f-ucking crap! What a goddam mess!

     

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/21/opensignal-2014-android-ecosystem-report/

  • Reply 10 of 184
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    kpluck wrote: »
    IOS 7, 91% of IOS users. Android 4, 85.7% of Android users. Of course, that doesn't have the click bait ring to it does it?

    Look at the API levels to make an apt comparison of version numbers.
  • Reply 11 of 184
    From a "developer" point of view today android fragmentation is extremely low. It was a problem ith GingerBread (2.3.x), but API difference between all 4.x versions are negligible. Basically all the functions/services/effects are available across the 4.x releases. It means you can target about 85% of Android devices with a single binary. It could be a problem again with next release (Android-L) that should contain an under-the-hood overhaul of the UI framework, with several incompatibilities.

    From a "user" point of view, fragmentation is very low for system apps (messages, mail, browser, search,...), which are updated through Play Store whichever the version of the OS. But the big problem is that system is not updated, with all the relevant security issues.
  • Reply 12 of 184
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,583member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bradipao View Post



    From a "developer" point of view today android fragmentation is extremely low. 

     

    Not according to this article:

     

    Increasing device diversity/fragmentation means developers choosing to target the top 10 Android devices are addressing a smaller proportion of overall users (although the overall size of the Android pie is growing). OpenSignal notes that last year the ten most popular Android devices in the market represented about a fifth (21 percent) of the devices out there, vs this year’s top ten representing 15 percent.

  • Reply 13 of 184
    apple ][ wrote: »
    18,796 unique Android devices! Holy f-ucking crap! What a goddam mess!

    Yes, I agree. But we have to admit that OS is a fantastic in being able to handle such a gargantuan mess of unique devices. ;)
  • Reply 14 of 184
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I thought most of Google's updates were going through the play store? Aren't their apps updated independent from major OS releases?
  • Reply 15 of 184
    doggonedoggone Posts: 181member
    @ kpluck

    For version 4, ice cream sandwich was released in Dec 2012 and kit kat 2 months ago. That is 2.5 years total. Android's versions are very different but they do not increase version numbers the same way Apple does for iOS. iOS is generally updated yearly.
    So your comment is somewhat valid but not really comparing Apples to Apples.

    The general point is that Apple iOS is easily upgradable so multiple generations of phones are readily updated to the new OS. For Android it appears phones either cannot be upgraded or the users are not aware how to do this.

    Before I had my first iPhone I used a symbian phone. One day it stopped working because the software was too outdated to work on the network. I had to take it in to the carrier shop for them to update it. There was no notification to update the system on the phone itself. It is limey that android phones are similarly set up the same way or perhaps the phones are not able to upgrade.

    So the moral is that iPhones have longer lives than android phones and can be upgrade with ease. Clearly that is not true for android units.
  • Reply 16 of 184
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    bradipao wrote: »
    From a "developer" point of view today android fragmentation is extremely low. It was a problem ith GingerBread (2.3.x), but API difference between all 4.x versions are negligible. Basically all the functions/services/effects are available across the 4.x releases. It means you can target about 85% of Android devices with a single binary. It could be a problem again with next release (Android-L) that should contain an under-the-hood overhaul of the UI framework, with several incompatibilities.

    Which is another way of saying these newer APIs can't be used without a lot of retooling.
  • Reply 17 of 184
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,583member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DogGone View Post



    So the moral is that iPhones have longer lives than android phones and can be upgrade with ease. Clearly that is not true for android units.

     

    That is true. Many Android phones are basically obsolete as soon as people buy them and they are walking out of the store with them. Certain Android phones that were promised updates by the manufacturers never, ever received them. They were basically abandoned by the manufacturers, as they basically said "screw you!" to the uninformed users and poor bastards who bought those phones.

     

    If we are to convert phone life into human life, then let's say that an average iOS device lives to about 80. In Android land, the average life span is probably around 40. Who wants to die when they're 40 years old? Android users apparently don't mind. Some don't even make it into their teens, and in the worst cases, they die a quick crib death.

  • Reply 18 of 184
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bradipao View Post



    From a "developer" point of view today android fragmentation is extremely low. It was a problem ith GingerBread (2.3.x), but API difference between all 4.x versions are negligible. Basically all the functions/services/effects are available across the 4.x releases. It means you can target about 85% of Android devices with a single binary. It could be a problem again with next release (Android-L) that should contain an under-the-hood overhaul of the UI framework, with several incompatibilities.



    From a "user" point of view, fragmentation is very low for system apps (messages, mail, browser, search,...), which are updated through Play Store whichever the version of the OS. But the big problem is that system is not updated, with all the relevant security issues.



    I disagree since, like I said before, Google muddied the waters with their releases - this was the hardest thing for me to grasp. 

     

    It is very easy to target 85% of the Android devices with a relatively simple binary, but as soon as you dive into more complex natures, I've seen shit get crazy frustrating. Want to target a new-ish API? Good luck because even with something as simple as a new transition API, you either have to write alternate code to support older editions, find a way around it, or drop it entirely (which means you can't depend on it or you can cut your target market to 40%, 30%, 20% by limiting by support as needed). What about API changes? Those are fun because you have to target multiple versions of a single API call - and it's happened to me. FML. It's annoying. It sucks. It takes a lot of effort. It's not impossible, and in some cases it can be easy, but as I've said before, it's discouraging. It makes me resent wanting to use new things, not want to try advances to make the platform more enjoyable. It's a hinderance. 

     

    This, unfortunately, impacts the user who gets an inconsistent and subpar experience. Google can update it's apps - which is nice for users and APIs that peddle back to those apps - but the negativity of the developers perception reaches far beyond them and Google's own apps, I believe.

  • Reply 19 of 184

    Like species propagation, it's good to have a varied gene pool to facilitate metamorphic process. (Hold on, just had a thought, that trying to draw an analog between software versions and evolution of species does not work. Valiant try, though, don't you think?) 

  • Reply 20 of 184
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,451member
    sog35 wrote: »
    BINGO.

    Security is the key.

    81% of Android users are using an OS that has not been updated for 18 months to 4 years.
    If a new cyber threat is released than all these users are wide open for attack.

    Wrong sir.
    http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2014/06/google-play-services-delivers-security.html

    http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/applications/updated-google-play-services-5-0-rolls-out-to-nearly-every-android-device-1255989
    As of v5 of Google Play Services "the updates services also adds a dynamic security provider allowing developers to rapidly deliver security patches. A necessity in today's world when it seems like some other app has been breached every week."

    ...and with zero dependence on OEM's or carriers for approval.

    FWIW Google reports that 93% of Google Android devices are on version 5.
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