Apr 13 AT 10:22 PM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

And then there were 3: Google updates Android fragmentation numbers

After a three month hiatus Google has updated the platform version breakdown for their Android operating system. The latest numbers come just weeks after Verizon updated their Motorola Droid to Android 2.1. The data comes from the number of Android devices that have accessed Android Market and it was collected during the two weeks ending on 4/12/2010.

Android platform versions breakdown.

Android 1.5 now accounts for the most devices with 38%, followed by Android 1.6 at 31.6% and Android 2.1 at 30%.

Since the data came towards the end of Droid 2.1 OTA update, a small percentage of devices still reported as Android 2.0.1. We believe all those devices should now be upgraded to Android 2.1 so I’m just lumping those two versions together in my chart.

History of platform versions.

Comparing the last three sets of data from Google reveals some interesting results. Android 2.1 made the biggest gains since January largely due to the strong sales of the Droid (and the addition of the Nexus One). Android 1.5 also saw gains thanks to Motorola’s trio of the CLIQ, CLIQ XT, and Backflip. Sprint’s Hero and Moment phones are also still on Android 1.5.

The only version that continues to shrink is Android 1.6. The Verizon Devour was the only new Android 1.6 device to launch in the U.S. since the last report and it joins the HTC Dream and Magic.

We expect the majority of first gen Android phones will be upgraded to Android 2.1 this quarter so look for some major changes next time Google updates the numbers.

Source: Android Developers Platform Versions

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://c0up.posterous.com c0up

    Wow, didn’t realise so many were on 1.5. It’s just a substandard Android experience really, even compared to 1.6. I hope Google somehow make 2.1 available to most phones.

    Though my HTC Magic is on 1.6, the cyanogen mod at least takes bits from 2.1

  • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ adomanico01

    Most of the Sense and MotoBlur phones are on 1.5 I believe.

  • http://Website Lemon

    LG Eve and a bunch of cheap handsets are still launching with 1.5 too. Blows my mind.

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  • http://Website kilari

    So 2.1 must change a lot of stuff for people to praise it so much. I currently have two smartphones. A Pre as my personal phone and a G1 as my work phone. I got my G1 first and thought it was the best thing in the world since I found that thing that makes guys like women so much. But then I got my Pre and now my G1 is pretty much a paperweight at this point. It just makes phone calls. I never use it for smartphoney tasks. I should just trade it in for a dumbphone cus it just can’t compare to my Pre. So unless there is something that was revolutionary with 2.1 vs 1.6 I think you guys just don’t realize how Android is half the OS that WebOS is. That’s my opinion, some may differ. But your argument against me isn’t valid unless you’ve owned both devices for more than a month each. That way you’re not knocking something before you try it.

    • http://www.nashvilletn-real-estate.com Dean Williams

      I’ve heard fantastic things about WebOS, but have never used it. The complaint I consistently hear about Palm is the package, ie: the phone itself, not the software. At that point, it becomes more of a personal preference. The Pre is just too small for me, plus I’m a T-Mo user, so Android AHOY!

    • http://Website Westy

      WebOS is nice i played around with it for a few days but like Dean said its the packaging that i dont like. Their are a few things i like about the WebOS but since i utilize all of Google services daily it just fits my daily better then the WebOS would. I am scared to see HTC buy WebOS because that hardware and that OS together looks to be deadly. If they do buy them i would hope HTC still makes Android phones since i love their phone designs. As far as 1.6 to 2.1, i went from my G1 to a N1 and i could never go back. N1 Screen is so much bigger and smooth. You really cant compare Android’s 1stGen phone to the Pre.

    • http://Website QDigga

      I owned a Pre for half a year and readily jumped to my Hero when it was available on Sprint. I liked the Pre ok. WebOs was nice, but it just didnt seem to do as much as the Hero (still on 1.5). The multitasking was sweet, but you can easily do that on the Hero holding the HOME key for like 2 seconds and chosing 1 of 6 open apps, or just going to home and opening an app while still in another. 2 big negatives for me were 1) lack of easy custimization (like for the notifications, home screen and icons). It seemed like you had to preware everything just to make the phone behave like normal smartphones do. and 2) The hardware was atrocious! For such a cool concept as WebOs, you’d think the build design of the phone would match that. Don’t get me wrong, the smooth river rock likeness was unique, but the cheap, plastic-y feel of the phone negated any “wow” factor the software provided…

      I liked my Pre, but I love my Sense enabled Android…

  • http://Website Nik

    Vodafone UK don’t intend on updating the customers of the HTC Magic to 2.1. I wish I’d never bought it, as I was promised the update in the store.

    Now, Vodafone have banned users from mentioning the update on their forum.

    I won’t be using Vodafone again.

    • http://brykins.blogspot.com Brykins

      Banned from mentioning something on a forum? Has Steve Jobs bought Vodafone without anyone noticing?

  • http://www.typhon4android.org/ Mike Leahy

    Indeed good to see. As things go regarding my meta-platform, TyphonRT, while it has taken a bit to get it out I am focusing on the long tail. I’ve created a layer of software that runs on all Android OS versions in the wild (1.5+). My goal is to create one runtime that normalizes all Android devices including hardware limitations such as extra software filtering for deficient multi-touch devices (N1 included!). To add a kicker it runs across on the desktop with the same experience. Really really trying to have a beta app out before Google I/O and closed beta for developers with full public SDK launch of the web site in June. An interesting thing to note is that effectively even with 2nd gen devices split between 2.0.1 and 2.1 you really didn’t do anything different for them. So there always were 3 different configurations to be concerned about before for real time apps / games and there still are. Sure if you are making a live wallpaper you need 2.1, but the rest of OpenGL ES and even 2D API apps were and still are concerned about 3 OS fragmentation configurations. This not taking into consideration OS bugs such as 2.1 update 1 2D performance lagging on the Droid with it failing to do what it should be doing; they’ll fix this likely in “update 2″. So basically what I’m saying is that things effectively haven’t changed much. Android 1.5/1.6 devices worldwide will need to be supported for roughly 2 years even if some get updates others won’t and they will always account for 5-10% of the market (the long tail). Hence if folks can make their software run on the old and new you can make more money as an app developer… Interestingly enough what I’m doing (creating a meta-platform) has just been throw into jeopardy for the iPhone OS / update last week. It’s a hot topic for developers over there. We’ll see if Apple’s decision to limit developers choices helps or hinders Android progress. Things are really heating up now and it’s going to be a wild and fun ride over the next year let alone 2-3. Rock!

  • http://Website Bob

    Iphone fragmentation is more or less the same as android. On IPhone you have Iphone Gen1, IPhone 3G, IPhone 3GS and very soon you will have Iphone 4, fragmentation is a big issue for android, but not as big as the Apple fanbois insist.

    • http://Website Alan Reboli

      That’s a really good point. I think the fragmentation isn’t as aggressive as the iPhone. In my opinion it’s like if there were 5 different versions of the G1. If there was like a G1v1 that didn’t have 2.1 but a G1v5 was able to upgrade. I would say that yes, we have a problem here. But we’re comparing old phones with new phones. You can’t say that the G1 and the N1 are the same. Granted they’re all android, but way different hardware and built by different companies (not so in the case of the G1 and N1)

      I have the G1 and have flashed many 2.1 roms on it. And really.. the only noticeable difference are some apps wont work (I haven’t had to drop any apps I have) and minor visualizations (like when you press home, live wallpapers, transitions). There is not a real performance enhancement in the update. I’m running HtcClays Version of CSDIv4 and I may just stay with it. It’s that good.

      (This is in no way trying to sound aggressive or that I’m all up in arms about this. I’m really just sparking conversation.)



    • http://Website django

      It’s getting every worse for Apple.

      OS4: won’t install on 2G, only partially installs on 3G, and fully installs on 3GS and 4G but won’t make it to iPad until fall even though the device just came out.

      And we’re told that this is due to “hardware” reasons even though jailbroken 3G phones have been running multi-tasking for years now so that argument is weak.

      I think it would be hilarious if Apple were to take their “fragmentation” criticism ad campaign live. They’ll get spanked by their own complaining userbase

  • http://Website JR

    The fragmentation has always been a straw man complaint against Google’s android (though it taps into the important idea that ideally there would be none). The reason it is a strawman is because break down the market share if android didn’t exist =). Then unless everyone runs to one brand by one manufacturer, you have every phone maker offering their own OS and all these current android users are strewn across completely incompatible platforms. So people that complain about the fragmentation as a reason android is failed seem to be forgetting that the alternative is not this rather light fragmentation, but entirely different propriety OS dividing up the market.

    But, that said the basic mission of android to unify disparate form factors and companies into one open OS would be best served by the least fragmentation of android.

  • Drew

    Cool, so essentially it’s one phone holding the percentage for 2.1, and two phones for 1.6.

    And then every other Android phone known to man contributing to 1.5

    • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

      Yea its pretty sick that 1.5 is still so high (and growing, haha). Lazy manufacturers.

  • http://Website skynet

    This is blown way out of proportion. I went from a g1 to a nexus and all 50+ apps I had worked.

    • Drew

      The only time it’s an issue is working the other way around.

      2.1 apps won’t work for 1.6 or 1.5, and 1.6 apps won’t work for 1.5.

      • http://Website hagenp

        >The only time it’s an issue is working the other way around.
        >2.1 apps won’t work for 1.6 or 1.5, and 1.6 apps won’t work for 1.5.

        Google introduced “API levels” in their SDK. If you develop an application that only uses level 3 APIs “on/for Android 2.1″, this would run on 1.5, too:

        Of course, if you actively need features only available on API level 8 (Android 2.2), this app will run only on Android 2.2 and newer. Also if you make a mistake in the app manifest and state (wrongly) that level 8 is required but in fact you use only level 3 features.

        Nevertheless, for me the API level system makes it much more clear (than on most other mobile platforms I know) to track and determine beforehand what app will run on which platform.

        Also “Android Market” filters the applications by version, e.g. an 1.5 phone user will not even see the incompatible-for-his-device 2.2 apps in Android Market.

        With all these platform statistics, please bear one thing in mind: Google presents the percentage of devices that downloaded some application or connected to Android Market.
        This does not mean that x% of devices are really out there, just that within the observer 2-week-period x% devices with this version distribution connected to Android Market.

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