Android fragmentation visualized

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.

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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49 Comments

46. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

43. torr310

Posts: 1735; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

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

40. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 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.

39. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 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.

37. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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.

32. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

31. SuperEd

Posts: 132; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

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

35. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 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, "APPLE'S FRAGMENTATION IS NONEXISTENT!!" and/or "ANDROID IS IMPROVING AT FRAGMENTATION, AS LONG AS I HAVE A NEXUS!!"

49. Penny

Posts: 1876; Member since: Feb 04, 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.

29. bigboss

Posts: 80; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Taco, 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.

44. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

examples you can't even give one example

48. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 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.

28. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

is this supposted to make apple look good for being up to date??? LETS NOT FORGET ALL THE NEW IOS STUFF HAS BRICKED THE OLD IPHONES... THE iPHONE 3G GOT BRICKED UP WHEN THE LAST RELEASE WAS RELEASED... hmmmmm... maybe this was to make people go buy new phones.... bad apple! bad apple! bad!

34. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 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.

18. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

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

15. alc

Posts: 17; Member since: May 19, 2010

This absolutely can't be true. here's the official apple site:http://www.apple.com/ios/features.html at the bottom it lists compatible devices...nuff said

17. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 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

22. JayLeBlanc

Posts: 33; Member since: May 16, 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.

10. snowgator

Posts: 3629; Member since: Jan 19, 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.

9. ilia1986 unregistered

You say fragmentation, I say custom roms! Something that iPhone will NEVER be able to do. Change its operating system.

19. iwebdroidberry7

Posts: 230; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

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

24. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 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.

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.

8. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

13. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 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.

16. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

23. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 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.

33. ygswagg11

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

@iamcc i totally feel you on every thing yu said

41. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

42. torr310

Posts: 1735; Member since: Oct 27, 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.

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