Why Android Fragmentation Worsens as Apple iOS 8 adoption almost complete

There are many who say I’m biased toward Apple, choosing only to highlight the Negative stuff about Google Android.

To all my readers I assure you, I am not biased; I’m just a statistics nerd, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Style.

Fragmentation is a real problem for Google Android smartphone users, exacerbated by the fact that there are now some 24,093 different Android devices made by 1,294 companies in 2015 according to stats from OpenSignal, an app that gauges mobile signals. The graph below makes this clear.

Why Android Fragmentation Worsens as Apple iOS 8 adoption almost complete (1)

That’s a huge boost from some 1000 different Android Devices, from Tablets to smartphones and the new entrants are clearly not American; Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, ZTE, and Huawei, alongside well-known OEM (Original Equiptment Manufacturers) LGE, Lenovo, Sony and HTC.

With so many device makers with so many Android Devices of varying screen-sizes and build quality running different versions of Google Android, Fragmentation is bound to be a problem.  Americans and smartphone owners the world over were reluctant to just buy a new smartphone every year or even try to upgrade to the latest version of Google Android.

After all, aren’t they supposed to represent the cutting edge of communications? So why do they have to be purchased so often, instead of being upgraded automatically, as promised?

Android vs Apple – Statistics tell a Tale of Two OS

Based on the latest results from Android Developers Dashboard, the rate of adoption is still glacially slow, with only 18.1% of Google Android users having adopted Google Android 5.0 Lollipop as shown below.


Why Android Fragmentation Worsens as Apple iOS 8 adoption almost complete (2)

To break it down in Words:

  • 0.3% of devices are Google Android Froyo
  • 4.6% of devices are Google Android Gingerbread
  • 4.1% of devices are Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 33.6% of devices are Google Android Jelly Bean
  • 39.3% of devices are Google Android KitKat
  • 18.1% of devices are Google Android Lollipop

On the positive side, at least Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb has been completely eradicated and Kitkat is growing strong. But the figures for Google Android 5.0 Lollipop are disappointingly small despite having been launched in 2014.

Meanwhile, Apple iOS 8.0 adoption is already at 85%  and are growing strong, according to the Apple Developer Support page. These stats relate to all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches that visited Apple’s App Store on Monday, August 3 2015 and are capable of taking the upgrade.

The Piechart shows only 13% of devices are Apple iOS 7.0 with less than 2% of devices being older, faring a lot better than Google Android.

Why Android Fragmentation Worsens as Apple iOS 8 adoption almost complete (1)

Again, words suffice to explain what pictures make plain:

  • 85% of devices are iOS 8.0
  • 13% of devices are iOS 7.0
  • 2% of devices are older than iOS 7.0

Fragmentation, with different smartphones and Tablets sporting older versions of Google Android from the current version, differs from Apple iPhone and Google Android! Clearly from the above statistics, which are for illustrative purposes and are not there as absolute scientific proof, Fragmentation is a uniquely Android problem.

So why is that?

Fragmentation made worse by StageFright and Certifi-gate – All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men

The upgrade problem is really of control for Google; OEM distribute patches and upgrades and they dislike upgrades, as customer won’t buy ewer modes of smartphones. Designing products to have hardware faults and Google constantly updating Google Android guarantees that they’ll always be buying the latest models!

Based on my last article in January 2015 entitled Android Lollipop on the fences as Kitkat munches away at Jellybean, Android 5.0 Lollipop hadn’t even reached 1% of smartphones and Android 4.4 KitKat was only on 33.9% of devices.

Now, new vulnerabilities such as StageFright that make it easy to hack and spy on a smartphones merely by loading and playing an infected video and Certifi-Gate, which exploits a flaw in remote assistance apps in Android, means that fixing a fragmented Android Ecosystem is now next to impossible.

Basically, to fix Fragmentation, Google would have to coordinate with OEM to have everyone with an older Android Device purchase a new product, as Google isn’t planning to fix these problems any time soon as pointed out in Android Browser Security unfixed as Google wants you to Upgrade to Lollipop.

They could also make Google Android Open Source, allowing smartphone Technicians to upgrade even older devices to the latest version of Google Android.

Albeit in defiance of the smartphone manufacturers, it would fix the security problem with the minor loss of a few million sales, as assumedly, security is an issue if you want to court Corporate and Enterprise customers!

But that’s not the only problem; the Google Play Store need fixing, as many of the apps have vulnerabilities in them or are built by unscrupulous app developers seeking to exploit those ho download their apps as explained in Google Play Store Apps with AdWare threat to Android Security.

And that’s not even including the meddling NSA (National Security Agency) that using third-party Apps and hacked Servers to spy of persons of interest in a joint Intelligence gathering exercise as detailed in NSA and Five Eyes Alliance in Project Irritant Horn Spying on Arab Spring Jihadists.

Patching Humpty-Dumpty is going to be very difficult!

Fragmentation on Google Android vs Apple iOS – Apple runs a tighter Walled Garden as Google Android’s problem’s multiply

Apple, on the other hand, runs more like an orchestra.

Apple iOS users have made the transition to each new iOS with Apple only having to attend to bug fixes for Apple Music in iOS 8.4.1. Users already kicking the tyres on iOS 9.0  have already spotted and solved nine (9) common iOS 9.0 which is set to launch in September 2015 as noted in Apple WWDC 2015 debuts OS X 10.11, Watch OS 2.0 and Apple Music.

Apple iOS 9 even has a predictive feature that can make choices for you, based on your regular calling and travel habits. And while this added perk makes Apple iOS 9 desirable and might imply it’ll also be rapidly adopted, the Apple Watch with Apple Pay, now accepted in some 200,000 stores and eight (8) banks in Britain might make the adoption rate reach 90% before Christmas.

Apple’s use of Swift their own programming language to match their own custom-made hardware and software means that they control everything from the ground up.  This guarantees that even the apps in the Apple iTunes Stores are of a quality and appearance that is common and streamlined!

Apple isn’t totally unhackable as the Flashback Botnet back in June 2012 was able to hack Apple iOS via a Java and Adobe exploit in the Safari Browser as detailed in How to protect your Mac for Viruses, as apparently Macs can get viruses too.  But Hackers will naturally find the Walls on Apple’s iTunes store incredibly tall and hard to breach.

So Apple isn’t perfect, just more organized. Expect the same level of rabid Apple Fanboy adoption of  iOS 9.0 when it lands in September 2015.

Google Android, meanwhile has a lot to do before Android M, announced at Google I/O 2015 as detailed in Google I/O 2015 – Google Android VR coming + more Android Wear is launched come September 2015!

Here’s the link:

Apple Developer Support page

Android Developers Dashboard

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.