Android is more fragmented than ever

“There is only one Apple,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “Nearly 1,300 companies make Android devices.”

“One striking finding in this year’s report is the increased fragmentation of manufacturers,” P.E.D. reports, “with over 1,000 manufacturers seen this year that were not seen three years ago in OpenSignal’s first survey.”

How fragmented has Android become?
• 24,093: Distinct Android devices seen this year [vs. 18,796 last year]
• 682,000; Devices surveyed for this report
• 37.8%: Samsung’s share of those devices
• 1,294: Device manufacturers seen this year

Android device fragmentation – August 2015

Android device fragmentation - August 2015
Source: OpenSignal

iOS vs. Android – August 2015

iOS vs. Android fragmentation - August 2015
Source: OpenSignal

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Android is a festering morass of fragmentation.

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, privacy-destroying, personal-data-hungry wannabe followers who peddle inferior, insecure knockoffs.

Was it worth it, Google?

Apple’s iPhone owns 92% of smartphone industry’s profits – July 13, 2015

Rampant security flaws and fragmentation forces company to ban Android phones and tablets – March 18, 2015
Ex-Google boss says Android fragmentation drove him to iOS – July 15, 2012

Apple iPhone shipments show impressive growth as Samsung falls – July 30, 2015
Samsung offers downbeat outlook for year ahead of new Apple iPhones – July 30, 2015
Apple’s indomitable iPhone 6/Plus sales unfazed by Samsung’s anemic Galaxy S6/Edge – June 2, 2015
iPhone 6, killer: Beleaguered Samsung’s Galaxy S6 sales are a total disaster – May 22, 2015
Beleaguered Samsung reports 30 percent decline in operating profit – April 28, 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 phones suffer weaker than expected sales in South Korea homeland – April 22, 2015
15 percent of Samsung Electronics execs quit amid profit slump – April 2, 2015
Significant Android to iPhone switching weakens market for Samsung Galaxy S6 – March 24, 2015
Apple iPhone takes smartphone market share from Android around the world – March 4, 2015
Poor man’s iPhone: Android on the decline – February 26, 2015
Study: iPhone users are smarter and richer than those who settle for Android phones – January 22, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. Android Fragmentation now means that literally millions of Android devices are stuck forever with simple-to-enact exploits that can either bomb their phone or PWN it.

    It never was just about hating on Android. It was always about Android security being AWFUL. Thank Google and the various phone providers who made it impossible to update their phones with security patches. That’s not going to change. How does Apple’s walled garden look now?

    1. M$ Swiss Cheese OS and Android Swiss Cheese OS…. probably done on purpose.

      All the programmers/engineers working on these OS’s can’t plug them holes? C’mon…..

      1. Many of the “holes” have been plugged but the end-user is at the malevolent mercy of the telcos and OEMs as far as having access to the “plugs.”

        And the same issue applies to new “features” some of which are quite excellent–except the vast majority of end users will never see them.

        1. That’s partially true. Google’s not some tiny company. They could tell the telcos and OEMs that they need to make it easy for people to upgrade, but that’s not what they care about. User data is what they care about.

  2. Tell me again why one manufacturer producing a SIII, S4, S5 etc is considered “fragmented.” Re-presenting OpenSignal’s graphic as such is at best disingenuous. How many manufacturers? It may still tell a similar story but at least it wouldn’t reflect laziness. MDN is Apple cool-aid thru and thru.

    1. You didn’t read my post above, did you. There is no better illustration of the damage done to Android users than the permanent effect of security holes due to fragmentation. Hide from it all you like, but there it is. No solution available for millions of Android users. None.

        1. Yes sort of. Google releases version 4.0.0. Then Samsung tweaks it and adds their personal changes.
          It is now different from the Google 4.0.0 version.
          Google releases 4.0.1 security fix. It will not run on the Samsung phone until Samsung once again tweaks it and adds their personal changes. This version will now work on the Samsung phone.

          Same story for most of the other Android based phones.

          Samsung 4.0 is different from HTC 4.0 is different from LG 4.0 and on and on. Get the picture? Bad bad situation.

    2. Maybe they are considered “fragmented” because they may or may not be able to run the same versions updates of Android dependent on what the various carriers allow them to update to.

      This is 100% opposite from the iOS ecosystem where as long as a device can run an update, it gets it, regardless of carriers.

      Outside of pure technology obsolescence due to Moore’s law, Apple products can stay current. The Android ecosystem does not work this way and as such there are devices stuck at every various OS revision due to device manufacturers or carriers not caring enough to devote resources to update devices they no longer have financial interest in keeping current. Often regardless of major security bugs. How many of those millions of those exploitable PWN bugs are going to ever see a fix created for them? Apple still keeps issuing OS fixes and updates that work on devices sold years ago, very few Android devices can claim that.

  3. What the Android history indicates is that Google executives can’t see very far into the future.

    Then when Google gets slapped up on the side of the head with all the Android, they just shrug and get back on their exercise bicycles.

    1. Exercise bicycles, then digging around in everyone else’s software to find security holes in THEIR software. That’s actually a great thing and I thank Google. But considering the current worst case scenario of two impossible-to-patch Android security holes, thanks to fragmentation… Google comes off as incredibly disingenuous. 😛

  4. Google’s plan for handling fragmentation has essentially boiled down to moving as much of the API and feature set to the Play Services level and basically making a software layer that runs on multiple versions of the android.

    As to how well that is working, or will work going forward who knows.

  5. It’s fun to point out just how much of a mess the Android landscape is, but where’s reports of actual real-world exploitations? Where’s reports of people saying “Hey, my phone just got hacked!”… that’s what I want to be reading about. Those are the real fun reports… where idiocy reigns supreme, much like the reports of phones catching on fire when people leave them under a pillow while plugged in.

  6. Most end users have no idea what OS they are using so long as it works and they really don’t care if they have GingerBread or CrumbCake or GeorgesOS …. So long as their phone works ….

    In two years when they get a new phone, of all contacts and pics can’t be transferred they say oh well and start over ….

    So IOS 1 or IOS 21 – Most don’t care or know – they just want it to work!

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