How Fragmented is Android ?


Android is deeply deeply fragmented.

Android Fragmentation - eggonomy.com

Android brags it has 75% market share. This is true. But let’s drill down a bit …

  • Android has 75% market share.
  • Pie has 11.26% of total Android market share.
  • Samsung has 5.0% of total Pie market share.
  • The Samsung Pie 5.0% is further split between 12 or so different device phone models.

    I think you get the drift.

    My guesstimates ... Android has about ...

    • 12 OS versions,
    • 12 main device manufacturers, and
    • 12 handset models on average per manufacturer.

    So the Android ecosystem is split between at least 1,728 combinations of OS - Brand - Device Model (Data). The majority of these devices do not get any updates from Android. Yet Google collects vast amounts of data from these devices that it uses for targeted ad placement.

    Google acknowledges this problem with the launch of Android One. But given that every device manufacturer wants their own flavor of Android, it’s unlikely this fragmentation will stop any time soon.

    This is a problem only time can fix … when all the old devices end up in the landfill and their owners (hopefully) buy a new Android device which offers latest updates. Probably another 5 years.

    By contrast iOS 12.X has about 80.5% market share. The vast majority of iPhone users update to the latest version quite fast and flawlessly.

    My POV is ... Apple leads the Mobile OS market share ... by a huge margin. 

    Data Analysis & Source Data: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ruifcPL9CFGabxBftZAlEzdv0JP0kM99/view?usp=sharing

    Follow the discussion on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20015968


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    • Hi.
      You’re following the usual iFan red herring and comparing iOS versions and Android versions as if “OS version” meant the same thing on iOS and Android. It doesn’t:
      1- iOS versions include everything: core OS features (notifications…), Apple cloud features (storage…), ecosystem features (Pay, Fit…), OS tools (file manager..), 1st-party apps (docs, sheets, browser…) , security..
      2- Android versions includes none of that, except some core OS features. The rest (1-st party apps, OS tools, ecosystem features, cloud…) is updated independently via the PlayStore, and relies not on the core OS version but on Google Play Services. Ditto security patches, which are released independently.
      3- Apple calls “iOS x” different version of the OS that lack features depending on the device they run own, so Apple calling something “iOS x” doesn’ tmean it’s not fragmented too.
      4- OS version doesn’t matter a lot on Android, while on iOS it means everything. My 2011 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (and 4.1 IIRC) recently dies, I was still using it daily and it still ran all the latest apps (except MS Office) in spite of its very old OS. An iPad with such an old OD would also have an old version of Safari, Mail, miss most new features…
      5- If there’s a bug in Apple Music, you need a whole new OS version to fix it. In Android, just an app update from the store.
      6- If apple releases a new features (say Apple Pay), you need a new OS version to get it. In Android ? Just an simple new app, not an OS update.

      So basically you’re making a strong statement about rather irrelevant info w/o any context, mostly demonstrating you’re very partisan and ignorant.

    • For whom is this a problem? As an individual Android user (since I dumped the rapacious Apple ecosystem a few years back), I’d argue that it doesn’t affect me at all. If I was a developer, I suppose it might cause some issues, but no one is forcing anyone to support the platform. Looking at the Play store, it seems many developers are handling the fragmentation just fine.

      Kent Geek
    • Android has market share of 80.5% is because in country like India where people change their smartphone in 4-5 years, and don’t upgrade OS because it would slow the phone. Compare to US, people change their phone in a year or as soon as new Pixel or iPhone launches. If you think everyone should update their OS to latest then you should think critically without being biased on any platform.


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