Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 23:42 UTC
Google So, Gingerbread has finally dropped below 50% of devices accessing Google Play. Ice Cream Sandwich has almost hit the 30%, and after six months, Jelly Bean (4.1 and 4.2) almost hit the 10%. Google's page listing these numbers is like a trainwreck in slowmotion.
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Trainwreck?
by emarkp on Fri 4th Jan 2013 00:31 UTC
emarkp
Member since:
2005-09-10

Huh? What does "trainwreck" even mean?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Trainwreck?
by WorknMan on Fri 4th Jan 2013 02:19 UTC in reply to "Trainwreck?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Huh? What does "trainwreck" even mean?


It means that ICS being over a year old and only on about 30% of devices is pathetic. I have a Nexus 4 myself and am quite fond of it, but I feel sorry for the devs that have to code for this trainwreck of an OS and its myriad of devices. And don't start with the 'but it's the carriers fault' bullshit either. If that were the case, most Android tablets not sold by carriers would be running at least Jellybean 4.1 by now.

Edited 2013-01-04 02:20 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Trainwreck?
by Delgarde on Fri 4th Jan 2013 03:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Trainwreck?"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

"Huh? What does "trainwreck" even mean?


It means that ICS being over a year old and only on about 30% of devices is pathetic.
"

Note that this isn't talking about new phones purchased - it's about *all* Android phones in use today. And because not everyone buys a new phone every week, that means there's a *lot* of old-model phones that simply aren't capable of running newer OS versions...

Reply Score: 7

Old versions of Android
by shotsman on Fri 4th Jan 2013 06:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Trainwreck?"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

The agerage man/woman in the street is

1) probably does not know what version of OS their phone is running
2) probably does not know if their phone supports a later version of the OS
3) probably does not know where to get updates/ new ROM's.
4) probably does not have the skill (or more importantly the patience) to load something like Cyanogen

Then there are makers still selling NEW phones with 2.3 installed AND there are no updates available from the maker to 3.x let alone 4.x

Thus, and in conclusion, is this really news?
Please note that I said 'The Average man/woman' and not the like of those who frequent places like this

Reply Score: 7

RE: Old versions of Android
by Laurence on Fri 4th Jan 2013 12:16 UTC in reply to "Old versions of Android"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I don't disagree with what you're saying, however there was one point I'd like to clarify:


Then there are makers still selling NEW phones with 2.3 installed AND there are no updates available from the maker to 3.x let alone 4.x

Android 3.x isn't available for phones. It was purely for tablets and was a bit of a rush job to create a platform for larger screens. So even on tablets, ICS (4.x) is preferred - and that's putting aside the security and app availability issues. (It's also why 3.x has the 2nd lowest usage figures - only beaten by the initial 1.x release's of Android)

So for practicality reasons, it's easier to pretend 3.x never happened.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Old versions of Android
by the_randymon on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Old versions of Android"
the_randymon Member since:
2005-07-06

I just bought a Samsung pocket, running Gingerbread. It does what I need it to and I have neither need nor desire to upgrade it. And apparently Samsung had reasons to prefer an older version of Android for this device (size? cost? other?).

I don't see the numbers as a train wreck. It's just evolution.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Old versions of Android
by Laurence on Sat 5th Jan 2013 11:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Old versions of Android"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I just bought a Samsung pocket, running Gingerbread. It does what I need it to and I have neither need nor desire to upgrade it. And apparently Samsung had reasons to prefer an older version of Android for this device (size? cost? other?).

I don't see the numbers as a train wreck. It's just evolution.

Gingerbread isn't 3.x, so I don't really see how that follows on from my point.

From what I gather, ICS (4.x) does have a larger disk footprint (possibly memory too?) than Gingerbread (2.3). So as much as I'd rather see ICS on all new handsets, Gingerbread might make more sense on some budget hardware.

I don't really know your handset well enough to comment specifically though ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Old versions of Android
by Radio on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:06 UTC in reply to "Old versions of Android"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

You are right, but there is one undisputable problem with the lack of updates: there are also no security updates. And this is very bad.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Old versions of Android
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 4th Jan 2013 15:26 UTC in reply to "Old versions of Android"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Agree x1000.

With regards to 2 & 3, the device manufacturers are really at fault here. With even a good phone like the S3, it requires a craptacular windows/mac desktop app (kies) to do the update. Why not over the air? Why does it sometimes say that the (never rooted, never unlocked) phone can't be updated?

Nexuses update nice and cleanly, always give you the stock rom to reflash to.

Reply Score: 2

Alexey Technologov Member since:
2007-03-16

LOL ? Have you ever tried Galaxy S3 ?

Ofc course it just updated itself over-the-air from 4.0 --> 4.1 ! No PC is needed at all !

-Technologov

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Trainwreck?
by geertjan on Fri 4th Jan 2013 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Trainwreck?"
geertjan Member since:
2010-10-29

I'm a developer and have developed for many (mobile) platforms, and I can tell you Android is my favorite to program for. The fragmentation problem is very much exaggerated, it's hardly worse than on iOS.

It doesn't matter if only a small percentage of users are on iOS 4, you still have to be backwards compatible. So you have the same problems on iOS.

Backwards compatibility for Android 1 was a pain in the ass though. But since Android 2 it's easy to handle. And everyone programs for Android 2.2 or higher anyway now.

So the way I see it:

- Android developers are fine with Android fragmentation.
- Average Android users are fine with Android fragmentation (don't even know what an OS is, don't care about updates).
- Advanced Android users that do care about updates can get a Nexus device.

It seems the only people whining about it are non-Android users/developers.

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Trainwreck?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 4th Jan 2013 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Trainwreck?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

IOS, I would say is in someways worse. The current version of Xcode no longer has support for the iphone 3G or the first couple of generations of ipod touches. You simply can't do it ( without an incredible amount of hackery). So you either set up two dev stations and never ever update one to the newest version of xcode to do point releases on an app compatible with old and new. If you want to support newer features as well, you'd have to fork your app and submit it as a different one.

At least with Android you can create a one off version for that one customer still rocking donut without too much difficulty or requiring another computer.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Trainwreck?
by qbast on Sat 5th Jan 2013 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Trainwreck?"
qbast Member since:
2010-02-08

You are fine, I am not. How do you provide good video streaming for Android? 3.x and higher have HLS support, so you can do adaptive streaming easily. Cool. But 2.x? Either Flash+OSMF (abysmal performance), RTSP (often blocked on 3G) or just mp4 over http - two last option are not adaptive (say hello to buffering and/or low quality). So yes, for me Android lack of updates is a big problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Trainwreck?
by lustyd on Mon 7th Jan 2013 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Trainwreck?"
lustyd Member since:
2008-06-19

"It doesn't matter if only a small percentage of users are on iOS 4, you still have to be backwards compatible. So you have the same problems on iOS. "

I disagree. If a user is on iOS 4 then they know they have an old phone and they know they are out of date. When a user is on Android 2.3 they may have bought the phone that day meaning they think they have the latest and greatest. They will then find they cannot update to the latest. To the developer, this means that on iOS you may be forgiven for not supporting the older versions but on Android you definitely won't be.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Trainwreck?
by zima on Thu 10th Jan 2013 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Trainwreck?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

With Apple there's fragmentation based on hardware, not much different. Apple actively promoted, pushed iPhone 3GS for a really long time - so that there are certainly people who bought it new fairly recently. Not even all the advertised OS functions work on it; plus there are demanding applications which won't run...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Trainwreck?
by bassbeast on Fri 4th Jan 2013 15:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Trainwreck?"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Well suck it up and take it, its either this or the Apple and MSFT walled gardens...sigh. Anybody else feel like 2013 is gonna be the "year of suck" when it comes to tech?

As for why its dropped below 50% the answer is simple, the ARM chips capable of running Android 4 are now cheap enough to be in those $70 tablets. if it makes you feel any better they were showing $50 dual core tablets at the Hong Kong expo a few months back so by this time next year ARM chips will be cheap enough that they'll be able to sell Android 6 on the $50 tablets and $70 smartphones so the previous versions will die out fairly quickly.

Personally I'd rather have Android where I get a choice of devices and price points than a "choice" of an insanely overpriced Apple or a grossly insanely overpriced MSFT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Trainwreck?
by WorknMan on Fri 4th Jan 2013 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Trainwreck?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Personally I'd rather have Android where I get a choice of devices and price points than a "choice" of an insanely overpriced Apple or a grossly insanely overpriced MSFT.


Is Android really any better in this regard though? If you want a device with an unlocked bootloader AND be able to install the latest Android OS whenever you want, you're pretty much stuck with Nexus devices. In that regard, iOS has more configuration options to choose from (black/white, 16-64gb, LTE, four different form factors, etc) than the Nexus devices give you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Trainwreck?
by bassbeast on Sun 6th Jan 2013 03:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Trainwreck?"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

There is a TON of the CCC (cheapo Chinese crap) out there and I have no doubt most are frankly trivial to unlock, simply because locking it would involve spending a dime and these things are all about low cost. If you are unsure about a unit just type its name and "unlock" or "sideload" into Google, I'm sure you will be able to tell pretty quickly whether you can or not.

Now if you are talking phones? That is all on the carriers, they don't want unlocked anything as they don't want to allow tethering without paying the toll so they try to make sure devices can't be unlocked. How dare you use that phone for something that you didn't pay the carrier tax upon!

Frankly I'm telling everybody just get the cheapest smartphone you can as the smartphone fad is just that, a fad, and its about to end, just as the netbook fad ended this year. The reason it'll end is the carriers care more about keeping Wall Street happy than the users so they will keep raising the prices and adding fees to the point most simply won't buy a smartphone as it'll be too expensive.

I already have several customers whose smartphones are now sitting in a drawer because the carriers made the data plans so damned high it just wasn't worth having, and as cheap but powerful tablets and WiFi hotspots continue to spring up I think the smartphone will end up being what it was originally, strictly a business tool.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Trainwreck?
by zima on Wed 9th Jan 2013 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Trainwreck?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Can't agree with you there about "smartphone fad" ending like that - remember, it's happening throughout the world, also in places with more decent carriers and/or where people own their phones upfront and use prepaid. And WiFi helps smartphones, too.

Reply Score: 2

should be even less than that
by DREVILl30564 on Fri 4th Jan 2013 02:38 UTC
DREVILl30564
Member since:
2008-04-18

If phone manufacturers and Cell carriers would update all of their phones that are capable of running icre cream sandwich or Jellybean, then the numbers for gingerbread would be a lot less.

I'm not saying every device running gingerbread should be updated, just the ones that are more than capable that have been left high and dry by their manufacturers.

wishful thinking on my part I know.

Reply Score: 3

Risk factors
by bram on Fri 4th Jan 2013 02:49 UTC
bram
Member since:
2009-04-03

I think this may have to do with risks.
If you look at an OS upgrade from the carrier's point of view:
There is not much immediate financial gain in upgrading devices.
There is a huge threat though: although chances are slim, pushing firmware could theoretically brick millions of devices.
If that ever happens to a carrier, it will be game over for them.
No user is ever want to be their customer again.
Why run a risk (however unlikely) with stakes this high?
It's easier just to sell them new phones with newer^H^H^H^H^H less old OSes.

Edited 2013-01-04 02:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Risk factors
by SeeM on Fri 4th Jan 2013 08:17 UTC in reply to "Risk factors"
SeeM Member since:
2011-09-10

It's not impossible to break something. I checked users reviews of xperia mini pro. Some are positive about 4.0 and some don't. Battery life is shorter / longer. Performance is worse / better. OS is slower / faster. On the same device. It's really confusing.

Reply Score: 2

rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

What surprises me is that Google hasn't set a simple cut-off point for releases if you're part of the handset alliance (which should obviously cover carriers too). Something like you can't release a new handset/tablet/whatever with a version of Android that's more than 6 months old.

Obviously, there needs to be an upgrade timetable too - something so that there's time points up to the 2 year mark (e.g. an upgrade at the 6/12/18/24 month mark or something like that).

Carriers will resist this hugely for 2 reasons, even if the phone is easily capable of running every Android release for the next 2 years. Firstly, it means they'll have a lot more models to update (maybe that would encourage them to release *less* models over time? HTC were terrible for this: almost every week would see a new model!).

Secondly - and this is a biggie - carriers love "disposable, non-upgradeable phones" (i.e. sealed in battery, no SD card slot expansion) because they can sell a new model to replace it and make a tidy profit. Allowing upgrades on older models of any sort (software or hardware) is against their selfish interests.

Reply Score: 4

SeeM Member since:
2011-09-10

What surprises me is that Google hasn't set a simple cut-off point for releases if you're part of the handset alliance (which should obviously cover carriers too). Something like you can't release a new handset/tablet/whatever with a version of Android that's more than 6 months old.


I have better idea. Lets slow down with new releases. Give me one good reason to upgrade from 2.3 to 4.0. When 2.3 is working fine with mail, browser, games, etc...

Reply Score: 7

gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

At last a comment that makes sense.
My SGS II is running JB 4.1.2 but my wife's Xperia X8 is running GB 2.3.7, both rooted and running non-standard ROMS.
The 2.3.7 on my wife's phone works just fine I simply cannot find a single reason for upgrade it to ICS or above.

Unlike iPhone android is running on just-about-any-type of device, from the low-end (Such as the X8) to the high end (Note II). As such it is very likely that no all will run the same OS version.

- Gilboa

Reply Score: 3

VistaUser Member since:
2008-03-08

There is a big different between Android >=2.3 and Android 4.0+ IMO.

You can tell that the latter is far more polished and I think (I am not a programmer but I have read) the programming model for the fragments on 4.0+ is different from Gingerbread and lower - this enable supporting multiple screen sizes.

While old phones running Gingerbread is ok (as long as its secure), launching new phones means that new apps have to consider the old limitations for longer.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

[q]There is a big different between Android >=2.3 and Android 4.0+ IMO. [q/]

People don't care. Really. Most people care about what the phone *can do*, not what version of a specific OS it is running.

Reply Score: 5

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

People don't care. Really.

And he should know, being VistaUser ;P

Reply Score: 2

gtada Member since:
2005-10-12

I second the HTC comment. They pretty much abandoned the Flyer; I'll never buy another HTC.

Reply Score: 1

why upgrade?
by project_2501 on Fri 4th Jan 2013 10:20 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

"+1" to SeeM's comment.

What's the reason Joe Public should care or worry about Android version?
I mean Joe Public, I don't mean the much smaller tech savvy or tech enthusiastic crowd.

If Joe publics email, web, phone, calendar, etc all work fine... what's the reason to upgrade, other than genuine bug fixes?

Sometimes an upgrade is a downgrade. The Huawei Ascend G300 went on sale in the UK for approx £100. It compared to phones costing more than twice as much at the time - still does. It came with Android 2.3 and it worked well. However Vodafone foolishly promised in public that it would "soon" receive an upgrade to ICS. It was very late - and after much hounding by techies, it arrived broken (things didn't work), unstable (things crashed/force closed) and slower (ui slower). The forums for the device have been ablaze and there are lot of users wanting to downgrade to Android GingerBread. In fact Vodafone/Huawei offered an official utility to do that.

Is the problem really for developers - not end users. Can developers really not develop apps/websites sufficiently agnostic of the client.... client dependencies are sooo 1990s...

Reply Score: 4

RE: why upgrade?
by Radio on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:12 UTC in reply to "why upgrade?"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

All the OS, even those who are managed very conservatively, receive at least security updates. More than the lack of updates to the next version, I fear a lot the lack of support of the current Android version of my phone. What is going to happen if one finds a gaping hole in Gingerbread, bad enough to allow self-propagating malware?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: why upgrade?
by sb56637 on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE: why upgrade?"
sb56637 Member since:
2006-05-11

Yep, this is a very sobering thought. Carriers don't care about their customers' security. They care about making money, and if the customer is locked into a long contract, they care even less about the state of the OS on the customers' devices.

I don't understand why Android doesn't simply separate the base system (kernel, drivers, Dalvick, whatever) from the userland. That would make it much easier to patch the core components if needed, and it would make it much easier to update or install a different userland system.

Reply Score: 2

RE: why upgrade?
by Moochman on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:40 UTC in reply to "why upgrade?"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

If Joe publics email, web, phone, calendar, etc all work fine... what's the reason to upgrade, other than genuine bug fixes?


How about better user experience? Faster, more fluid performance? Support for brand-new apps that use brand-new features of the OS? ICS was a *huge* step forward in terms of the UI and in terms of developer API support in a number of areas (the new GUI widgets alone are worth switching platforms for developers).

Sometimes an upgrade is a downgrade... it arrived broken (things didn't work), unstable (things crashed/force closed) and slower (ui slower).


You're just proving that Android handset manufacturers are incompetent, not that upgrades are bad.

Is the problem really for developers - not end users. Can developers really not develop apps/websites sufficiently agnostic of the client.... client dependencies are sooo 1990s...


Um, asking users to buy a new device in order to upgrade their OS is sooo 1990s.... Everyone on every other platform *other* than Android has today come to expect free/cheap and easy upgrades *without* purchasing new hardware.

Reply Score: 3

chithanh
Member since:
2006-06-18

Asymco has posted an article about smartphone migration, including an observation on retailer shelf space distribution:
http://www.asymco.com/2013/01/03/the-last-featurephone/

About half of the Android phones on display are still running 2.2/2.3. So it appears that those versions are still good enough for most customers who primarily use FB/email/IM and do light browsing.

Reply Score: 1

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

This just reinforces the notion that consumers do not buy phones. Consumers are sold phones.

Android does not succeed on its own merits, but rather on alignment with the interests of OEMs and Carriers which in turns results in a strong retail channel push.

Consumers lose, Google, OEMs, and Carriers win.

Reply Score: 4

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

Consumers are not as passive as some people may think. Purchasing decisions are driven by price, brand, popularity and other things at least as much as they are driven by carriers.

Even a well informed consumer could opt for an Android 2.3 device for 100 USD (that works fine for what he wants to do with it), simply because there is nothing else competitive in this price range.

When Tizen comes to market this year this will presumably change, because the 'budget' shelf space will be shared between Android and Tizen then.

Reply Score: 5

LGP500
by biffuz on Fri 4th Jan 2013 21:26 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

This news reminded me that my LG P500 was waiting for an upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread.

Yeah, I don't care that much about upgrading my phone.

It turned out to be a quite painful process, when I rebooted it shown a worrisome "Emergency Mode" string and nothing more. I was relieved that removing the SIM and the SD card was enough to let it boot properly the first time.

Anyway, I see that finally there are some phones I like at the price I want, so I may consider to replace it. Maybe.

Reply Score: 3