Oct, 28 2011

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 Stop buying cheap, low-end Android devices that can barely run the outdated OS they’re being shipped with.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]