Android Fragmentation Put On Display For All To See – Shows Embarassing History Of Support

An image displaying Android’s fragmented “orphans” is making its way around the web today. The graph tracks Android smartphones that today, are still “under contract” but got left behind in the dust when it came to updates (firmware update or maintenance). The chart was made after news that Nexus One owners would not be seeing an OS update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Here are some of the cold hard facts:

  • 7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
  • 12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
  • 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
  • 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
  • 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
  • 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
  • In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
  • At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.

According to the graph, the results are (supposedly) embarrassing to Android users and display the sad, cruel reality of how fragmentation continues to hurt consumers — especially Android consumers. Why is this being pointed out? Apparently, consumers are being screwed when they buy an Android device, app developers end up targeting older versions of Android in order to maximize market reach and security risks are sometimes never addressed from a manufacturer on older devices.

The solution? Well, it’s simple. Stop buying cheap, low-end Android devices that can barely run the outdated OS they’re being shipped with. If you buy a used G1, you really expect HTC to update it to Ice Cream Sandwich after 3 years? As consumers we have a voice and we let our wallets do the talking. Support the manufacturers that regularly update their devices and if you’re phone is nearing 2-years old, well — it might be time to upgrade. The mobile world moves quick. Technology moves fast. Google moves even faster. Remember, it’s not by any fault of Google’s nor their job to update your device to the latest firmware. It’s the manufacturer’s.

That is unless you buy a Nexus device.

[TheUnderstatement via Gizmodo]

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  • Ryan Hietpas

    And THAT is why I’m getting the Galaxy Nexus.

    • Jdog25

      Hell thats why I’ve always used Google phones, G1, Google Ion, Nexus One, Nexus S and soon to be Galaxy Nexus.

      • Roger_Ramshit

        Nice to be able to buy a new handset evry 6 months.

        • Jdog25

          G1 to Google Ion(9 months)

          Google Ion to Nexus One(6 months)

          Nexus one to Nexus S(11 1/2 months)

          Nexus S to Galaxy Nexus(11 months I hope)

          Saving hundreds of dollars per year on T-Mobile is why I don’t feel bad about buying these phones. Also I get good speeds and coverage so its a win win.

    • jnadke

      Also, the chart is misleading.

      Although the iPhone 3G was “upgraded” it never got half the features of iOS4.

      The 3G should be green for only 2 out of 3 years. Where’s the multitasking. Isn’t iOS4 supposed to have multi-tasking? Doesn’t sound like a complete update to me.

      And the iPhone 4 is already unsupported, it doesn’t get Siri.

      • monlosez

        Siri is only for iPhone 4S, not even iPad 2 is supported even it has pretty much same hardware performance as iPhone 4S. Maybe Siri is beta or they use it as a selling point of iPhone 4s. Looking at this chart, the next iPhone could be around October 2012.

        • Bryce McSherry

          Siri is beta so it’s possible they may release it as a feature to older devices at a later date, though honestly they’re trying to sell the iPhone 4s based on Siri so I doubt it…

    • Sirius14

      Android is EMBARRASSING!!!!!! Jump ship while you can!

      • Bryce McSherry

        Or install CM7 and begin running Gingerbread today because Google embraces the hacker and modder community and therefore with enough programming know-how virtually any device can run any version of Android with some hardware exceptions.

    • Integgroll

      And that’s why you always leave a note

  • techgeeky

    very very embarrassing

    Google is following the exact steps of Symbian

    Sooner or later they will fall unless they solve the fragmentation problem and start making decisions instead of being forced to follow whatever the carriers and makers decide

    • Chris Chavez

      Google makes the OS. Let’s anyone use it however they want. It’s an awesome idea. It’s not their job to do anything but keep improving on that OS. Just like Windows, if you buy a cheap $100 PC, don’t expect it to run Windows 8.

      And if Google were to require OEM’s to update their phones FOREVER, they’ll probably just abandon Android and make their own crappy OS.

      Think about it. Even as old as Android 2.2 is, it’s still better than Bada.

      • Christopher Woodruff

        Well, the problem with Windows is each subsequent version has been more bloated and processor intensive than the last. Android really hasn’t seen anything of that nature until ICS required hardware acceleration. This is just carriers and manufacturers being lazy.

        • Bryce McSherry

          Incorrect, Windows 7 uses fewer resources than Vista, Windows 8 uses fewer resources than 7 (in it’s current iteration)

    • Uncle Paul

      It isn’t a problem and as Chris said, it isn’t Google’s responsibility. Google does not make the hardware. The “fragmentation” will never stop because we’ll keep improving Android and keep improving the hardware.

      The fact that Google/Android/OEMs are moving at more than twice the speed of Apple/iOS means there is going to be fragmentation. Apple doesn’t have tons of hardware to worry about. They control the hardware, they control the OS. If they had other manufacturers making hardware such as they do for Android, Apple would be moving at the same speed constantly updating iOS and making it better. But they can’t do that. They are limited to the hardware they have now. Their older phones are going to start not being able to run the newer stuff and they will run into fragmentation as well. Android devices are simply evolving much faster than iOS devices.

      • Anti

        Oh uncle Paul…

        • Uncle Paul


      • Lee Davi

        100% correct.

        2-3 phones per year for each manufacturer, 5 different processor manufactures. Each year: HD displays, dual core, quad core, more ram, ARM, intel’s planning on getting in too- the tech world moves fast and always has.

        Unless you’re just lazy or old I don’t see what the complaint is. We’ve been accustomed to this for some time. NO matter how awesome your system is this year, in 6 months it’ll be “crap” and in a 18 mos “obsolete”. Most people I know, know how to upgrade their devices without waiting for someone else to do so. If that means cracking open your computer and installing more RAM, a new processor, graphics card, or software- so be it.

        The only difference with phones is that we can’t open it up to add RAM or change things (yet), so that’s why there may be some problems especially for older phones. Even Apple doesn’t fully support all their old devices- they pretend to. If you have a 1ghz or faster phone there is no reason you can’t root it and update to gingerbread if you wanted to.

      • MarcusDW

        iOS is at version 5 which is one version number ahead of Android 4.0.

        The iPhone’s CPU, GPU, and screen are some of the best pieces of hardware available so how in the world are they so left behind as you say?

        And BTW “Their older phones are going to start not being able to run the newer stuff” THIS IS ALREADY THE CASE!! EDIT: in case you don’t understand that statement. The iPhone 3G/4 as well as the iPad 1 don’t have all of the features that you can find in an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 in part because of the software. i.e. SIRI and pinch-to-home.

        Your comment is all hype and no substance.

        • Lee Davi

          Because they just got a dual core phone. And in 3-6 months I’ll be able to grab a quad core phone. (I’ll be able to get a quad core tablet in a couple of weeks.) And maybe by the end of next year, the iphone will be quad core. Maybe.

          CPU and GPU android manufacturers have been moving at a rapid pace. Apple hasn’t, but is starting to.

          • MarcusDW

            Is the iPad or iPhone behind the competition? This whole conversation is about Apple being behind in specs and their software.

    • JBrowne1012

      Google and fall in the same sentence? you must be high.

      • Uncle Paul

        Not to mention comparing it to Symbian. No one used Symbian because they wanted to, it was just the best available at the time (not to mention cheap).

        Where’s Nokia now? Making Windows phones…

        • Bryce McSherry

          Though to be honest some of the best hardware available is Nokia, they just made the mistake of putting Symbian on it which is hardly user friendly

    • Col_Angus

      Actually, the Google Nexus phones are the most up to date Android phones available. Google needs to be more assertive with manufacturers though. Standards for hardware must be made so future OS updates can be adopted.

  • Chris

    Umm…that’s wrong. The original iPhone never got iOS 4 in 2010. Apple said the hardware was too old to run it.

    • Brandon Johnson

      The reason that iPhone is on there is because it received support up to 3 years after its release, meaning it was up to date all the way up until iOS 4 was released. The problem I see here is google’s decision to stop supporting the N1 which is only a year old and can clearly run the software if the Nexus S can (slightly different processor sure but they’re clocked at 1GHz each), that means the N1 (a google branded phone) was only good for 2 updates that came within the same year as the phone. It would also mean that most high end phones released in 2010 would also not be receiving the update since they’re similarly specced like the N1.

      • Uncle Paul

        Nexus One is more than a year old…

        The Nexus S is a year old.

        • Brandon Johnson

          Put it this way then, most 2010 android phones have specs similar to the Nexus One even the Nexus S, now you’re telling me that a flagship phone such as all of the ones released last year cannot run the newest android build and even worse the phone google themselves had made can’t receive official support from them only a year and some months after release?

          • JBrowne1012

            where are you getting 1 year from? Nexus one released early early january of 2010 with year 2009 hard ware, 1 year regardless of the hardware is January of this year by the time Galaxy Nexus releases in November with 2011 hardware it will have already been 22 months since the release. the hardware and the actual time are close to 2 years apart.

          • Brandon Johnson

            I’m not denying that the phone is “old” my main point is there are phones newer than the n1 that probably won’t be receiving the update either. Bad business if you ask me, since it means even a brand new phone is only good for one full year of updates (some don’t even get that) without having to void your warranty, and as Malcolm pointed out I forgot how stingy htc was with memory in their phones and how much of it android takes up.

          • Uncle Paul

            @Brandon then buy something else. no one is forcing you to buy an Android phone. Just because a phone is released a certain date does not mean it has better hardware.

          • Lee Davi

            I really comes down to processors, graphics and RAM. The N1 was released in 2010 running on a chipset that was built in 2008. There was really nothing latest or greatest about it. And that is likely the case for many other phones released around that time. Consider what’s happened to processors in the past year or so- quad core tablets are set the hit the market soon. This sector moves fast. Even faster as of late. In some case, it’s just not feasible to upgrade phones.

            And some manufacturers probably can’t upgrade due to the fact that they already have a ton of devices on the market. How many Motorola phones are currently on the market? They’re not really used to this business model. Before, phones were just phones and you got what you got. They just put the newest (sometimes gimmicky) phones out there as quickly as possible. Now it’s like dealing with computers. I think it’s gonna take some time for them to start to streamline and adjust vs putting out 5-8 different phones each year and not really caring about specs (just pricing). Now specs are going to matter and we’ll see what happens.

            As of now, you either root it or deal with it.

      • Malcolm Wilson

        I have a nexus one and i can tell you it doesn’t have enough memory to support an official upgrade to ICS from Google. the developers will be able to modify the system to make ICS more than serviceable though.

        • Uncle Paul


    • TheDrizzle

      The 3GS couldn’t even run it well enough to use.

      • wei hoong tan

        dont bs, 3gs runs ios4 just fine, and a little slow running ios5.

        if you cant afford a 3gs, pls at least go ask your frens instead of bs-ing.

        • Aja Hemphill

          Why are you here? You are obviously an apple fan boy. It was universally known that the new OS had issues on their old hardware. Need proof?

          If you are just going to pester people with your mindless, factless yammering of what Steve Jobs wanted his followers to say, then go somewhere where it will be appreciated…like an Apple Store.

          • Pat Wittman

            Maybe you should re-read your “proof” of things that are “universally known”. The iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS are two different phones. TheDrizzle stated the 3GS couldn’t run iOS 4 well enough to use, which it definitely does. Secondly, @Chris, you should re-read the graph. It shows the release dates for each of the phones and shows their update history for 3 years. The graph does not show the iPhone ran iOS 4. It shows that it ran on the current version for 3 years from it’s release. which was just before the iPhone 4 launch with iOS 4 in 2010. The point is, fragmentation is clearly a problem for android for a number of reasons. I’m amazed at why some people who like android want to stick their head in the sand rather than voice their displeasure to Google. 1) it hinders software development 2) it hinders security. Hopefully we will see some improvement in future android devices post Ice Cream Sandwich now that it basically does away with physical keys (save volume & power). Hopefully Google will start putting pressure on manufactures to release updates, or allow customers to easily flash a vanilla android from Google based on their device hardware. Maybe Google will use it’s Moto purchase to try to include broader support for device drivers so that as long as a manufacture uses one of the components on a QHL then the maker can offer updates to their UI along side a vanilla android version and ceed support to Google after they stop supporting the device. However all I would really like to come from Google’s Moto purchase is for them to kill Motoblur…

  • WickedToby741

    I’ve never understood the big problem with fragmentation. If you want long term support, buy the best, newest device made by the manufacturer with the best update reputation. If you buy a six month old budget phone, don’t expect to receive support equal to top end Android phones or the iPhone. Choice is great, and if you want to save some money and buy a budget Android, that’s fine, but do know that you’ll still pay elsewhere like in updates.

    • Chris Chavez

      Seriously. It reminds me of Windows. Nobody buys a cheap $100 PC and gets pissed off at Microsoft that it can’t run Windows 7. *smh*

      • Bob_Ross

        It’s not the same at all. You’re not buying a computer that you’re obligated to use under a two year contract. Additionally, even the high-end, more expensive phones have updates withheld by the manufacturers. Why? Common sense would say that they want to force you into purchasing a new handset every 12-18 months. It seems that Apple would generally like to keep their brand fresh and their customers happy when it comes to supporting their devices with current and future updates.

        • Uncle Paul

          Like Chris said, if you don’t buy old hardware you will have updates for two years maybe more. Not to mention there is so much development for Android, you’ll most likely always have the new OS whether it is supplied by the carrier or not. Don’t blame Google for carriers holding back updates. Google is simply responsible for developing the OS, not releasing it to all the phones available (minus the Nexus series, of course).

          Also, it IS the same. I think you’re missing what Chris is talking about.

          Google doesn’t want to keep their OS fresh? Funny, they seem to be keeping it more fresh than Apple.

          • Bob_Ross

            I didn’t blame Google for anything in my comment, I said manufacturers. Also, it has nothing to do with the age or cost of the hardware. I don’t know of a single Android device that has received updates to keep it current for 2 full years, let alone more.

          • limelight205

            the phone company locks u into agreements by unlocked and theres not an issue if you want the 2 year discount suck it up

          • Uncle Paul

            Nexus One is two years old. Pretty sure my G1 received updates all the way till 2.1. You are also free to root the device and install updates developed for [insert phone here] and get an updated OS beyond what the manufacturer thinks.

            Don’t forget the fact that Android and the devices are constantly being improved and moving at a faster pace than the iPhone and iOS.

        • JBrowne1012

          you aren’t obligated to use any particular device for two years you pay to though.

        • JiltedK

          Windows XP is over 10 years old and is the preferred choice of many people. It works.

          Did I miss something or did Android 2.2 stop working and everyone must move up to the latest and greatest?

          A lot of this debate is trivial based on the number of people who actually care about what Android OS version they are on (probably a lot less than you think) not to mention the number of people who don’t even know because their phone works perfectly fine.

        • Aja Hemphill

          the 2 year thing is a carrier issue, not a Google problem. In fact, they tried to shake the game up on that and essentially got shot down by the lack of success/support. That is why I buy my phones outright… expensive up front but saves me money in the long run.

      • ed murphy

        really? you don’t remember the consumer pressure on microsoft when windows 7 originally came out because of manufacturer claims that their low-end PCs would be able to run windows 7? because i do.

        i do agree that people who want continued support should not expect it from the cheap, low end devices which seem to have been cherry-picked to compose the table above. but the reality of the android ecosystem is that this isn’t happening to just low end hardware. e.g., the thunderbolt JUST GOT GINGERBREAD! its almost a year late, and it was officially outdated before it made it to the phone. this is a phone that, when released, was the flagship on verizon! how can anyone realistically think that something isn’t horribly broken here?

    • veccster

      I absolutely agree….I think the whole fragmentation debate is bullsnot. I don’t expect old devices to be upgraded to the latest and greatest. That is why you ‘want’ to go out and buy a new model. As long as an older device still works, what is there to complain about.

      I have 3 friends with Droid Incredibles. Not a single one of them could tell you what OS its running. I’m pretty sure they would give you a funny look if you told them it was running either Froyo or Gingerbread!

  • Loo Soo Yong

    Just use a Custom Rom. Problem Solved.

  • Len Waugh

    The Moto Droid is the only embaressing one here. The others all are lower end devices or, like the Nexus One here, didnt really get left behind but the person who made this graph is writing it as though devices should get the software the day Google announces.

    But all the is besides the point of whats important. If an update is ‘up to date’ but the features are not… is it really up to date after all? iOS 5 was obsolete before it was ever released when compared to Android.

    • wei hoong tan

      when u cant win an android fight, drag apple into it, and shift the attention. good move!!

      android developer… you do things for free eh? cool!

      • iKing_2

        Lol! Touché!

      • Guest

        It’s an undeniable fact, IOS 5 is now catching up to Android. Even Android 2.2 is more capable. You Apple idiots NEED those updates, we don’t.

  • Oleg Ostrovskiy

    WOW nice graph. I love the idea of these kinds of statistics.
    Yeah, it’s like installing Windows 7 on a computer currently running 98

  • Andreas Korat

    They list the price of the device on making a new contract, but they left out the monthly fee. I don’t know what the prices are in US but in Austria, someone had to pay 40€ (56,69600 US-Dollar) per month to get the IPhone for 200€ when i remember correctly. To get pretty much any other device for a good price someone has to pay 20€ at maximum (sure with 40€per month u get more free minutes and so on, but you rarely use all of them and 20€ contracts are enough most of the time).

    Further, the IPhone 3GS is listed to be at the current major version, but is it REALLY the complete version of the IOS5? They left out Siri for example. What else did they not implement in the IOS5 version of the 3GS?

    In this image, NONE of the Android devices that currently are at the major version (Android 2.3.x) are listed, which clearly lets me think that whatever/whoever the source is is completely biased and want’s to manipulate people to not get Android but IPhone devices. No news here, because in my opinion you really need to be biased to get an IPhone nowadays :)

    By the way, the IPhone 3 is listed to have the latest IOS version, but I only read that the IPhone 3GS gets IOS5, so is this true at all?

    Further, I use a Samsung Galaxy S i9000 (not even listed here although the SGS phones are the best selling Android based Phones so far i guess) received two updates (2.1 to 2,2 to 2.3.3) while IOS devices only could get one major upgrade.

    It’s easy to say that devices are up do date when there are hardly any upgrades to the OS.
    From that point of view, all Android devices would be “green” if Google had not released any new OS versions ^^.

    • catalysto

      I agree that the iPhones should at least have an indication of “reduced functionality” or something similar. It seems though that they chose Android phones that have been out for some time. Most of the Android phones that are up to date now have not been out very long and are too young to show a clear picture of future support. There may be some bias, but it’s still obvious that Android has a problem staying up to date. Honestly, we’ve all known this for a long time.

      • Aja Hemphill

        Problem is this shows updates as they relate to the core OS but it doesn’t really address the idea of minor bug fixes that don’t effect the version number. If your phone runs as promised and is getting any needed bug fixes, the average user is happy. When I talk to most of my friends about froyo, gingerbread, and ics, they have no clue what I’m talking about. Fact is, it’s a non-factor for most people. This is just something for the media to grab onto to stir up controversy. It’s already been stated, but it bears repeating: You want the latest updates, get a Nexus. Seems you should get at least two years of updates (if the nexus one is any indicator) or more. That’s about all you can ask with the pace of technology these days

        • limelight205

          B4 smartphones nobody expected an update 2 their feature phone they bought it based on what it had at the time they bought it which is believe it or not still how a majority of ppl purchase things. The tech community and ppl in the know dont buy mid range android phones anyways which apple doesnt even make (old outdated phones dont count). This is basically like buying a base model car and expecting the dealership 2 later pimp your ride for FREE when if thats what you wanted u should of got it fully loaded.

          • Christopher Woodruff

            Your logic is a bit flawed however. Phones didn’t have full fledged operating systems (WM 6.5, WP7, Android, iOS, etc.) capable of what they are today. There was no demand to do so. If you bought Windows 7 for your computer and never recieved any updates in spite of problems you would be mad and now that phones have operating systems of this caliber, we the consumer should expect nothing less. That’s the average user and the advanced one.

            While your advanced user can root to mitigate the fragmentation issue, your average user won’t. However, I know many average users and they are aware of issues with their phone (reboots, freezes, etc.) and if Android manufacturers don’t update they will begin to take notice and leave. We should expect nothing less in updates these days.

          • limelight205

            There is still no demand 2 do so you over estimate the AVERAGE consumer im in college so most people i know are fairly educated and in the know on most things and most ppl i know have no idea the diff. between froyo and gingerbread or that their even called that. Windows 7 is an os and has nothing 2 do with this but once agian you buy things for the features they have and thats all point blank period .

        • droidbeat

          N1didn’t get 2 years of updates.

          • Aja Hemphill

            I just received another update a few weeks ago on mine and have received every new OS that has been released. If you’re referring to ICS, it’s not out yet and won’t be until November. seeing as my phone will be 1 year and 10 months old at the very earliest it could receive that next OS, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for having fully supported my phone for (almost) 2 years…

    • Farids

      Who cares about iOS? I have an LG Optimus 2X that came with 2.2. With a lot of looking aroud I finally updated to 2.3 and I wish I hadn’t as it’s buggy. I asked LG if ice-cream Sandwitch is going to be a available and they answered NO. Putting down iOS and Apple may make me feel better, but doesn’t update my phone.

  • chuckles87

    and this is why i ditched my Motorola cliq xt for my g2 moto was not updating the dam thing from 1.5 and the g2 was tmo newest phone running 2.2 picked that thing up real quick i know its not likely but i hope to get some ics love if not idk the gal nex looks good except for the lack of a physical keyboard

    • catalysto

      Capitalization and punctuation are your friends.

      • chuckles87

        i found better friends. they are called numbers, they always make since.

        • gohaus

          I* Sense*

  • Anthony

    It is a very misleading image. Who cares about what was going on 2 years ago? I want to know what is going on today.

    I also don’t much care what one OEM (Motorola) was doing. Show me other phones. Half the fragmentation in this image is caused by Motorola phones. Why don’t you show me HTC phones? And show me phones from today.

    Today’s data is what matters compounded by previous data. Not just previous data.

    • Dzhokhar

      9/18 of the phones listed are from HTC. Sure, the worst offenders are mid-range Motorolas, but the Droid is actually one of the better supported phones in the list and only 5/18 from Motorola at all.

      The problem with “phones from today” is that they don’t have any support history to display. Most of them have only been available for a few months (largely due to the rate at which new phones are released). In general, they probably look broadly consistent with the first few months of the HTC Hero or HTC Evo 4G. Remember, this chart is supposed to show long-term support, not what versions of Android that phones are released with.

  • Uncle Paul

    I wouldn’t say this is embarrassing. Most of these phones (including the G1) have had custom roms made so that these phones can run the newer OS. I have Froyo on my old dusty G1. Was it ever officially released? No way.

    I bet if Google stopped the “fragmentation” and started acting more like Apple and the iPhone, people would accuse Google of copying off of Apple again too. Typical that the Apple users are always on the defensive trying to figure out ways why their device is superior to others when it hasn’t been for a very long time.

    • wei hoong tan

      google is using apple’s model.

      now its introducing google music.

      we all know apple is making money through innovation!

      google….is a great search and ads company. but i love though.

  • brian

    If 7 of the 18 NEVER ran a current version of the OS, how is it possible that 12 of the 18 ran a current version for only a few weeks??

    someone did their math on an iPhone, didn’t they!!

    • Brian McCann

      60% of the time, it works every time.

      • PaulAtreides

        Stings the nostrils…in a good way.

    • Jeff Lavezzo

      Well, you know, it’s because 19 of the 18 phones either never ran a current version of the OS or only ran it for a few weeks.

  • Justin

    Dinc is not widely on the newest version.. Idk about the others.

  • draiko

    There is another side of this story… The updates for older iOS devices leave out more and more key features as time moves on. AFAIK, Android device updates have included every single feature of the new versions save free native tethering.

    I’m sure that if Google wanted to look better on this chart, they could do what Apple does… strip out all the new key features from Android OS updates, slap a larger number on the end, and push them out to devices.

    Another large missing detail is the fact that Apple, despite having only ONE iOS chipset per year to support, had major issues/bugs with each new iOS update on older hardware. They can’t even get their “meticulously engineered” OS to function well post-update with a hardware and software hegemony. THAT is embarrassing.

    • nspooty

      Excellent point. iOS 5 on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 is a good example. They are largely the same phone but several of the new iOS5 features are exclusive to the 4s.

      • Richard Blaney

        Like what other than Siri?

        • wei hoong tan

          those are true fanboy, they love to drag apple when their android is not doing well.

          hey, i fell and broke my knee, but hey look, peter got beat up, lets laugh at him.

          • Aja Hemphill

            actually the graphic is what brought apple into the convo. did you miss that? Don’t get into a fight unless you are prepared to get punched…

          • nspooty

            How does my completely unbiased and objective comment equate to me being an Android fanboy?

            By Android fanboy, do you mean someone who purchased his dad a Macbook Pro and iPod Touch, as well as uses a Blackberry for work? Then yes, yes I am.

            Speaking of which, I requested my work phone be replenished with the new iPhone 4s. Yes, I will be using an iPhone 4s next week by choice. I use what works for me. I’m curious to see if I can handle a touch screen for replying to lengthy emails.

            Strange how different people react to my use of a Blackberry at work. Those with iPhones make fun of me and make comments like yours. Those with Android phones are indifferent. Interesting difference in character between the two. Based on that I’d say you complimented me, because I sure as heck don’t won’t to be called an Apple fanboy when I get my iPhone 4s.

          • JAFOOLEY

            mate, you’re taking the time to reply to comments on an android fan page.

          • nspooty

            @JAFOOLEY: That makes zero sense. By that logic, that means you and wei hoong tan are Android fanboys.

            And again, I just admitted I’m waiting on delivery of a brand new iPhone 4s. Clearly, I’m interested in any and all technology as long as it does what I need it to do.

          • newdiedewdie

            sorry pooty tang.. you made no sense.

    • hi_hellothere

      But every issue was fixed on the .1 update that soon follows. Soon as in a few weeks, not months. If you wait to update when the .1 version comes out you can avoid all major issues on all old and new models.

    • wakkoman

      excuses, excuses, excuses. sooo typical.

      “google could leave out features and push out half-updates if they wanted to…” WELL THEY DONT. THATS THE FUCKING PROBLEM SHITHEAD

      • MWFish

        but I don’t want a half-assed update. especially one that claims to be the same version, but with half the features.

        • wakkoman

          LOL are you reading what you are writing?

          You don’t want some of the new features, but you’re ok with no new features?


          • MWFish

            sigh… I should have known better than to feed the troll. Now I have to go make a virgin sacrifice to the gods of the internet.

          • wakkoman

            You would be better off explaining how you dont want some new features instead of no new features. Take your time.

          • MWFish

            I’m saying I’d rather be able to look at the software number and be able to tell based on that what features the phone will have. I would be all for smaller, more frequent updates, but for the device to claim to be a certain version and not actually have half of that version’s features… It’s a strategy that works for Apple, because they understand that their customers will be more impressed with the version number than with actual features.

      • Guest

        I thought iKing was the dumbest troll around but you took the cake. Or maybe you ARE iking (that would probably make more sense).

    • Roger_Ramshit

      How about just matching Apple….that would be a nice start.

  • Justin

    I would honestly buy the iPhone 4s if it had a 4+ inch screen and 4g.

    • Uncle Paul

      Don’t worry, Apple will get to that eventually. Playing catch up as always.

      • iWebDroidBerry7

        Enjoy your iOS folders in ICS.

  • DrizzyGadget

    Moral of the story: Dont buy cheap phones if you want them to get updated

    2nd Moral of the story: Root your phone

    • fins71


    • Brandon Johnson

      Saying don’t buy cheap phones isn’t a moral of the story, the moral of the story is you’ll have to upgrade every year to keep getting an update. I’d say I’m not an android fan but I like it enough to use it. I bought an N1 when it was a flagship and that thing only received 2 being the 2.2 and 2.3 updates. I did the rooting and all of that but the novelty wore off fast.

    • M0nk

      I think that the problem here is not in US or Europe, but the rest of the world. For example the Moto Quench (ClicXT) is still being sold in many regions with Android 1.5 (+the worst motoblur in history). They sell it for $150-200 on contract (not cheap) and the hardware is so old that even rooting the phone and changing ROMs you can´t have a responsive device (ARM6 architecture). HTC do not sell in those markets and Samsung only have the Galaxy S at twice the price, so many people get busted with crappy phones (not the people that read this site).

  • garlick

    This post has all sorts of errors.

  • Jacky Chan

    oh come on. this graph is biased as their are only a handful of high-end Android devices listed.

    • The_ATL_Guy


      • JBrowne1012

        He’s right its a poor comparison how are you going to compare mostly the budget phones against a high end one? How about a chart listing the iphone against the droid series, how about every nexus and G series how about every other high end android?

    • JBrowne1012

      There is only 1 high end device lol a handful?

    • Lee Davi

      True. 2009 phones and 2010 budget phones were running chipsets from 2007/2008 at maxed out at 500-600mhz. They’re just not up to spec.

  • The_ATL_Guy

    I will continue to be am Android user
    To the Fanboys who cry every chance they get about apple the above proof is why apple dominates android.
    I personally as an android user am embarrassed to see that.
    at least apple supports and stands by their product. google gets to laugh all the way to the bank and blame the manufacturer’s and carriers for not updating the phones. it must be nice

    • ScottColbert

      Once again, you prove just how moronic you are.

      • socalrailroader

        There is no need to be rude or insulting, can it Scott.

        • gohaus

          No seriously ATL_Guy is always saying the dumbest things. Much like Mr. RichardYarell used to. That guy still talks craziness on other android sites.

        • The_ATL_Guy

          Must be a lack of intelligence thing

    • Alex Wynn

      In what way is iOS dominating android? The market Share is 19% iOS : 40% Android, I’m not sure what other way you would attempt to judge this.

      • iKing_2
        • Alex Wynn

          Really, you seem to be addressing a different issue, or possibly 2.

          Apple is beating individual Android using OEM’s, I don’t think anyone has ever disputed this. However they are now only just ahead of Samsung, ( from your own favourite website )

          as such compared to the whole of android they are dismally failing.

          And point 2, well done, you are once again especially proud that your favourite company rips you off a hell of a lot more than anyone else. I’m not sure how else you can interpret the company with 18.5% of the market taking 66% of the profit.

          • iKing_2

            Apple takes in 66% of the profit…..Samsung takes in 15%……trust me, they are not JUST ahead of Samsung….unless of course you see things thru fandroid-colored glasses and are blinded by “market share”…

            But hey, spin it any way you want… asked the question, I answered it. Simple as that….


          • Alex Wynn

            Blinded by marketshare? So I’m “blinded” by the relative popularity of the companies products, and the amount of consumers who wish to and do own them. So yes 17.5% marketshare of which 12.5% is market share growth since this time last year is close to Apples 18.5%. And again I repeat my question why are you so proud that the company you champion is making more money off you, ie costing you more money, than anyone else, or is it just that as Apple loses ground on each and every other statistic you used to so proudly boast about this is all you have left.

          • iKing_2

            Yep….blinded. As in can’t see the forest for the trees. As for the “popularity” of Android, CHEAP is always “popular”. Android’s growth came at the cheap, low-profit end, not at the high end, where Apple simply cannot be beaten. Artificially boosting market share numbers with cheap, low-profit junks phones, giving phones away with BOGO deals, and selling phones for a penny on has never been the Apple way. Also, if you had ANY real business sense, you’d know that it’s a HELLUVA accomplishment for a company to secure nearly 20% market share from just TWO products (not like the over 300 pretend iPhones on the market). But at the end of the day, when you’re walking away with 66% of the profit and the “winning” side is left to scrap for the remaining 34%, I suppose you can concede what ever meaningless “market share” victory your multitudes of opponents throw at you…

            P.S. It’s not just people like “me” that Apple is making money off of. It’s also people like YOU:


          • wei hoong tan

            @ Alex Wynn,

            market share? android is cheaper, thats why!! ipohne without contract its like 600++ USD. knock yourself out with the statistic ok?

            apple it has more cash than US Government at one time.

          • Alex Wynn

            What cheap phones are you talking about that boost market share, Samsung’s growth has been almost entirely down to the Galaxy S and the Galaxy SII, top end android phones. Also if you were capable of reading I have never said that Apple gaining the marketshare they did as a solo operator wasn’t impressive, all I’ve asked you to do is justify how you think they are “Dominating” android as a whole, in which you keep coming back to profit, and so I’ll ask for they final time why do you think them making more money off of less sales is a good thing. Surely it means that their products are over-priced, but of course all good Applites know that giving people all you money is the way you show your love.

          • iKing_2

            Uh, cheapies like the Motorola Citrus, Optimus M, Samsung Intercept, etc, being sold by the likes of MetroPCMess, INeedaBoost Mobile, and StillaVirgin Mobile. Hell, I even see POS Android phones being sold at the damn grocery store. These are the drivers of Android market share, not the Galaxy series bro….

            Whether or not the iPhone is overpriced is a matter for Apple and the carriers…..I pay the same $199 subsidized price for my real iPhone as you do for your pretend one. Obviously with the way carriers beg to offer the iPhone, whatever it costs it is worth it to them…

            Like I said,


        • gohaus

          Ok Apple sells the most phones. Guess what? Google doesn’t sell Android phones (save for the Nexus line) and Android has more market share.

          • iKing_2

            HP has more market share than any other PC manufacturer…….yet they are seriously considering getting out of the PC business altogether….so let’s review: number ONE in “market share”, but looking to get out of the business… market share means what, exactly?

          • wei hoong tan

            get over it, android is cheaper, thats all, thats why it rules 40%, like macdonald, is it better than TGIF? no, but its bigger market share, so??

            if iphone and android is both at same price, which will you buy? lol.

            android is simply cheaper. no matter new or used.

        • Christopher Woodruff

          It does help that Apple sells what, tops 2 phones, at anyone time (3 lately) and Android sells, what 100 different variants?

          • iKing_2

            Use the same logic when you’re talking about Android market share please….it helps that Android sells 100 different variants vs 2……see how that works????

    • gohaus

      Explain to me why you’re embarrassed by that chart please? Do you have stock invested in these companies or Android? Do you have some other sort of vested interest besides owning a phone that happens to have Android on it? Right I didn’t think so, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of because everyone is taking phones way to personally.

      I love Android phones and can’t stand the other OS’s but that’s because I’ve personally tried them and dislike them. So I won’t cry if my phone is officially behind by one update because my phone will still be a more functional phone than all the other ones out there.

      • The_ATL_Guy

        yes I have a ton of stock as do my clients thank you

    • Andrew Ross
  • fins71

    Here’s a thought. Ship devices unlocked and rooted, with the xda app installed. Then the user can update whenever they choose, or not at all. It would never get by the carriers, but i think it would be a good selling point. A lot of people would root, but they fear bricking their phone. If you can follow directions to bake a cake you can root.

  • DrizzyGadget

    No Droid X on the chart I see.

    • benmarvin

      As are a lot of other popular phones are missing. Seems to be a cherry picked list of phones that didn’t get a lot of updates.

  • benmarvin

    Cliq XT, Backflip, Garminfone, LOL! And what’s up with that gap in the Nexus One? Is that Honeycomb? I will slap a bitch if he counted Honeycomb as making the N1 outdated.

    • JBrowne1012

      Might be the time N1 didn’t have gingerbread due to it not being the gingerbread device but that shouldn’t count..

      • benmarvin

        Nevermind, I do remember the N1 did take a couple weeks to get GB after the NS came out. But still, that’s far quicker than the average release cycle for any other Android phone.

        • selonmoi

          It actually took just over two months. We heard “in the coming weeks” repeatedly over that time (Nexus S users waiting on ICS, take note!), and there was much whinging and crying here and in other forums.

          The more patient among us pointed out that it would come when it was ready, and that it’d be months more before other phones got the update. And of course, we were proven correct.

  • Scott Norcross

    Lol galaxy nexus it is. I was going to buy it anyway, guaranteed updates is very comforting. Goodbye HTC sensation, it was a good run.

  • Mike

    This image is largely irrelevant given ICS terms of service specify an 18 month update guarantee.

  • Ravishankar V

    Apart from the fancy and colorful graphs how big a problem is it really. I have a 2.1 phone that I haven’t upgraded (because I use it for testing) and have had no problem with installing and running apps.
    Moreover many (most?) users simply don’t know which version they are running and couldn’t care less. It’s a phone and if I can run the apps I want why bother?
    I have had issues with ‘fragmentation’ as a developer but as a user close to none. Some of the phone apps didn’t work on the tablets when Honeycomb was launched but I haven’t had that problem recently.
    The article seems to be a troll claiming yet again how the Applie iOS is so much more superior. and yet for some strange explainable reasons the Android market share continues to rise :). Kind of reminds me of the FUD Microsoft used to routinely put out.

  • James Eagle

    Most people don’t know what version they have or even what the latest version is!

  • Khalid.H

    And then let’s put other OSs into the graphs.

    Suddenly Android is looking pretty good.

  • hahnchen

    Yeah, how’s that Siri update working for those iPhone 4 guys?

    Oh wait, that feature is artificially blocked from all but the 3GS.

    • gohaus

      Yep it’s too hard for a year old phone to communicate with servers to know how to respond. OOOOHHH so advanced!!!

  • socalrailroader

    “Remember, it’s not by any fault of Google’s nor their job to update your device to the latest firmware. It’s the manufacturer’s.”

    So, who is in charge here, Google or the manufacturer’s? I mean, with Windows you know Microsoft dictates things, with iOS, it’s Apple, why doesn’t Google stand up and say “so, you want to run our OS, here are the rules” ? People have a right to expect at least timely updates and support.

    • James Patillo

      I think you may be missing the point of the platform being “open.” The manufacturers are the ones in charge, but I generally agree with your position on the updates.

    • mattj78

      Of course that’s what they should do. But the manufacturers – and I’m thinking HTC here – would turn around and put something else on their low end devices. Maybe even fork Android like amazon have done. I think Android is doing so well because the manufacturers and carriers can do whatever they want to it – Crappy skins and bloatware included.

    • Scribe

      Who’s in charge? Whoever has “root” (or administrative rights) on the specific device in question.

      If you root your phone, you’re in charge. Pick the right ROM to load, and you get updates very quickly. Leave a carrier-tweaked ROM on the device and the carrier is in charge.

      When people let someone else drive instead of taking the wheel themselves, they CAN complain about the ride, but they’ll look foolish as they do so.

    • gohaus

      In order for Google to use the Linux kernel they cannot dictate what OEMs/carriers can or cannot do. Therefore Google can’t require anyone to do what they really want. Sorry that’s just the way it goes.

  • socalrailroader

    Oh, please respect others and their rights, saying things like “You’re high” or “You’re a moron” are not a good way to keep a good, informative debate going on. Geez guys, grow up and stop acting like a 12 year old who can’t get his way at Toys R Us.

  • Peter Henkel

    “That is unless you buy a Nexus device.”
    Tell that to Nexus One owners…

    • mattj78

      It’ll be 2 years old by the time ICS is released and the hardware just isn’t up to the job. They still got updated to the latest version while it could run on their device.

      It’s good advice.

    • selonmoi

      We got two major updates (Froyo and Gingerbread), which is as many as any iPhone has ever received — in fact, I’d wager it’s as many as any smartphone has ever received. Updates were painless and compromise-free, and left our phones running better than they had before. Great value for money.

      I was a very happy N1 owner, though I must admit I have now moved on.

  • sitnstew

    “The solution? Well, it’s simple. Stop buying cheap, low-end Android devices that can barely run the outdated OS they’re being shipped with.”

    That may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on Phandroid. Most of the high end Android phones suffer from the same issue of not being updated right away. When I owned a Samsung Vibrant it was a high end phone and also one of the last to be updated to the newest version of Android. In fact, many “low-end” phones were updated months before Samsung ever gave it a thought. I’m an Android fan as well but this article simply fails to acknowledge the fact that this is actually a real issue and we should demand more as consumers.

  • Net Ewing

    After buying my Galaxy S (Vibrant on T-mobile) it became painfully obvious to me what this author of this article is attempting to convey…. The Vibrant shipped with 2.1 eclair (even though 2.2 was out already 1 version outdated) then to make things worse it took T-Mobile and Samsung took FOREVER to upgrade to 2.2 by then it was again 1 version outdated because 2.3 was out… T-Mobile Vibrant users will be lucky if they ever see 2.3 and 4.0 ICS little if not zero chance.. This is one example on one phone on one carrier but this is the norm NOT the exception for Android OEM…

    I realize everyone has different reasons for picking their phone but for me updates are the most important NOT having an OEM useless skins like Sense or Touchwiz…

    For this reason, I will ONLY buy a Google Nexus phone from here on. Perfect example with the imminent release of Ice Cream Sandwich, I am not left to wonder when or if my Nexus S will get this update…

    Months from now when to big news of the day is Droid Razr, or Droid Boinic, Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade coming soon, I would have already had ICS running on my Nexus S for months …

  • Jose Andino

    I’m sorry to say this because I love my nexus phone. But once again google shot themselves on the foot by not updating the nexus one. Also their new lil policy of 18 months of software updates is not good enough cause the iPhone 3gs is 6 months older than the nexus one yet they got iOS 5. I know they got it with less features but the point is that google can do the same with other phones. Windows Phone 7 is an example that even though different manufacturers make it when it comes to updates they do it to all the phones too.

    • gohaus

      Ok here’s a GIANT point that people don’t seem to get. Android has and has had tons more functionality than iOS or WP7 have to this day. Siri is nothing special really it’s not. Android has had voice recognition for quite a while and when you first use it it’s cool but then it gets weird talking to your damn phone.
      And don’t even start with WP7. A bunch of tiles that change the picture sometimes (OMG so f**kin revolutionary!). Buggiest piece of garbage I’ve ever used. Cupcake was better than that NoDo and Mango crap.

      • wei hoong tan

        alright, you win each and every argument.

        did google pay you a single cent?

        yea, siri sxcks alright.

        but siri is not voice recog, its AI, artificial intelligence, which ppl like you, really need some of this.

      • Ryan Herriman

        “Ok here’s a GIANT point that people don’t seem to get. Android has and has had tons more functionality than iOS or WP7 have to this day.”

        You’re delusional. iOS and Android both have their strengths and weaknesses. They copy ideas from each other on a regular basis. Which is fantastic! The competition is great. But to claim Android is miles ahead (software wise) is just wishful thinking.

  • Rob1003

    To me this chart is more an indictment of the Carriers rather than the manufacturers and Android in general. It may represent the price of allowing the Carriers to have their way.
    If you made the same chart using the Internationally available versions of the handsets and look at those that ARE updated by the manufacturers the picture would be very different.

    The Apple fanboy camp trying to show how lovely things are for them is a very distorted picture as well. There are already other posts highlighting the fact that the latest IOS is trimmed down and missing features on the older handsets. How many iPhone 4 owners are pissed off that they didn’t get Siri for instance?

  • surethom

    Stop buying cheap, low-end Android devices that can barely run the outdated OS!!!!!!
    Its the manufacture & carriers thats also the problem not just the phones.

    Gingerbread released begging 2011 Motorola Atrix USA updated September, Europe updated Possible November if we are lucky.

  • Carmen Diva

    Wow this is a very informative Chart.

    Android is great and all and I do love it even with all it’s annoying quirks, flaws and things it lacks in comparison with the other OS(IOS or Wp7) but if people would step outside of being a fanboy this should really tell you something,

    If i want to buy a low-range Android phone(I’d never buy one), I shouldn’t automatically be out of the running for the latest OS nor should I have to use a custom rom or anything to get it. Android’s openness is excellent but at same time I feel like it still encourages exclusivity within the Superphones(Galaxy S2, Bionic, etc) and the other low to midrange devices where it’s not equally supported. Being open is fine and great but it is nowhere equal.

    With Apple, I only owned an Iphone 4 all of 2 days because i hated it but I always applaud apple’s approach with their phones. I don’t mind a non-open product. Even if they remove features when they update phones at least they STILL update their phones or try too.

    • gohaus

      What you’re saying is true but look at this from a business point of view. The OEMs are focused on what new phones they’re releasing so they don’t see the point in spending money on R&D for last years phone to update it. I know that isn’t how it should be but these companies care about profit.

      A HUGE part of the problem is the custom skins though. If those guys would just give up on that they could have updates out for their phones in a matter of days after the AOSP drop. Just like most of the devs out there do.

      I used WP7 a few months back and it was absolute garbage btw. The music player always made the phone lock up (battery pull to fix) and everything crashed constantly (games, apps, browser, etc). I’ve never had this constant force close on Android that people always speak of and I rocked a MyTouch 3G for quite a while until I bought the MT4G last year.

  • grindking

    This is one of the ‘prices to pay’ for having choice in a whole range of products running one platform. I feel it’s fair even if this chart looks bad because just like you pointed out in the article, if you buy a lower end device, expect lower end support and little to no app compatibility at times. This is one of the reasons I *LOVE* Android although this chart is trying to show the platform in a negative sense. Next they should do a chart showing how many devices Apple had to ‘update’ on a regular basis vs. Google’s undertaking of putting a piece of software out there compatible with so many different types of devices and form factors and you start to see the bigger picture.

  • Lee Davi

    Am I the only one noticing the piling on of Google and Android as of late?

  • TongueDar

    Nice chart, now where’s all the missing details that show why iOS — that hobbled PDA OS — is less than golden and how if you own your iDevice longer than a year, you don’t get the latest features from Apple — so whatever their BS engine says is the shit. Features like support for a custom background… Yeah, my Touch 2G and the iPhone 3G I had for dev, which could handle 3D games, some pretty eye candy effects, and 480p video, couldn’t handle a custom background. Apparently I needed to upgrade to a 3GS to get that kind of awesomeness. You know, something that EVERY freaking Android device could do along with my older phones, but supposedly only Apple’s latest and greatest could handle.

    Here’s the thing. Even the crap Android phones do more than Apple’s newest drone phones. Android at 2.x is a way more capable OS than iOS 5 and given Apple’s upgrade rate, which is inline with a snail’s pace, by the time iOS matches Android’s capability now — if it ever does, none of the current iOS devices will be supported by Apple.

    • iKing_2

      Getting dizzy from all of the fandroid spin….whew!! Lol

  • MarcusDW

    “That is unless you buy a Nexus device.”

    LOL cough*Nexus One*cough.

  • tim bennett

    Based on this graph, I am baffled at the story about Motorola’s profitability being up 20%.

  • Aeires

    There have been what, 200 Android handsets since it was first introduced. This graph shows only 18. True, it might be similar if they showed all 200, but because they showed less than 10%, it makes me think whoever made this was specifically targeting Android in an attempt to embarrass the OS.

    Add to that, just because a phone doesn’t have the newest iteration of an OS doesn’t mean it’s not supported or won’t run fine with the version it does have. Fragmentation is a problem but not nearly as bad as this attempt makes it appear. No technology can completely be devoid of updates the older it gets, it’s just a matter of reality. If the hardware you do own works for you, shouldn’t that be enough?

    And I agree with what was written hear and said by Andy Rubin a long time ago, people will vote with their wallets. Sony took a beating when they said their phones weren’t getting upgraded, then miraculously they received updates as their site was flooded with angry complaints.

  • Cherriza

    I’ve got a moto droid orig and I’m not sure that as a user two years in I expect it to run the new software. Why do you say? Because I don’t believe the phone can support it. Running what it is now I’m running into issues and having to uninstall apps just to make sure I have space. Like computers as software advances some phones just can’t handle it. For example I use an emac and can’t upgrade to the new os, new firefox etc. Same thing. But as a user I’ve been waiting for a phone that I know will get upgrades when they come out and I will probably get a nexus to last another two years at least.

  • zoozie

    A lot of people arent educated about Android smartphones as we are here. Thus the problem of people going out there and buying phones like G1 to date mainly because amazingly enough those phone’s still end up amazing a layman looking for a smartphone.

  • veccster

    I’m late to the game and probably won’t get a response here but I have a question (or 2)….

    Why does it matter that some older phones do not have the latest operating system on them?
    Why should ALL older phones be expected to get an update to the latest and greatest software?
    So a phone that still runs Froyo does not have all the goodies and design a phone with ICS has….so what? That’s why you buy updated phones.

    I still run Office 2003….they never sent me free upgrades.
    I still run XP….they never sent me free upgrades.

    My LG TV is not running the newest software they have out….I don’t complain.

    Older phones on older OS’s still work fine, just like my Office 2003 on an XP machine.

    • Big R

      Look at this from a very high level. It would be like having to program for Window 3.0, 3.1, 95, XP, Vista, and Win7. That is a bit extreme, but you get the idea. The question to developers is what is the lowest spec that they will program too?

      There is no control of the OS and the phone manufacturers. This is one thing Apple has done an excellent job with. If you pick up any iPhone, the OS will be at the same level on all phones. I would be willing to bet if you picked up 10 original Droids, not one of them will have the same level OS.

      • Aeires

        Except they’re not. You pick up a first generation, or even second generation iPhone and it will not have iOS5 on it. I think they even cut off the first iPhone3g, only the 3GS is moved on to iOS5, and only the iPhone4S is getting Siri, so it’s not really the same as the previous models.

        What Apple does is much better because they don’t let carriers get in their way. Android doesn’t do it that way so we have fragmentation to various degrees.

        With your Windows analogy, try running any Windows 7 compatible software on Windows 3.0. Software gets updated, it’s the nature of the beast and developers know this. With phones, unfortunately it happens faster.

  • polarbehr76

    Speaking of cheap phones, from what I can tell the, people that buy them are often frustrated buy the lack of features. Well just like anything else in life you get what you pay for.

  • Nudo

    Nothing weird here. Google promised 18 months of support, ntm carriers are a major bitch to deal with, and if you hate all that, just get a NEXUS. problem solved.

  • Big R

    Google needs to take a hard stance and get their OS standardized, at least at the release level. What I mean is if the OS is Froyo, it is updated to the latest level. I know all phones cannot run ICS. However, all phones should be able to run the latest version of the OS it has shipped with. It should not require going to the manufacturer to verify. I know this won’t happen. This will be the one thing Apple will have over Android forever. The only way Google can conquer this is by requiring the manufacturers using their OS meet very strict compatibility criteria and be responsible for testing their own device with any update. Apple has 3 phones and Android has a hundred (not sure of the number). Not easy to standardize.

    • Aeires

      Over 200 phones since first introduction. WP also requires strict hardware standards, time will tell if it works out for them.

      Android’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest weakness, choice of hardware that allows carriers to muddle it up.

  • essohdee

    I will admit fragmentation sucks… especially phones running blur. I work my University’s IT Helpdesk and we constantly get calls about people wanting to connect to our network on an android device. the problem is we run a WPA2 Enterprise network that requires username and password authentication. for example my old evo 4g didn’t have the ability to connect to it unless i downloaded a 3rd party app to unlock the ability to connect.

  • BigCiX

    Go ahead and add a 2011 timescale on there and put LG Thrill (2 updates) behind. I hope at&t gets the Prime late this year or early next year.

  • BigCiX

    Good example of a phone released this year that wont receive ice cream sandwich. The GX2.

  • Sam Abuelsamid

    The selective choice of data for the is much more of an issue than fragmentation is to real world users. Almost all of the phones that have show up the worst in terms of updates (or lack thereof) are fringe handsets that have sold in low volumes. While I’d love to see manufacturers properly support every handset they put on the market, realistically, that just isn’t going to happen for devices like the HTC Aria, Motorola Devour and Cliq that no one buys.

    The chart conveniently skips most of the better selling handsets like the Droid 2, X, Samsung Galaxy, Droid Incredible, Incredible 2 etc that have all been upgraded to at least Froyo and in many cases Gingerbread. When comparing market penetration, the vast majority of devices are on either 2.2 or 2.3 now and almost no one bought the devices running older software.

    There are two solution that Android device makers need to implement to address this. First they need to stop creating so many nearly indistinguishable variations of the same phones. It creates “tyranny of choice for consumers” and provides no benefit. It’s bad for the manufacturers as well because carrying so much inventory is bad for profits as can easily be see when comparing the margins of Apple to HTC or Samsung.

    The second change has to do with skinning. If manufacturers insist on applying a skin it should be done as an add-on layer the way third party launchers are built. Baking the skin into the rom is stupid. By separating the skin, updates would be much easier to roll out.

    Regardless, the whole fragmentation argument is much ado about nothing. Aside from us phone and tech geeks, ordinary users simply don’t care.

  • Sgs Captivate

    Scribe, thats the best comment ever.

  • Alejandro

    You have to remember android won’t update phones that can’t handle the new os. Now this leaves some people high and dry. But the 3G and 3gs can’t handle Anything higher than I had the 3GS when they switched to iOS 4 and the phone proceeded to crash constantly. When I contacted apple a rep told me honestly its because the phone can’t handle it. Even now See they update these phones to the “new iOS” it leaves out most key features and really only carries the number update. No phone other than the 4S will be able to run siri properly because the processor just can’t handle it.

    So this isn’t embarrassing, it’s humility. Android knows certain phones can’t handle certain things so if you have it. Maybe your OS is behind but at least your phone still works. Apple will update/break your phone and tell you sorry you’re sol

  • Justin Ellenbecker

    All I have to say is that apparently the people who spend the time making this chart have never used Windows. Here is an Idea let me go get a computer I bought when XP first came out and load windows 7 on it. Then let me sit and bitch about how slow it is. Without owning a device I cannot be sure if this is true but a friend of mine says everytime they update his phone gets slower. So even though it runs the latest OS he says its still a pile of shit. Nothing like a false sense of being up to date. Manufacturers are just trying to make sure the device does the same things as well as it did them when it was launched.

  • Scott Tompkins

    This chart doesn’t represent the fact that the feature-set in android 2.2, present on all these devices, exceeds the feature-set of iOS 5…

  • jdsingle

    This is hardly something any of us should feel “embarassed” about. If you want one phone that is the same exact as all the other current iPhone users in the world, then do it. I personally enjoy the freedom of having a MUCH bigger screen than an iPhone. I like being able to get a slide out keyboard for a family member who doesn’t want all touch. Yes, we sacrifice current updates, but if they bother you that much, root your phone. Rooting can solve the majority of software problems people have. Let me ask this, do iPhone users get to have a new revision of iOS prior to Apple pushing it to everyone? Plenty of phones on Android get hooked up thanks to devs.

  • JD808

    Just pains me that I bought a Samsung Infuse (locked into two year contract) and I’m still stuck on Froyo with no hope for gingerbread any time soon. Explain to me how Infuse owners have not gotten the shaft? This was not a budget phone when I purchased it 5 months ago, but for some reason, this phone seems to get as much love as the Moto Back Flip. Oh I know I can root it, but I shouldn’t have to! I know, tech moves fast, but seriously, five to 6 months and this phone is forgotten? Oh the joys of fragmentation…more like a kick in the pants. Oh and the solution offered by the blogger seems more like blaming the victim than a solution. I know, Caveat Emptor, but seriously Samsung, 6 months and this phone gets no love?!?!?
    /end rant.

  • PRHdroid

    I disagree with the articles ending. It’s not about buying the wrong devices and cheap low-end ones that is the issue. It’s the release of so many devices, each manufacturer should have two phones every let’s say 6 months. One high-end and one smaller, maybe less powered that they can sell at a cheaper price. Not 3 or 4 different devices all hitting within 3 months of each other with no real significant difference between them. That then leads to only one of them being updated and you are completely screwed if it’s not the one you chose. Less devices equals better support.

  • CaffinatedOne

    There are edge cases, but generally why does it matter whether one’s running the latest release provided that bugs/security issues are fixed?

    There aren’t that many apps that I’ve seen which are version specific, so aside from a bit of eye-candy perhaps, why would it be terrible to be “stuck” on Froyo instead of having Gingerbread? Would many users actually notice or care?

    • JD808

      The thing is, my Infuse has a nice front facing camera which I really can’t use effectively. Skype and Google Talk do not support video chat on devices running Froyo. Yes, I can use Tango but it’s a bad experience and most of my contacts are using Skype and/or Google talk.

      • CaffinatedOne

        Fair enough, decent front camera support is new. ICS will have better VPN support as well (which I’m looking forward to). That being said, for most users is either really a big deal?

        The phone works, the vast majority of apps will work fine on any modern(ish) release, and provided that security issues and bugfixes are provided as needed on the older platform (that’s a more interesting question to me than whether said release is “new”), should it be a big concern to a typical user?

  • Michael Hughes

    I’m not saying there isn’t anything wrong with carriers being jerks and not releasing updates regularly. But is this data biased, are there more versions of Android than iPhone?

    Maybe someone who knows more can comment on this.

  • Flavio Martinez

    I think the central theme of the story is being missed. It’s not that Google doesn’t update Android. It’s that the manufacturers/carriers aren’t doing their part. My parents have two Vibrants. They came with 2.1 and are currently running 2.2. These phones are quite capable of running 2.3 as is evidenced by CM7.

  • aiden9

    “At first glance, it seems like a well put together graphic with attention to detail, right? For the most part — yes. But, there are a few device that should’ve been included in the list, as they came out around the same time: namely, Droid X and Droid 2. I realize that is only two devices, but those two devices are running the newest version of Android and are still being supported. Granted, neither will probably see Android 4.0, but that’s not the point. Those are two devices that are not present to represent the we’re still getting updates crowd.

    Also, throwing the Devour, BackFlip, Cliq XT, and Ally into the mix? Give me a break — those phones were doomed before they hit shelves. iPhones are flagship devices. If you want to compare apples to apples, then bring out the Android big dogs to play the game, not the Chihuahuas that weren’t intended to hold a candle to the competition in the first place. This brings me to my next point…”

  • thatguy
  • hemipw54

    Isn’t iOS5 fragmented as well ? I mean iOS5 can only use Siri on the iPhone 4s , although the others 4, 3g, 3 can run iOS5 Siri is not available thus a fragmentation within the OS itself . Apple no better in my eyes .
    Apple 4 phones , Android , what about 10 manufactures of different phones . Oh if Apple phones are so current , why does everyone rush to upgrade to the newest iPhone ?

    • Jonas Barnett

      The graph is rubbish, really. The iPhone, as you’ve indirectly pointed out, is their flagship – they release 1 new model every year or so, and it has the “best” hardware that Apple deems will run their software. The Android phones have a bunch of different price points, and the lower spec ones are not going to have the hardware to run some of the major updates (but allows more people to still be able to afford a smartphone). And including the Garmin phone? Like that was a major turkey that didn’t get much market, and Garmin gave up supporting it. That’s actually not Google’s fault. It would have been much fairer to pick out the flagship phones from each manufacturer and then make the comparison.

  • SuperChunk

    This next Nexus device will be available for every carrier.

    If the vast majority of users simply buy it, then that will show all these carriers we don’t care about their “enhancements”. We want timely updates and google’s actual OS.

    I can’t wait to own two Nexus devices on Verizon’s network for my wife and self.


    I do see the connection between high price and update status.

  • hemipw54

    Unlock the Bootloader on all devices and as a community we the users will keep everything up to date ourselves .

  • Kaostheory

    If apple made their Iphone to run android, I’d like to see how fast and how many of their phones would receive the upgrades. Android is way ahead of ios in functionality. Ios5 still looks the same as previous versions. And although SE hasn’t done well in the states, due to carriers, why isn’t it on the chart?

  • Robert Manser

    Wow Lol arguing over a fucking update, you guys rock. I want to be your friend (NOT) Why fight over stupid bullshit that phandroid post, they must get a kick outta watching their subscribers fight, well let me say this time to delete my phandroid acct and the app because they post shit that causes to much fighting when we all should work together on getting these companies to update our phones, which we are rightfully entitled to.

  • AndroidShiz

    The only thing that kept me from a Nexus phone was its specs always being so so compared to something right around the corner, and mostly I’m a 4.3″screen junky. 3.7 & 4″ screens weren’t feeding my gaming, watching media, and web browsing needs. Now that the new Nexus has been brought up to speed, I’m never going back, especially since I always cover the stock UI from some launcher in the market anyway. Changing the look won’t be the case for me with the new Nexus though, at least not for a long while I’m sure cause it looks just right.

  • MMB

    I’m not a big fan of IOS. But good job on their behalf and Android should improve the updates.

    • AndroidShiz

      You mean the manufactures should improve on their ugly bloated UI updates. Plain Android has been pretty consistent with timely updates.

  • Fourthletter58

    This is completely flawed, Apple put out an iOS update once a year, Google has been flying at about three a year, also the oldest iPhone in the upgrade cycle still misses a lot of extra features the newer phones get.

  • Branden Dummett

    I’m no expert on hardware and software. But here’s my two cents. These oems make way to many phones with such varying internals and different versions of their skins, which is way too integrated into the android os. I think manufactures should make their phones basically the same internally with the same skin for a specific period of time(I think six months) and differentiate them on design and a few features that will not slow down the update process. They could then update their phones a lot quicker and a lot easier and actually update multiple phones in one shot.

  • Sgs Captivate

    Why does anyone even wait for “updates”? Read, root, then run whatever you like. Its the beauty of the Android Open Source Project. (AOSP)

  • Kevin Taddeo

    2 out of 3 times per year a man uses stats that are made up 100% of a fraction of the time

  • Nudo

    this is the price of having choices. fact.

  • JoshUng

    There’s some good points, and some really horrible ones. He tries saying Android tries “nickle and diming you” by charging $199.99 while Apple charges $199 flat. Which is dumb, that’s an old sales trick (by both companies) by making you think “under $200″,

  • J. Patrick Smith

    This is all based on a fallacious argument. Just because a new version of the OS is released does NOT mean that it is in the end-user’s best interest that their device be upgraded to the new version.

    Prior to jumping to Android I used an Apple iPhone 3G. The last six to nine months I was using the device were frustrating. Apple sent an update for the OS that made my iPhone practically unusable. Many apps would not run at all while others would crash due to tasking the older phone’s system resources. I eventually jailbroke the phone and was able to restore some functionality by manually managing the system resources myself.

    Frankly, I would rather be stuck on a phone running smoothly on Eclair than running Ice Creme Sandwich on the same phone and constantly have to fight have system issues. It can obviously be frustrating to be stuck in a contract with a device that is unable to run the latest software released in the market or partake of the lasted OS’s features but it would be MORE frustrating to be stuck on contract with a phone that is simply too underpowered to seamlessly deliver those features or run those applications without having to force close them when they stop responding.

    The manufacturers should be SALUTED for not forcing updates on hardware that cannot provide the end user with the experience that they would expect from an official software release from the carrier and the manufacturer. Those users who absolutely have to have the latest features can always turn to rooting their phones and using 3rd party ROMs. The users who are willing to take those extra steps are the very same users who possess the technical acumen to deal with whatever issues they might experience without denigrating the hardware or the OS.

    Android phone manufacturers should spend their efforts in providing updates that improve performance and stability. If those updates also provide new features that’s GREAT but updates for the sake of new features alone should never be the focus if those updates have the potential to affect performance. Remember; if you purchased a phone running Froyo then THAT is what YOU purchased. You DID NOT purchase a phone with the later features found in Gingerbread. You should be happy with what you actually purchased instead of constantly berating Google, your service provider and the phone manufacturer for not providing you with an update to a version of the software that you were never promised and that could actually make your end-user experience worse.

    I’m grateful for the updates that I have received to my phone since it was first purchased but I in no way expect or demand the manufacturer update my phone to ICS when it is released. If that update does come my way then BRAVO to my phone’s manufacturer and my service provider. If on the other hand they make the decision to keep my phone on a software release that maintains performance and stability then BRAVO to them for not sacrificing my phone’s usability in the name of “customer service.”


  • Jei Arc

    here is a little chart i have made it has a little more general info although of course Android still can be seen in a bad light. By no means is complete but it also shows a few things that many may not know about the various versions of the IPhone i could not upload it here so i load it to my G+. It is a more broader view specially for the iPhones, and sadly Android does look bad :(.

  • Rob

    My G1 officially stopped at 1.6, but I upgraded it to 2.1 *of my own choice* on a ROM optimized specifically for the hardware.

    Ask iPhone 3G users how they felt about the software updates they got. Most of them thought it made their phone slower and less useable and the poor performance was a prime reason to have to buy a new phone.

    Choice to load one of a dozen excellent ROMs of various versions and features. I love it. I could update my Infuse to Gingerbread right now if I wanted to. I’m considering my options rather than being forced onto some OS that ruins my phone.

  • James Devenberg

    The problem with your “solution” of not buying cheap phones is that some of the phones that suffer from this are not cheap. The MyTouch 3G (which ran vanilla android and was high spec’d when it launched) Droid and Droid Incredible were all high end phones when released and stopped receiving support before the purchaser would have been upgrade eligible. The Incredible is the least guilty as it was supported for 18 months, which I think is adequate. The Droid and MyTouch 3G got barely over a year of support. If they are going to lock you into a 2 year contract, they should support your phone at least 18 months, so you are only behind for 6 months, when you should be thinking of an upgrade anyway.

    • CaffinatedOne

      It seems that a common misconception here is that support != OS version updates. If Moto isn’t providing fixes for their devices, then they’re not providing support. If they’re providing fixes, but not OS version updates, then they’re providing support, but not new features. If they’re providing OS version updates, then they’re providing support with new features. That’s nice, but it’s not the only way to go about it.

  • Andrew Ross
  • Dima Sokolovskyy

    So you guys are talking about features that the Nexus phones are getting with software updates – what were the features that were added between 2.0 and 2.3? Those releases are about a year and a half apart. We are talking about all this “stuff” Google is adding to Android, but my Droid hasn’t seen a single new feature since I got it a week after release. In fact, most of the changes have been really irritating (like the impossibility to mute everything AND turn off vibrate with the volume down key).

  • Tracy Ellis

    @gohaus galaxy nexus it buddy’s half-sister makes $86 hourly on the internet. She has been without a job for 8 months but last month her income was $7988 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read this site

  • Farids

    Apple does not make their phones with ultra powerful hardware like Android “Super Phones”. So, iPhone 3G can’t run a lot of features of ios4 and iOS 5. With Android on the other hand, we have tens (may be even hundreds, when you consider all manufacturers) of phones that are powerful enough to run all the goodies of at least 5 updates and most features of another 3 versions. The problem is: manufacturers have to pay their developers money to make the new update compatible with each phone model and offer the update (for hundreds of Android phones) free. That’s loss of revenue and why the manufacturers don’t do it. Putting down Apple, does not cover the fact that I have an Android superphone and can hopefully get one Official update if I’m lucky. At some point Android fans have to forget putting down Apple (may give you satisfaction, but still leaves your phone with an old Android version) and start looking at the problems with their platform, start pushing the manufacturers to look after their paying and loyal customers.

  • Greg M. Johnson

    EVERY freaking Android device? My MyTouch3G cannot do facebook or twitter, let alone anything interesting, over data.  I was holding onto it until I could get a flaming Samsung device.

    The phandroid who defends Android in spite of this chart is like the Michelle Bachmann fan who defends Michelle’s record saying that God and liberty are good things. Well, they are good things, as WAS the original ideal of Android.