Well, the numbers are in for the different types of Android versions running on all devices, and the results are disappointing because it shows that fragmentation isn’t going anywhere.
First, Google released data (below) that showed 60 percent of users are running some sort of version of Gingerbread, and only 1 percent of users were operating on Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Google’s stats conflict with those of research firm, Localytics. Localytics has come up with data that shows a full 73 percent of Android devices (smartphone and tablets) run Gingerbread, not the 60 percent Google claims.
These numbers are staggering, because it suggest Google’s mobile OS is still plagued by fragmentation. I know, some of you Google supporters out there will probably say not to take this data as gospel but they’re pretty hard to ignore. Speaking as a proud user of Android since its inception back in 2008 – with the game changing G1 – I’m here to say it’s not only disappointing but flagrantly unacceptable. Just think, ICS has been out for 2 months and the OS is still just a speck on the graph?
As an owner of the Samsung Nexus S 4G, I’m one of the 60-73 percent of people stuck on Gingerbread as we speak. But why is that? Being the owner of a device that promises a “pure Google experience,” I shouldn’t be reduced to rooting my handset and uploading an unofficial version of Ice Cream Sandwich — it’s ridiculous. I get that Android 4.0 along with the “mandatory” use of the mobile OS’s Holo theme are both expected to reduce fragmentation, says Google.
The sad thing is, I don’t believe Google really cares about fragmentation — if they truly cared, they would have addressed it already. We Android supporters tend to forget that our favorite OS is owned by a giant search engine whose biggest cash generator is advertisements. Google’s bread and butter is pumping out its ad services to as much devices as it can, which explains its strategy of over saturating the market with Android devices. I’m coming to the realization that the only way Google will take notice, is if loyal sophisticated users like myself leave.
What’s your thoughts on Android fragmentation? Is Google finally on the right path?