Oct 21, 2013 01:53 PM EDT
It has long since been a complaint about Android that the software is fragmented amongst users. Due to hardware restrictions, manufacturers' skins, and carriers' testing and editing, most people didn't have the latest version of Android. Most Android doubters believed this would be the death of the OS, since IOS has a 95 percent adoption rate, and even windows is strict with the timeliness of their mobile updates. However, these times they are a-changing, and even in the past nine months Google has completely turned around and started sending out updates to more devices and shifting the ratio of software versions in Android smartphones and tablets everywhere.
In the past nine months, Gingerbread dropped from 48 percent to 28 percent with Ice Cream Sandwich dropping from 29 percent to 20 percent. Jelly Bean grew from 10 percent to 49 percent, which marks the first time in a long time that the latest Google software has been running on almost half of all Android devices. Of course Jelly Bean consists of 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, the oldest of which was released in mid-2012, so that figure is not nearly as exciting as it sounds. Nevertheless, Google is making progress towards a future of most devices running the latest version of the mobile OS. The only things holding them back are cheap prepaid phones sold in emerging markets with hardware limitations, and the occasional alterations done by manufacturers and carriers -- although Samsung and HTC are making strides towards getting Jelly Bean 4.3 out to their flagships by the end of this month.
Another important part of the story is the rumor that Android Kitkat will be able to function on devices with as little as 512 RAM. If true, the next iteration of Android will open doors for older devices to be able to access the newest version of Android, effectively defeating fragmentation for now -- or at least fighting it off for a while.
As far as fragmentation goes, we're anything but worried. Maybe at Android’s worst it was a problem (Jelly Bean didn’t break 10 percent until over a year and a half after its release), but now the future looks bright for our favorite operating system.
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