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Contract Cycle Suggests Many Will Skip Ice Cream Sandwich

Contract Cycle Suggests Many Will Skip Ice Cream Sandwich
July 4, 2012 7:50AM

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"Updates aren't regularly pushed down on Android devices, this is one of the dark secrets of the platform and the old carrier-driven smartphone market in general," said analyst Rob Enderle. "Over time this becomes a nasty problem for developers because it represents, to them, massive fragmentation of the base." It's possible many users will skip Android 4.0.

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Everyone screamed for Ice Cream when it as released in October, and depending on your device, some are getting it faster than others. But with a successor already unveiled, some may end up skipping it.

New figures show that eight months after 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) the eighth version of Google's Android operating system -- now the most popular mobile OS in the world -- began rolling out via Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, 10.9 percent of all Android devices are running the newest available version.

Bean Counting

Android 4.1 was announced by Google at its I/O developers conference in San Francisco last week, nicknamed Jelly Bean in keeping with the dessert-treat theme of releases.

The vast majority of Android users, 63.6 percent, are still packing 2.3.3 through 2.3.7, part of the Gingerbread release, said Google via its developers' blog, based on "the number of Android devices that have accessed Google Play within a 14-day period ending on the data collection date" of July 2nd.

Gingerbread was released at the end of 2010, which suggests that upgrades of older devices at the end of two-year plans will at year's end have a large chunk of users, if not the majority, skipping over Ice Cream Sandwich straight to Jelly Bean.

The stats showed a tiny number of users still using Android 1.5 (0.2 percent) while the second largest share after Gingerbread is 2.2 (FroYo), with 17.3 percent.

Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), the first Android system optimized for tablet use, is in use by only 2.4 percent of people accessing Play, the stats suggest. Of those using Ice Cream Sandwich, 10.7 percent are using versions 4.0.3 or 4.0.4 while a much smaller number, 0.5 percent are using 4.0 or 4.0.2.

After a device purchase, it is not necessarily up to the user to decide which version he or she uses.

"In most cases the device user does not have a choice when upgrading to a new OS," says Kirk D. Parsons, a wireless analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. "It's mainly controlled by the carrier and when they want to push out the new update."

But another analyst, Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group, told us carriers tend to shy away from updates because they can cause problems, for which they will be blamed.

Fragmentation City

"Updates aren't regularly pushed down on Android devices, this is one of the dark secrets of the platform, and the old carrier-driven smartphone market in general," Enderle said.

"Over time this becomes a nasty problem for developers because it represents, to them, massive fragmentation of the base. I think this showcases that Google doesn't yet really understand, or doesn't have enough control over their devices to truly make them competitive with the iPhone, and it showcases that the market-share numbers putting them ahead are misleading."

Enderle said the larger update rate of Apple's iOS devices and lower fragmentation rate "explains why revenue on Android is elusive and why iPhone apps are generally better and more profitable. The iOS developer and user have the benefits of current code, Android not so much."

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

V:

Posted: 2012-07-06 @ 9:35pm PT
"I think this showcases that Google doesn't yet really understand, or doesn't have enough control over their devices to truly make them competitive with the iPhone, and it showcases that the market-share numbers putting them ahead are misleading." - Enderle

No, Enderle, you don't know what you're talking about.

Ed.:

Posted: 2012-07-05 @ 9:15am PT
We appreciate the reader feedback below. The story was corrected to say 2.2 for Froyo (not 2.1) and the phone is the Galaxy Nexus, not the Nexus Prime.

larry:

Posted: 2012-07-05 @ 8:00am PT
I upgraded 2 razrs, and one xoom recently thru Verizon, and it screwed up all 3 devices beyond a simply annoying factor. Problems are different on each. Going to Verizon today to see if they can hopefully roll back os to 3x.

Austin:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 11:38pm PT
Nexus Prime? Android 2.1 was Eclair.. not Froyo

Hat:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 3:32pm PT
Received Ice Cream for my Android Razr ... just 3 days, IT IS AMAZING ... liked Ginger Bread, but this a great update. Intuitive, smart, a great step for Android!!!

Steve:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 10:08am PT
What is Samsung's "Nexus Prime"? Is it an exclusive phone? Because the phone I bought in December is Samsung's Galaxy Nexus. ;P

The "Nexus Prime" was a rumored name for the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus has been out since November of last year.

gprovida:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 9:48am PT
It's worst, the carriers are slow, but the device owners are equally slow. They have added skins and features that need to be tweaked for each device. This costs money and resources, where they would rather have you buy a new phone. This helps explain low user satisfaction and Apple iPhone gaining so many converts from Android users. MS with Nokia is about to do the same thing with windows 8 phones.

This has got to rebound to Apples advantage.

WheresMy4.0-S2LTE_owner:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 9:33am PT
The real question is, are people using older versions of android because they want too, or because no updates are available ota?

Josh:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 9:28am PT
Samsung nexus prime?

Maxwell:

Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 8:49am PT
Froyo is 2.2



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