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Summary:

Google’s data suggests that more users are finally on Android 4.0 or better but is that really the case? Tell us in this simple poll which Android version you run and if you still see fragmentation as a big Android challenge.

android

Earlier this week, I noted that Google’s fragmentation issues with Android are close to disappearing. That article prompted a few dissenting responses with valid points: There are still prepaid phones selling with Android 2.3, for example. Still, Google’s data suggests that these phones are quickly becoming part of the minority when it comes to Android versions. I’ll have more to say on why and what that means in an upcoming post.

Some have questioned Google’s data, particularly because the company changed the way it tracks Android version data in aggregate. A few months ago, Google started looking at version numbers of Android devices hitting the Google Play store; prior to that it would check whenever a device hit Google’s servers. I actually prefer the new method because the data is really meant for developers. And if I were a developer, I’d want to know what devices are actively seeking apps.

In any case, mainly as an exercise in curiosity, here’s a poll for Android device owners to tell us what version of Android they’re currently running on the Android device they use the most.

For many that’s a smartphone, but it could also be a tablet. And to keep things simple, let’s ignore the various sub-versions and stick with the base — or named — versions of Android. Of course, I’m always happy to welcome more discussion on how big a problem Android fragmentation is or isn’t, depending on your point of view.

I also realize that our more tech-saavy audience could be better informed on Android’s version issues, so the results may be skewed towards Android 4.0 and up. Still, I’m wondering if people either still see many fragmentation issues or experience them on their own Android devices.

  1. Said Tahsin Dane Thursday, June 6, 2013

    My moms phone still has 1.5 Cupcake. It is the legendary HTC Hero. :)

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    1. WHAT?!?! Get that phone updated for your mom! ;)

      Seriously, I thought HTC had offered Android 2.1 for all of those units. Did I remember wrong?

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  2. 4.2.2

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  3. It’s no surprise that most people on this site are using Jelly Bean, but I am kind of surprise that so many are running Gingerbread; even some techies are living in the past. So, Gingerbread is alive and well, as the fragmentation continues!

    You can say that fragmentation doesn’t really matter, and that people must be happy with their out-of-date phones (otherwise they’d upgrade), but you can’t deny that the Android handset market is heavily fragmented compared to iOS (possibly Windows Phone, too).

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    1. Mike, of course Android is more fragmented than iOS – it’s a completely different model. That was my point in the last comment on this subject but I didn’t make it well enough.

      This situation is akin to “fragmentation” in Windows because like Microsoft, Google licenses the platform. We had people running XP for years when Windows Vista, 7 and now 8 were out. Some of those XP users don’t have access to new features or services from Microsoft but is it a problem? Not for those people, else they’d upgrade hardware and/or software.

      So yes, there’s fragmentation in Android. But at this point, I really don’t think it matters to Android as a whole. Hopefully that makes more sense than how I wrote it earlier in the week. ;)

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    2. Joey Johansen Thursday, June 6, 2013

      I’d love to upgrade but I don’t have a ton of money, I have just enough money to buy 1 incredibly expensive phone every few years and I’ve actually got a new one sooner than I should have (kinda on a 1-2 year cycle now). Not everyone can just upgrade cause they ‘want’ to.

      I luckily have 4.1.1 on my HTC One S, but I’m pretty sure that’s about the last of the updates to my phone I’ll see… maybe 4.2 by the end of the year or something I guess. I’m less stressed out about android version number and way more stressed out about my phone’s battery life, and how incredibly inferior it is. Seems like if you don’t get the very best battery life rated phone, you’re stuck with something that’s terrible… the top is basically ‘just enough’ and anything less is seemingly sub 1 day. All I want is 1 freakin day of decent usage and a battery that ends up at 20% or more by then, instead of something that fluctuates and often can be straight up dead by 1pm after spending it’s majority of time in my pocket and only a few hours taking some images or looking at 2 apps for news and email, no calls or video or regular web searching.

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  4. There’s more to fragmentation than OS fragmentation, even this one[1] got fixed(new Google keyboard in app store). But how many users are aware?

    1. http://gigaom.com/2013/05/30/welcome-to-the-complicated-world-of-android-sundar-pichai/#comment-1341835

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  5. I don’t think version is a huge issue for the average user until an older version interferes with app upgrades, etc. The analogy to Windows XP/Vista/7/8 is apt. I have PC’s still on XP and 7, both have their purpose.

    The problem is OEM/carrier locks and the refusal to deny users the option of trying an upgrade. I have a 1-1/2 year old phone on 4.2.2 and a 2-1/2 year old on 4.1.2 both running nicely, decent batterylife, etc. But what I had to do to accomplish that is not something that the average user is going to bother with.

    I hope the coming “google version” phones are an indicator that OEM’s and carriers are relaxing their grip…

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  6. ICS (4.0.4)

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  7. I have an Android phone with 2.3. I have stopped going to the google play because I know that several apps I want are not available for my device. Me thinks there is flaw in this logic that if a phone no longer goes to Google Play it oes not want more apps.

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  8. To add perspective some percentage (my guess 20%) of Android are feature phones with a touchscreen – in the way they are used. Hence the fragmentation only matters for those who have a “platform phone” meaning they actually use the apps (downloaded and built-in). In that view, fragmentation is less.

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