Assaf has recently sent me a link to a visual chart describing Android fragmentation problem.
While there are tons of articles about this topic, and Google is constantly trying to improve the situation, it's clear that the problem is not heading towards a resolution. Since even superphones such as Nexus One are not getting the latest Ice Cream Sandwich update, it now seems like even developers using the official Google Phone are not fragmentation-proof any longer.
The editor of this graphical chart is Michael DeGusta and the original article can be found in here: Android Fragmentation Chart. The models are not the newest ones since he wanted to have enough time to examine them.
Here come some more painful observations:
- 11 of 18 Android smartphones stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
- 7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
- 10 of 18 Android phones were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
- 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
Visit the original article for more details.
If you are following this site, you probably know I do not consider myself to be an Android fan. The opposite is probably closer to the truth. Still, I wonder if common people really matter about having the latest OS updates. Did BlackBerry owners rush over to upgrade the OS every time something new came up? I don't think so. In addition, if I'm getting a laptop with Windows 7, will it give me Windows 8 for free? Will Windows 8 run on it without any issues? I'm not sure.
The thing with Android is that people expect it to be perfect, expect it to have as many apps as the iPhone, expect it to have better usability than all other smartphones, expect everything to come over the air and expect it to be free as well. With so many vendors, so many changes, and so little standardization – it's simply impossible.
My bottom line? Android has a lot of advantages, but some issues as well: too many customizations end up causing problems – this is the case for every technology – software, hardware, consumers, business. Everywhere. So it's much better to go with the big players, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, each has enough experience with Android by now, and it will probably mean better backward compatibility and devices support in the future.