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Android fragmentation visualized

Posted: , by Ian M.

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Android fragmentation visualized
A fellow over at The Understatement by the name of Michael DeGusta took the time to create a chart that shows every iPhone and Android device that had been released before July of 2010 and how those devices have been supported in the years since.

We all know that Android is a fragmented operating system. It has caused most of us some frustration in the past not knowing when, if ever, our smartphone will be updated to the latest and greatest. Google seems to be putting an end to fragmentation with the impending release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but it will be a while until everybody is using the “one Android for all” platform.
Android fragmentation visualized

The data that is compiled in this chart is a reminder of Android smartphones that have been pretty much forgotten about. Android devices are compared to the iPhones that had been released up until that point in July of 2010, but at that time there was only one carrier offering it here in the states. Android devices also greatly outnumber iPhones and updates to iOS come directly from Apple not the carrier like they do with Android.

Still, the chart reminds us that many Android phones are forgotten about when a new version of the operating system becomes available. Devices like the Motorola Cliq XT are now more than 3 major Android releases behind, although who even uses the Motorola Cliq anymore? What is your opinion on support of older Android devices? Check out the chart and tell us what you think.

source: The Understatement

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posted on 27 Oct 2011, 08:55 3

1. terabyteRouser (Posts: 457; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

That chart is awesome. Galaxy Nexus for me!

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:15 5

6. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

Yeah, after seeing that it does indeed come with "fortified" glass I am completely sold.

Both me and my GF will be rockin' ICS asap!

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:42 2

11. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

i think im in too.

i cant decide if i should preorder or at least wait to check them out in the store before i purchase.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:11 1

21. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I was planning on waiting to compare RAZR vs Nexus but after finding out the battery cannot be removed in the RAZR and the fact that the Nexus WILL have "fortified" glass I don't even need to compare.

Every time I buy a new Android phone(D1, DX, and now Thunderbolt) I just pick up a spare battery with it. It's rare that I actually have to use it (believe me or not I don't care) because most of the time I can make it a full day but days like today where i'll be on a train for a few hours with mobile hotspot it's nice to have.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:27 1

25. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

ive had spare batteries, but im much happier with an external portable charger, like this:


i just ordered two. extra life w/o even having to shut down or reboot your device. and it works for tablets and other devices too.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 12:07 5

26. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

The feature that sold you is fortified glass? Are you a construction worker or miner or something?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 12:54 2

30. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

No, but comparing the RAZR to the Nexus that was the last deciding factor for me.

As careful as I am, I always tend to drop my phones and i'm really not a huge fan of screen protectors... so this was very important in my decision.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 14:28 2

36. nb2six (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)

does Minecrafter count?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:55

14. Firedrops (Posts: 249; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)

o_O aren't you guys commenting in the wrong article?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:09 2

20. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

Why? It shows that out of all Android phones the Nexus is your best bet to avoid fragmentation.

And I have no idea why someone gave me thumbs down above... sorry for being excited about the Nexus?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:07 1

2. Knicknevin (Posts: 149; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)

Data seems a little inaccurate...was the iphone really receiving full updates in late 2010? I do not believe so...
Yes, Android is fragmented, that is due to the manufacturers, but there is work being done on trying to correct that if I'm not mistaken.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:13

4. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

correct. if this thing would show 2010-2011, it wouldnt be nearly as drastic. we all know that OG droids were plagued by update issues. It also shows Motos over all poor update record. Of course, if the SGS1 was on there, it would only be fairing a little better.. lol

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:13

3. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Where is the GS2?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:20

7. Ian.M (Posts: 21; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)

This chart is phones released in the US before July of 2010

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:13 4

5. Synack (Posts: 677; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)

Yep, blame the carriers/manufacturers for fragmentation. If they could just leave the goddamn phones alone then phones like the Samsung Fascinate and others from that era could be running GB > ICS within months. I plan to do my part in eliminating this fragmentation by just straight up buying a Galaxy Nexus. No point in having carrier bloatware (Verizon) and manufacturer skins that slow you down (Motorola). I really do think the Moto RAZR guys should rethink their decision. Pure Google vs Seriously bloated/skinned.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:44 1

12. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

im pretty sure verizon will still cram some bloatware on there, right?

i do agree with the skins, but may still end up flashing a rom depending on what comes out.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:28 1

8. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

So because the iPhone hasn't made drastic leaps in the OS like android, they are therefor better than ANdroid? 40% or more of all android devices are on Gingerbread. Probably 99% of the remaining are on Froyo. Very few people would be running on eclair or doughnut who actually care about having the most current apps.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:45 2

13. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

so funny that you make up your own stats and force your opinion to argue with an infographic. its really like arguing with a wall. good job.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 10:05 2

16. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

How many people still own a G1? Hell how many people still own an original Droid? Most of the phones that are listed as being 2 or more updates behind are not premium phones, or sold horribly, like the Droid Eris, Cliq, etc. I could go on about reasons why manufacturers and carriers wouldn't push out updates on cheap/horrible selling phones but I think it's pretty self explanitory.

And the key difference between Android and iPhone is that you can GIngerbread on a most devices (as long as they have decent internals) by hacking your phone. If you want Gingerbread on your Moto droid you can do it yourself, it's not really that hard and comes with self explanatory instructions. And given that if you have the Droid it's most likely nearly 2 years old odds are that it's not covered under the warranty anymore so who cares if you void it by rooting and hacking.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:14 3

23. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

To be honest, it's annoying that I have to hack my phone to have the latest updates.

I am a VERY tech savvy person (I was a Network Administrator for 4 years) and have no issue with rooting or installing custom ROMS but the reality is I just don't want to have to do that.

I rooted every single Android phone I had prior to my Thunderbolt just so I could be on the latest software... the only reason I haven't done that on my Tbolt is because I find myself only using my phone for phone calls now that I have the GT10.1 running all my email/news/text messaging.

I will be purchasing the Nexus over the RAZR because I do believe that's my best shot at getting the latest software without having to f**k around.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 13:53

33. ygswagg11 (Posts: 8; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

@iamcc i totally feel you on every thing yu said

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 19:16

41. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

If you're annoyed, complain to your carrier and phone manufacturer. Google releases the OS updates, it's the carriers and manufacturers job to send them to their phones.

I have the Droid X which had a very short time not on Gingerbread.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 19:27

42. torr310 (Posts: 839; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

Rooting a phone not only giving you the ability to update the system but also offering you the "Freedom"!

I hate those software and web links the carriers installed in the phone which I never need/want.

But I admit it's troublesome to find a good ROM to install.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 12:09 1

27. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

What are the "drastic leaps" in android? Ayephoner hilarious that he quotes his own numbers he pulled out of his ass. Frequent fandroid tactic.

You mad bro?

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 17:56 1

38. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

Ok well my one set of numbers was off, I apologize, it's still 40% for gingerbread, and it's 80% of the remaining devices are on Froyo.

Slightly approx, 45% on Froyo, 40% on Gingerbread 2% on Honeycomb, only 2.5% on Eclair and Donut. You can find those numbers on Android's website. All numbers as of 10/3/11 (IIRC from another article it's even more in Gingerbread since then)

So something like 87% of all ANdroids are on one of the 2 most current OS available. Would be interesting to see how many people are actually on the current iOS. I imagine it's a pretty high number, but I'd guess the numbers would be not that different.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 22:23

45. Johnny_Mnemonic (Posts: 240; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

Taco culo

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:37 3

9. ilia1986 (unregistered)

You say fragmentation, I say custom roms!

Something that iPhone will NEVER be able to do. Change its operating system.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:01 2

19. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

If you have to hack your phone to keep it supported for more than a year. Then there is something wrong.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:17 2

24. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I agree droidberry. As much as I love having the OPTION to root/install custom roms... I HATE that I essentially have to in order to keep the latest software on the phone.

I am very much looking forward to seeing if this changes with post-ICS phones/tablets from here on out.

I will say though, as much as it sucks that older Android phones may not get the most recent updates.. if you talk to a lot of people with the iPhone 3G or even 3GS one of their biggest complaints is probably being forced into the latest version of iOS because a lot of times it bogs down the phone. There is a reason some of those phones still run older versions of Android, they just can't handle the newer ones.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 05:28 1

47. ilia1986 (unregistered)

The original iPhone could handle iOS 4. Because iPhone 3G could. And it had the exact same processor\graphics\ram.

That's just one example.

And beyond rooting and installing a custom rom - there is no hacking that is needed, most of the time.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:38 1

10. snowgator (Posts: 3586; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

The only real downsides to Android: The fragmentation, and the 2nd tier devices that show up and run the OS poorly which results in a bad experience for the user. However, while this will never totally go away in an open source OS, the basic feel of the comment sections on mobile sites is that both those huge problems are a ton better in the past year. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that Android has really only been this huge for a couple years. All the manufacturers are improving. The ones that aren't are getting buried. I expect this to continue to improve, and Google seems to be doing a lot on it's end to help. Early reviews and previews show that ICS seems to be a lot more streamlined.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 09:57 1

15. alc (Posts: 17; Member since: 19 May 2010)

This absolutely can't be true. here's the official apple site:

at the bottom it lists compatible devices...nuff said

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 10:07

17. bossmt_2 (Posts: 449; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)

It is Ironic that they haven't updated the poll to put the iPhone and 3G as being a generation behind but it's not like it's shocking

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 11:13 2

22. JayLeBlanc (Posts: 33; Member since: 16 May 2011)

The chart is 100% accurate.

iOS5 works on the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4.

It doesn't work on the original iPhone or the iPhone 3G, but those came out in 2007 and 2008 respectively, and are therefor more than 3 years old.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 10:48 1

18. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)

My Samsung Infuse is still on Froyo, can't wait for Ice Cream Sandwich and I still haven't tasted Gingerbread.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 12:32 1

28. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 421; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)

is this supposted to make apple look good for being up to date???


bad apple! bad apple! bad!

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 13:58

34. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)

That is old news, dirtydirty00. As commenters have said that Android has improved its fragmentation, so has Apple. My buddy's 3GS works just great on iOS5, if not seemingly faster.

I imagine iOS6 will still work pretty well on the iPhone 4. Apple is getting better at toning down the new features that legacy devices receive, so there is no slow down and only improvements.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 12:52

29. bigboss (Posts: 79; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

You should compare the old gingerbread with the new ice cream sandwich and you surely increase the depth of your iphone bucket of knowledge by knowing what the drastic leaps made by android are.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 21:13

44. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

examples you can't even give one example

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 08:20

48. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

Because there are entire articles on this site discussing it. He doesn't need to provide examples... if you are saying there were no "drastic improvements" from Gingerbread to ICS you either haven't bothered to do ANY reading or you really are as dumb as everyone says.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 13:10

31. SuperEd (Posts: 132; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Well, that does it for me. WINDOWS PHONE ALL THE WAY!!!!

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 14:01

35. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)

Not sure how you arrived at "WINDOWS PHONE ALL THE WAY!!!!" when it wasn't mentioned at all.

If anything, this article should make you think,




posted on 28 Oct 2011, 16:45

49. Penny (Posts: 1648; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

He arrived at Windows Phone because of how well the WP7.5 update was distributed. According to recent articles, 100% of Windows Phone 7 devices now have access to the 7.5 (Mango) update, within one month after the update was released.

Furthermore, everybody that got the 7.5 update got all of the features provided in the update, except for those that are restricted by the carrier (internet sharing, etc.). Meanwhile, if you have an iPhone 4, you are getting the iOS update alright, but you are getting it without its single biggest feature: Siri. And as if that was not enough, Apple abruptly removed the Siri application from the App Store completely, leaving those with older devices with no hope of ever having such a feature. That would be fragmentation.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 13:15 1

32. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

I am enjoying 2.3.5 OS on my 1 yr old Captivate :-)

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 15:35 1

37. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Fragmentation is being overrated. You had it with Windows phones before, same with Blackberry - you have it with all OSes. You just keep your phone as long as you can and then upgrade to a newer model.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 17:59

39. Stuntman (Posts: 836; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

Here's my personal situation. I have an HTC Desire Z that came with Froyo. It was released in Canada last November which is when I got it. Then a month later, Gingerbread came out. I didn't get Gingerbread until this summer (July I think). From the time Gingerbread came out and until I got it, was about 8 months which is more than half the time I have owned my phone. At no point during that time did I ever encounter an issue that required having Gingerbread to fix. At no point during that time did I try to get an app that was not available to me because it needed Gingerbread. At no point was I ever unhappy that my phone did not run the latest version of Android.

The article implied that not having the latest version of Android makes me unhappy. This is false. I am happy with my phone during the entire time I have owned it even when Gingerbread came out and I was still on Froyo. I do not forsee myself being unhappy when ICS is out and not available on my phone.

I've been hearing this fragmentation issue being talked about for over a year. I have yet to see any situation where fragmentation has negatively affected me. People seem to make this such a big deal and frankly as a user I haven't seen it.

What are people proposing? That manufacturers just release phones just when each major release of Android is released and then do nothing for the rest of the time? There's more to improving a phone than simply putting the latest version of Android on it.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 18:02

40. Stuntman (Posts: 836; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

What I do agree with is that I would prefer a decent period of support for the phones. I don't expect phones to be perfect upon release. If issues do arise or get discovered, I would prefer manufacturers offer updates if a major issue can be fixed with a software update. It would be nice for a device to be supported this way for at least 2 years even if it does not necessarily mean that the latest version of the OS will run on it.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 19:30

43. torr310 (Posts: 839; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

This figure did not reflect those rooted phones, which I believe it's a lot.

posted on 27 Oct 2011, 22:53

46. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

I enjoy hacking my phone...it is what I do....

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