updated 03:20 pm EDT, Sat September 11, 2010
Android 2.2 adoption lagging behind iOS upgrades
New data from Google has revealed that Android 2.2 is at last getting significant adoption four months after it was released. The OS jumped from just 4.5 percent of Android phones in July to 28.7 percent last month. It still remains in the minority with Android 2.1 on 41.7 percent of devices.
Almost a fifth of users, at 19.5 percent, are still using Android 1.6 or earlier versions that are now about a year old, Google said.
Most of the more recent adoption is owed to devices like the Motorola Droid 2 shipping with Android 2.2 from the start as well as HTC's first round of Android 2.2 updates for the Desire, Evo 4G and Nexus One.
The upgrade speed, while an improvement over earlier in the year, highlights the fragmentation of the platform. In many cases, those who have yet to update to 2.2 either don't have sufficient hardware, even after less than a year of being on the market, or else have been shut out by handset builders that can't or won't upgrade after a certain point. Samsung, as one example, has given no indication that it will upgrade the Galaxy Spica to a version past 2.1 and has claimed T-Mobile's Behold II can't go past 1.6 despite touting its raw performance less than a year ago. Some phone makers, particularly Dell, are shipping devices with Android 1.6 or even 1.5 and promising upgrades sometime later.
Google is expected to try and minimize fragmentation Android 3.0 by pushing many of the core app updates through Android Market rather than requiring entirely new firmware. The OS is likewise maturing and should slow down its update rate, giving more companies a chance to release devices on the same platform.
The situation nonetheless contrasts sharply with that for iOS 4, which Chitika research said was already at 50 percent just a month after Apple posted the update in late June. While Apple has not been aggressive as Google in sheer frequency, its control over both the hardware and software and lack of obstacles from carriers has meant it could provide the latest features to every compatible device at once. Apple has also been less willing to cut off devices early and is still supporting the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch with most of the iOS 4.1 feature set.