Google Updates Their Chart To Show The State Of Fragmentation


The biggest problem we can see with Android itself in the near future (and, in some cases, now) is fragmentation. Google’s rapid development and update schedule makes it hard for manufacturers – especially those who’ve developed their own custom Android skin and framework – to keep up.

While they continue to hammer away at the issue which they’re hoping gets closer and closer to being solved with Flan and Gingerbread, Google decided to give us a little update on the state of the matter. Looking at the deliciously-green pie chart, there’s still a pretty evenly-balanced amount of devices with different firmwares sitting out there. 2.1 adoption has risen, 1.6 usage has fallen, and it looks like 2.0.1 is all but dying (while 1.1, of course, is completely dead).


There are still a huge number of 1.5 handsets out there, though, that make up for a good amount of users. It’s going to take one hell of a finish to bring most people up to the latest and greatest version of Android if these numbers are any indication of overall platform usage (it should be noted that this data was taken during the 2 weeks ending April 12th, 2010 and only accounts for phones that have accessed the Android market during that time).

So there you have it. I find it hard to imagine there could be people out there who don’t access the market at least once in a 2 week period – especially considering the need to update apps over time – so it’s my assumption that this is the most reliable data that we can get and that Google can provide.

[Source: Android Developers Platform Versions]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Why not collect data for a month or so?

  2. It is mostly the manufacturers’ fault that people stay behind, really. The HTC Hero, for instance, still only has 1.5 (despite HTC announcing that it’ll release a 2.x update in the first quarter of 2010) official ROMs.

    Personally, I’d love to see contracts between Google and Android phone manufacturers forcing the latter to release updates in a timely manner so that no phones are more than 2 major releases behind schedule.

  3. HTC Hero – massively popular phone, is 1.5 – due soon for a 2.1 update – that’ll change things.

    Lots of G1 and Magic users out there too – currently stuck on 1.6; due 2.01 update.

    Chart is a bit useless.

  4. 1.5 BAD. 1.6 and up GOOD. Granted it would be nice to have everything at 2.x but at least with 1.6 you can use 99% of the apps out there.

  5. @James the chart is mainly intended for developers so they can get a better idea of the platforms they should be targeting for their apps. Here, it gets side use. And it’s not enough to say “Hero SHOULD be getting this, Magic/Dream SHOULD be getting that”. The fact of the matter is: they don’t have it right this moment and there’s no indication (Except the Hero, but even talk about a 2.0.1 update for those have dissolved) that they will be getting it any time soon – if at all.

  6. Been using a Hero for 6 months and had no idea how many apps i was missing until my wife’s X10 arrived running 1.6.
    Come on HTC we are fast approaching the end of Q1 and still no date announced !

  7. The next update for Google is Froyo, not Flan.

  8. I still find it amazing manufacturers are shipping units with 1.6, let alone all the devices coming out with 1.5.

  9. Hero 2.1 update is supposed to be out around about now. I’m on Orange apparently it’ll be pushed out on Friday! Just in time for my next contract payment :P

    Finally I’ll be on par with other Android users, and enjoying all the new features!

  10. Very interesting chart. Android definitely needs to get updates out earlier – the Hero for example, I wonder how much of the 1.5 slice it makes up. Hopefully this is a teething problem and HTC (and others) will be on the ball faster in future. There’s no explaining the X10 shipping with 1.6, that’s just silly. How quickly it gets an update will determine the chances of me ever buying a Sony Android phone.

    I went from a 1.5 device to a 2.1 device on the 12th so I might be there twice.

    I thought the Droid was the dominant Android device so Off expected 2.0 and newer to have a larger share.

  11. @Quentyn if I was developing an app, and say for example it’s 2-3 months in the pipe line, and I had to decide if I was going to support 1.5… and found that most 1.5 users were HTC hero users which would mostly be on 2.1 in the next couple of weeks……

    But I do see what you mean, it is interesting to see the current state of the market, and it will be really good once google address the fragmentation problem.

  12. The biggest problem is that companies are still coming out with new phones that are running 1.X, like the Backflip and devour from Motorola that just came out recently.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if they were running 1.6, but 1.5 is fairly different in terms of development. The biggest issue I have run into is that 1.5 API doesn’t support multi-tasking while 1.6 and up do. So developers often have to decide whether to implement cooler or easier to use features with multi-touch and miss out on a large segment of the market, or don’t use multi-touch and hit everyone.

    The fragmentation issue isn’t that big of a problem and I am confident that Google will get it straightened out fairly quickly.

  13. the funny thing is 1.5 still has the biggest piece on the chart. its just not Hero thats stuck with the aged 1.5 its Moto blur users as well my cliq still runs 1.5. Altough there suppose to be and update to 2.1 in 2nd quater there is a huge amount of apps that ive simply missed out on. From the new google maps to google buzz its really sad. Also another reason why the next device i choose will have just plain vanilla android. The Sense and Blur interface looks really nice til and update rolls out then were stuck waiting until the devs update there interface and push it out.

  14. Why would a developer waste time making the app for 1.5 if they know most of these handsets are going to be upgraded soon, or in the next 6 months?

  15. Thats a hard question when your only income could be from the revenue you get from making apps. Will you want money now? Or 6 months when everything upgrades?

  16. Just horrible for Android.

    38% of Android owners using 1.5 is actually HIGHER than it was during their last update in January (from memory, it was right at 30%).

    This is very bad news for developers. As per our research at FADE LLC, users that are on 1.5 purchase 30-40% fewer apps than their 1.6 or above counterparts.

    However, at the same time, it is also good news – it means there is a large portion of Android owners that are under-utilized in terms of their marketplace experience. Once these users upgrade, the marketplace should jump in terms of overall revenue and revenue per user.

    I hope that they (the manufacturers) get their act together. Currently, we have the Hero, Backflip, Cliq, Behold 2, Galaxy, and Moment running 1.5….That is a pretty wide range of popular devices running poorly-converting marketplaces.

    Maybe Google needs to incentivize manufacturer adoption of updates, or work with the manufacturers to update their phones quicker. Either way, its bad news for Google until more phones run on 1.6 or greater.

  17. “The biggest issue I have run into is that 1.5 API doesn’t support multi-tasking while 1.6 and up do.”

    What in the world are you talking about?

    There is not that much added in 1.6 compared to 1.5 for app developers. The big one is the support for new screens, and it is quite easy to develop an app against 1.6 so you can have images and layouts to support the different screens, while still creating an app that will work perfectly well on 1.5.

  18. On most of the mobile platforms, fragmentation is a big issue. Google Android is a new platform and it was expected that it would not suffer from fragmentation issues. Developers face serious challenges when resolving fragmentation issues. Many a times, designing user interface for different devices becomes a big challenge. I have posted my thoughts on issues in designing user interface for a multitude of devices at

  19. Google should actually go done the microsft route for example WP7 phones, and ban skins so all phones can be updated without the manufactures having to make changes to the skins. This would keep all well specced phones at a consistent OS and over time stop updates for phones which cannot support this hihger version eg G1. or reduce the features in the update as apple is oding with iphone 2g and 3g for os4 update.

    We all love skins but they are one of the sole causes of fragmentation. For example the reason x10 will not be updated until september is the result of its skin and htc sense has delayed 2.1 to heros. Android does not look crap anymore like back in the 1.1 days it actually looks quite good for example the nexus one is nearly the best android phone and it does run the plain skin itself. I fgoogle do more phones like this and limit the manufactures android would be a whole lot better in the long term.

  20. Its all good” I enjoy my g1 …I can still do so manythings on my g1 its incredible” { patience is a virtual }..just 3months ago bought the Cliq phone ” supposelly and update also soon” all I know is { $$$ } money wise all these new droids cost MORE MONEY never lower…but one thing I can’t complaint is that Droid Developers Have started great” G1″ had it for 2 long yrs and still love ANDROID.{ what and update ?? } sounds tempting ” if I can wait?? That’s another story..DROID#1Horray!!

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