Android may have made impressive improvements for the past two years, but still half of its users are not seeing those enhancements. That’s because 50.8 percent of Android devices are still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Android Mobile OS: From Gingerbread to Jelly Bean
Google released Android 2.3 on December 6, 2010, but data from the search engine giant’s developer website indicates that the two-year-old mobile operating system still has wider distribution compared to other Android versions.
On the other hand, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich appears on 27.5 percent of mobile devices, while Android 4.1 and 4.2 Jelly Bean runs on 5.9 percent and 0.8 of handset respectively.
For the past two years, Android has become a much better and different mobile OS. Ice Cream Sandwich introduced the hardware acceleration, which enables smoother navigation. It also features “Holo”, a new visual style that gives a sleeker user interface and built-in apps.
Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean also added plenty of useful features such as spell-checker, improved copy-and-paste, real-time voice dictation, an overhauled voice search app and virtual assistant called Google Now.
Lack of Support for Older Android Versions
Despite providing useful features, not every Android phone users receive update. That’s because phone makers and wireless carriers tend to neglect old Android phones before long. High-end Android phones are also lucky if they more than one major upgrade during its lifetime.
However, there are few reasons why phone manufacturers are having a hard time delivering upgrades on their mobile devices. One, the difference between Google Nexus and other Android phone requires extra coding. Second, phone makers tend to incorporate their custom user interface onto their hardware, and it is integrated with any new Android version.
Lastly, the testing process required by wireless carriers would mean additional time, effort and resources. As a result, some older phones are left behind.
Initiatives to Improve Android Fragmentation Problems
Although latest Android versions are not available for legacy mobile phones, Google has tried to launch a number of initiatives to improve the software’s fragmentation problem. Last year, the search engine announced “Android Upgrade Alliance”, wherein the members promised to keep their phones updated for 18 months. However, that effort eventually fell apart.
This year, though, Google announced a “platform development kit”, which is meant to assist phone makers with the upgrade process. But whether this effort is making any difference or not remains to be seen.