Apple highlights Android’s already-bad-and-getting-worse fragmentation problem

“From the famous ‘Redmond, start your photocopiers’ jibe towards Microsoft a decade ago to the dismissal of the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, as ‘a dairy product,’ Apple always enjoys teasing its rivals during a keynote presentation,” Shane Richmond reports for The Telegraph.

“Apple’s keynote didn’t talk about stock prices and market caps. The emphasis is on the success of the app store and the $5bn that Apple has paid out to developers. Once you consider that Apple has taken its 30 per cent before that, you can see just how lucrative the app store has become,” Richmond reports. “[And, Apple] is way ahead when it comes to getting the bulk of its users on the latest version of the operating system.”

“In December last year, Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, said that developers would be writing for Android first in six months time. With the deadline passed, Schmidt’s prediction hasn’t happened and one reason is the fragmentation of Android,” Richmond reports. “According to Google’s own numbers, just seven per cent of Android users are on the latest version, compared with 80 per cent of iOS users, over roughly the same period of time… It’s a problem for the Android ecosystem and it gives Apple an advantage that it is happy to shout about. Ordinary users don’t much care about which version of an operating system they are on until they realise that the latest hot app doesn’t work on their phone.”

Richmond reports, “When the doors open for next year’s keynote, Apple is likely to have most of its users on iOS 6 and will be preparing to announce its new features. Google, meanwhile, is likely to still have just a small minority of Android users able to enjoy the cutting edge. And that’s the real difference between the two operating systems.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Really, just how much can the small minority of Android up-to-date settlers “enjoy the cutting edge” of an inferior, derivative, fragmented iOS wannabe?

Once upon a time, we thought of Google as a vibrant, innovative, fun company with superior products. Now we, and many others, regard them as derivative, petty, wannabe followers peddling inferior wares.

Was it worth it, Google?

Related articles:
Forrester analyst: Apple’s developer tour de force strengthens already-powerful software, hardware, and ecosystem – June 12, 2012
Apple goes thermonuclear on Google with new releases – June 11, 2012
Apple’s iOS over 4 times more valuable to developers than Android – June 7, 2012
Fragmandroid: Google Android fragmentation visualized – May 17, 2012


    1. Or

      I double check occasionally on a search phrase in parenthesis and find blekko returns 10+ times fewer hits than Google.

      Google is just promiscuous. They figure the more hits they list the better they are and I feel just the opposite.

  1. What we are seeing is just how much of a visionary Steve really was. He knew damn well that if Apple did not have complete control over the device: if he let carriers play any role in the user experience, that the kind of fragmentation we see in the Android world would have occurred with the iPhone. The seeds for Apple’s success and Android’s failure were planted when Job decided to retain complete control and Google chose not to.

    1. Going vertical forces a company to narrow outside influences at every turn.

      Schick and Gillette are but one example of vertical markets who compete in cheap plastic and surgical steel. Both make their own ingredients, so selling a 10-cent razor for five-dollars has to be extremely profitable, but no one else is going to bring in another vertical razor blade company to market and expect to make any money, unless of course they Think Different!

      Apple’s business model is vertical, so what choice did SJ have but to remove any and all potential conflicts created by third-parties? As time goes by, verticals need less and less input from outsiders.

      Wall Gardens are great if they have a gate.

  2. With the new ads across the bottom of the page MDN is now almost unreadable.

    I now use the RSS feed here to get the headlines and go to other sites for the news. Been a long time reader here as well, its too bad but the ads are now just too much for me.


    1. Hear, hear! This site has more stickers than a discount Windas PC. Pity there isn’t an iOS version of AdBlock (rightly listed by Apple as a ‘Productivity’ extension).

  3. Android fragmentation is a natural consequence of a fundamental problem that is common with literally all phone platforms except iOS. Apple has so far been able to remain the ONLY handset maker that has consistently treated carriers as dumb pipes and nothing more. Not one single carrier is allowed to brand the iPhone with their own logo, control ANY element of the device (what apps are installed, or not installed, what features are enabled or disabled, which updates are allowed/distributed and when, etc). Apple is the only maker that completely controls the device regardless of carrier. This is why when you buy an Android device, it will be preloaded with crapware, and the version of OS that comes with it will remain there for the life of the device. There will never be any security updates, system updates, new features, NOTHING. You’re stuck, just like the feature phone you had before.

    1. The thing is that most consumers don’t care about fragmentation or out-of-date OSes as long as they can buy an inexpensive product. That’s why Android smartphones will continue to outsell the iPhone. That plus so many stores and carriers constantly pushing Android smartphones because their shelves are filled with what seems like hundreds of various model Android smartphones. It’s frightening to see the array of Android smartphones. Spend one week looking at Engadget and it’s like at least one new Android smartphone being introduced daily. That’s a lot of smartphones for Apple to combat with basically only one new smartphone every year.

      1. The thing is that most consumers don’t care about fragmentation or out-of-date OSes as long as they can buy an inexpensive product.

        I couldn’t disagree more.

        Especially the part where you exclude yourself from that description. YOU’RE A CONSUMER laughing boy and YOU care about fragmentation and out-of-date OSes, as are “most consumers” who buy Apple products.

        Since the Android platform’s consensus is puny compared to Apple’s, I would think it’s just a small percentage of consumers who use Android, who don’t care about such things.

        All of the 7-percenters of ICS care about fragmentation and out-of-date OSes and I’m sure they number into the tens-of-millions so, in all likelihood the very consumers you were talking about is YOU! You don’t care about Android’s fragmentation or out-of-date OSes and you do like inexpensive products, we all do.

        The point is, you are too invested in all of this. It’s like you’re keeping score, or something. Why do you care about Android so much?


      2. Who cares if Android outsells iPhone? Do you think BMW is concerned that Ford or Hyundai shifts more cars than they do? It’s about having a solid share of the market sure, but a profitable share is what it’s really about. The good thing about Android is that it stops the anti-trust stuff that would develop if iPhone was to get 95% or more of the market. Besides, the only people I EVER see with Androids are those who are (how to put this delicately), “financially challenged”. These are not the customers Apple wants.

  4. Apple is now selling iPhone 3GS for some $450 ($0 upfront, the rest via subsidy over two years with contract). This model is three years old!!! It runs the latest iOS today, and will support the latest iOS for another year and a half (at least, assuming iOS 7 arrives in the fall of 2013, and it excludes 3GS). If you compare this with Android phones of today that cost $450, many of them come with 2.3 (Gingerbread), which came out almost 20 months ago, and is two versions behind the latest (Honeycomb, ICS). And these phones will likely NEVER be updated to any newer system; not the ones already out there, and definitely NOT those coming this year, or the next. In fact, there are many cheaper Androids ($250 or less) that don’t even have 2.3, but instead come with ‘FroYo’ (2.2), which came out over two years ago! And these are not some refurbs; these are brand new, current models.

    Android is a smartphone platform for the third world. Those who can only afford $100 or so for a phone, and would like to have a capacitive touchscreen, camera, WiFi, 3G and apps. They are more than willing to suffer all the shortcomings of the platform. They are also the primary market segment that is responsible for Android’s rapid growth. This is clearly not the part of the market Apple will ever be interested in servicing.

    1. Hmm… I think it’s less like Android is for the third world, and more like Android is produced from the third world.

      Or at least a lot of the handsets are. New models shipping with an OS that’s outdated by more than two years is just insane. But inevitable, considering Android’s wonderful “open”-ness which is totally not biting Google in the ass at all.

      1. New models shipping with an OS that’s outdated by more than two years is just insane.

        And yet, that’s the way the phone business has been conducted by the carriers for years.

        Apple didn’t just bring a phone to market, they changed the business and there are lessons to be learned.

  5. I can visualize a resurrection of the I’m a Mac/I’m a PC ads. Except this time it will be:

    I’m an iPhone/I’m an Android

    The opportunities to compare the two are endless.

  6. MDN sez: Once upon a time, we thought of Google as a vibrant, innovative, fun company with superior products.

    This is what happens when a company steps outside its zone of expertise. They go to hell. Google is incompetent at operating systems and social media. Equally, Apple is incompetent at search engines and social media. Android is a POS and so is Google +. Spotlight is a POS and so is Ping.

    Stick to what you know and what you can innovate! Being everyone to everybody makes you nobody to anyone.

    Where Google is worse in this respect is that they make their blunders right out in full public view. Whereas Apple keep their blunders in-house and save their brilliant stuff for full public view. You’re not going to see Apple push ads about Spotlight or Ping.

    Get back to your nature Google. Stop the laughter and derision. 😆

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