Google releases new analysis of Android fragmentation

Screen shot 2011-03-16 at 8.59.58 PM

Whenever you download an app from an app market, certain details about you and your device are exchanged with the company from whom you've downloaded the application. One of those details is what version of Google's popular operating system you're using when you download that application. 

Google today released some of those details to the public. The newest version of Android, Honeycomb, has garnered only 0.2%, while the most previous version has 1%. The biggest share of Android belongs to Froyo, which has a whopping 61.3%. 

To me, Android fragmentation is a serious problem that's only reiterated here with this chart. A lot of people are either left behind from being on an old release, or too far ahead and not having any apps developed for them. Google needs to figure out that this is a serious problem for all of its users, and one that will surely only get bigger with time. 

[Android Central]
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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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5 thoughts on “Google releases new analysis of Android fragmentation

  • How is this fragmentation any different than iOS or a desktop version of Windows?

  • Avatar of Steven L

    Honeycomb is only available on tablets. Which means, only available on Xoom. So calling it out is ridiculous. 1.5/1.6 are probably spread out among people who haven’t upgraded their devices and a ton of MIC gear that use those OSes. 2.3 is available only for the two Nexus phones. Case closed.

    “Fragmentation” is the manufacturers either dragging their feet or not bothering to update their own devices. What do you expect Google to do about it?

  • Fragmentation is not an issue. It is a false premise generate by Apple in a desparate measure to thwart Android’s unstoppable advancement.

    I have several computers running Windows 98, XP and 7. They all have their place in my computing setup. If you buy an Android device with X OS version, it means it can do whatever it can relative to it’s version. YOU KNOW THIS going into the purchase, therefore the device serves YOUR purpose, otherwise you wouldn’t be buying it. Whatever version it may be becomes insignificant.

    Interestingly, my Windows 98 system can run XP and even 7, but try to find an old Mac that can run the latest Mac OS. Talk about fragmentation!

  • Exactly. It is a non-existent issue.

    How many applications can only be run on 2.2+ and not on 2.1? I would guess it is below 0,1% of them. So 90% of users can run 99,9% of applications. The people with Android 1.x are limited by the old version, but stil tehy can run about 90% of applications.

    If the only limitation was the OS version, it would be perfect. But the bigger limitation is in fact the HW. Only people with ARMv7 CPU can run some applications (Firefox, Flash) and some other programs require 3D acceleration.

    But still these are just some special cases. Most people will never run into any problems whatever HW or OS version they use.

    But what I feel as a big problem is that Google allowed phone manufacturers to block upgrade of the phone OS. This can cause security issues (manufacturers won’t update the OS and fix the bug and users are not allowed to do it). I think a lawsuit against phone manufacturers for allowing security holes in their products might be successful and change their behavior.

  • We are not asking the right question. It should be “What fragmentation and why is it bad?”

    The fragmentation that we are facing now is that not all units can load the Android OS the user wants.
    For example, many mobile phones are stuck running Android 2.1 or older not too ago (last year), the manufactures are either too slow to implement new OS or don’t do it at all.

    Google should make it a requirement that all the new or old machines able to load the latest vanilla Android OS without effort, and also give the users a choice to do so.


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