Android users unlikely (and often unable) to upgrade their operating systems

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Unlike the rapidly deployed updates Apple posts for the iPhone OS through iTunes, Android users are unlikely (and often unable) to apply the latest updates to their phones, according to new information published by Google and its AdMob subsidiary,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

“As is the case with most other alternative smartphone platforms, Android users appear to often remain stuck with the firmware version their phone shipped with originally,” McLean reports. “This is primarily due to fragmentation problems that require the hardware maker, software platform vendor, and the mobile provider to work together to create and deliver custom updates for each model.”

McLean reports, “According to Android OS ad traffic figures published by AdMob, there was an initial migration from Android 1.5 ‘Cupcake’ to 1.6 ‘Donut’ last fall, followed by another shift to Android 2.x ‘Eclair’ during the holiday season. But rather than being the result of user’s software upgrade cycles, it appears that the shifts were largely the result of new hardware being sold with the new version already installed on it… Many Android phone models do not get the latest operating system updates for months after the official update is completed, due to delays by the provider or hardware maker, either of which may want or need to address layers of customization they’ve made to the generic Android distribution.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dale S.,” “Wandering Joe,” “James W.,” and “Ottawa Mark” for the heads up.]


  1. This is no different than the existing “feature” (i.e. dumb-)phones. If you have a Sony-Ericsson, you may be surprised to find out that during the (ever so short) life cycle of your handset (approximately two years), there may be three or four firmware updates for your handset. There is absolutely no way for you to discover this, though, unless you actually seek it out. I have done this to three different Sony-Ericsson phone models, and in every case, the fixes were marginal (for example, they fixed the ability to properly display some unicode characters, such as čćđžš).

    There is a fundamental difference between anything Apple and everything else: the ‘Just Works’ message is the driving philosophy and it reflects in everything Apple ships. Across the board. And that’s why practically ALL iPhone owners run the most recent system software available for their handset, and why practically ALL Android phone owners are stuck on the original, shipping version of their Android phone, almost two years later.

  2. That’s why cell phone manufacturers and cell companies love Android…customers have to buy new phones to get new features, meaning more money in the big guys’ pockets.

  3. When anyone and everyone can change the OS, moving to a new release blows away those changes. Look at all the alerts you get every time Firefox is updated; every plugin needs updated. Central control wins in this case.
    Jailbreakers and open sourcers remember the reality. For you “freedom’s just another word for nothing else to lose;” it gains you very very little and only shortterm wins.

  4. Android is already so far ahead of Apple there isn’t a need to upgrade. When Apple debuts the new iPhone OS this summer it’s still going to be behind the Droid OS in the Incredible. Even sadder, it won’t have all the features I have with my jailbroken iPhone. Stevie is making the same mistake he’s made in the past with the Apple II and Mac – build a superior product and sit on it and only make tiny improvements (or none at all) while your competition eats your lunch. Prediction: in five years the iPhone will have less than 10% market share.

  5. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> Well…at least they can change out their battery…oh, wait, that doesn’t help does it. Looks like they opened a whole can of “don’t”.

  6. Bubba,
    I know you are just trying to defend Apple on the rumor of impending DOJ investigation. Since most Android OS cannot be upgraded, effectively you cannot write one app unaltered that can run on all Android platforms, let alone all mobile OS’s.

  7. Bubba
    Have to agree, looks like this who Macintosh thing is a failure. I don’t know how they can stay in business with such paltry sales. And I hear they will soon run out of money, they have less than $41 billion left. I actually pity the poor Apple employees and stockholders. Don’t you?

  8. @ Bubba
    “Android is already so far ahead of Apple there isn’t a need to upgrade.”

    Really? Try to do a simple “Copy & Paste” of some text in one of your e-mails from your G-Mail account on your “advanced” Android phone. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smile” style=”border:0;” />

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