Android Version Stats for LQ Mobile (2015)

With the recent news that Google will not patch the WebView vulnerability in versions of Android <= 4.3, I thought it would be a good time to look at the Android version stats for LQ Mobile. You can see stats from seven months ago here. Also, a reminder that AndroidQuestions.org is now a part of The Questions Network.

Platform Version
Android 4.4 33.14%
Android 4.1 16.82%
Android 4.2 11.18%
Android 4.0.3 – 4.0.4 10.11%
Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 9.69%
Android 5.0 9.44%
Android 4.3 6.96%
Android 2.2 1.82%

So, how has the Android version landscape changed since the last post and what are the implications of the WebView vulnerability in that context? Android 4.4 is still the most common version, with over a third of the market. Versions 4.2 and 4.3 are still common, but less so than previously. Versions 4.0.3/4.0.3 and 2.3.x are both very old and still fairly popular with roughly 10% each. That’s disappointing. Lollipop adoption among LQ Mobile users is significantly higher than Google is seeing generally (still less than .1%) which isn’t surprising given the technical nature of LQ members. Even with that advantage, however, roughly half of LQ Mobile users are using a version of Android that’s vulnerable. Given that data, it’s easy to understand why Google has broken out quite a bit of functionality/code into Google Play Services, which they can update independently of handset manufacturers and carriers

–jeremy

Android Version and Device Stats for LQ Native App II

Now that the native LQ android app is in the 5-10,000 download range, I thought I’d post an update to this previous post on the topic of Android version and device stats. See this post if you’re interested in browser and OS stats for the main LQ site.

Platform Version
Android 4.4 29.54%
Android 4.1 20.42%
Android 4.0.3-4.0.4 13.59%
Android 4.2 12.49%
Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 11.70%
Android 4.3 9.27%
Android 2.2 1.96%

 

Device
Google Nexus 7 (grouper) 6.13%
Samsung Galaxy S3 (m0) 3.53%
Google Nexus 5 2.75%
Samsung Galaxy S2 2.28%
Samsung Galaxy S3 2.20%
Google Nexus 7 (flo) 2.12%
Samsung Galaxy S4 1.81%
Google Nexus 4 1.73%
Samsung Galaxy Tab2 1.49%

So, how has Android fragmentation changed since my original post in February of 2012? At first blush it may appear that it’s actually more fragmented from a device version perspective. Previously, the top two versions accounted for over 70% of all installs, while now that number is just 50%. That’s misleading though, as almost 90% of all installs are now on a 4.x variant. This clustering around a much more polished version of Android, along with the fact that Google has broken so much functionality out into Google Play Services, means that from a developers perspective things are significantly better than they were during the time-frame of my previous post. I will admit I’m surprised by the age of the top devices, but they may be specific to the LQ crowd (and it’s no surprise to me to see the Nexus 5 as the second most popular phone).

–jeremy

Google Nexus 5 Review

This review was originally done for Bad Voltage, but I figured it may also be of interest to my general readers.

In this episode I’m going to review the recently released Nexus 5 phone, manufactured by LG. While the 5 in the product name is a reference to the device’s nearly 5 inch screen, it’s also the 5th iteration of the Google Nexus line (the predecessors being the HTC Nexus One, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Nexus 4). The exterior of the Nexus 5 is made from a polycarbonate shell, unlike the Nexus 4, which used a glass-based construction. At 5.42 inches tall and 2.7 inches wide, it’s a big phone but is shaped to feel smaller than it looks. It’s surprisingly light for its size, at only 4.6oz, and is 8.6 millimeters thick. The phone feels a bit more solid than a Samsung Galaxy S4, but sitting next to an HTC One it looks a bit, well, plain. But being flashy or ostentatious was never Google’s goal with the Nexus line. It was to showcase the unbridled, unadulterated and bloatware free vanilla Google Android experience. And the phone’s 445 pixel per inch, 4.95-inch, 1080p IPS screen helps a great deal in doing that. At the time of this review the Nexus 5 was the only phone officially running Android’s latest version: Kit Kat. And that’s a big part of the Nexus experience and something no other phone is going to offer. Manufacturers often take many months to port new versions of Android to existing handsets and in some cases ports you think will come never do. Even the new Google Play edition of phones will likely never receive updates as quickly as the Nexus line. If that’s important to you, most of this review probably doesn’t matter. Get yourself a Nexus 5. It’s hands down the best Nexus phone to date. On that note, Kit Kat is the best Android version to date as well, and is a fairly significant change from previous versions of the software. It’s sleeker, cleaner, more refined and more modern looking while being considerably more responsive. Google Search and Google Now are integrated much more seamlessly than in previous versions. And while I’m not personally a fan of Hangouts replacing SMS and MMS, one nice thing about Android is that you can easily change that.

Now, back to the phone itself. Some good: The quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2G of RAM means that the phone is astonishingly fast. By far the fastest phone I’ve used to date. The display is absolutely gorgeous. The battery life has also been better than most Android phones I’ve used. The  overall build quality of the phone is high and the form factor is extremely usable. The Nexus experience is also difficult to beat. Some bad: While battery life has been better, it’s still fairly unpredictable at times. The camera is probably the weakest part of the phone and is considerably worse than other flagship offerings. That said, Google claims that much of the issue is software related so we may see some marked improvement here. The speaker, while fairly loud, is also frustratingly distorted at times. While I like the overall form factor of the phone, it is quizzical that they chose to give it such a large bottom bezel, especially considering the phone has only software buttons. The lack of an SD card slot is also disappointing.

So, what’s the Verdict? If you want the Nexus experience or would like to buy an off contract phone, at $349 for the 16GB model and $399 for the 32GB model I think the Nexus 5 is going to be impossible to beat. I’m certainly extremely happy with the device myself. That said if you’re in a position where you have to buy a phone on contract, the HTC One (which I’ve seen as low as $75 with a 2 year contract) or possibly the Samsung Galaxy S4 are probably better options.

–jeremy
Google+

Android Version and Device Stats for LQ Native App – Is Fragmentation an Issue?

Now that the native LQ android app has a few thousand installs (and since members really seem to enjoy LQ-related statistics posts), I’ve decided to post the platform version and device statistics for the app.

Platform Version
Android 2.3.3+ 48.1%
Android 2.2 24.4%
Android 2.1 7.1%
Android 3.1 2.1%
Android 4.0.3 1.9%
Android 3.2 1.5%
Android 4.0 1.5%
Device
Samsung Galaxy S2 8.0%
HTC Desire HD 6.0%
Motorola Droid X 5.4%
Samsung Galaxy S (GT-I9000) 4.6%
HTC Thunderbolt 2.5%
HTC G2 2.5%
Samsung Nexus S 2.5%
Asus EeePad Transformer TF101 2.4%
HTC Desire 2.4%
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.2%

So, is Android fragmentation a problem? Well, I think this is an issue with multiple facets that get conflated into a single issue.

First you have the version aspect. I have to admit I’m surprised by just how many Android handsets are running 2.2 and *gulp* 2.1 (which was released over two years ago; a veritable eon in mobile terms). Gingerbread 2.3 and Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 are huge improvements over previous versions of Android. While I think it’s a shame that so many users are stuck on older versions, I think this part is one that vendors and Google are working on and one that will improve significantly moving forward. Android was revving quickly in the earlier days and some of the hardware just couldn’t run future versions. Couple that with that fact that many vendors were new to Android and new to an ecosystem of this nature, and you had an initial learning curve that I think was destine to result in a suboptimal experience for end users. Fast forward to today and the press releases and public statements from vendors about which phones would be upgraded to ICS, along with time lines in many cases, and I think it’s clear this will become less and less of a problem.

Next you have the device aspect. This one is a bit trickier. The number one device here, the Samsung Galaxy S2 (which I incidentally own and really like), only represents 8% of all devices. The Android handset market is extremely varied. Not only that, it’s varied in many aspects; from screen size and quality, to device capabilities, to carrier restrictions… the list is almost endless. Unlike say, iOS and related apps, which only have to support a very finite number of configurations, Android and related apps have to deal with an almost endless number of combinations. This is an issue that Google is also working on, and has made significants strides with, but one that I think may take a little more time to figure out completely. It’s an issue they have to figure out if they want Android to be a long term success though, so I’d say there is a good chance they will succeed.

So, is Android fragmentation a problem? I’d say much less so than in the past. More importantly, I think it’s an issue that Google is well aware of, is working on intently, and will eventually mitigate to a large extent.

–jeremy

PS. If you have an Android-related question, don’t forget to visit LQ’s new sister site: AndroidQuestions.org.

Announcing AndroidQuestions.org and Introducing The Questions Network

I’m extremely excited to announce that AndroidQuestions.org is now officially out of BETA. AndroidQuestions.org is for the discussion of all Android-related topics; from phones, tablets and other hardware devices to Android applications and development. Along with LinuxQuestions.org, AQ starts off what we’re calling The Questions Network. All sites in The Questions Network will share a unified login, meaning that if you’re one of the half a million members who have signed up for an LQ account, you’re able to login to AQ and start participating immediately. This will hold true for any future TQN sites as well; registering for one means you’re able to log into any. (Note that you’re account on an individual TQN site is not created until the first time you login.) The rapid adoption, vibrant ecosystem and its Linux roots made Android an easy selection as the topic of choice for the first addition to The Questions Network. What’s we’re hoping to do is take the lessons we’ve learning scaling and growing LQ and apply that to some other related topics. While we don’t have a definite selection for the next TQN site, we do have a couple ideas and are interested in what others think. I’m looking forward to this new challenge and anticipate learning some new things that we’ll be able to apply back to LQ. Note also that AQ runs the next generation platform that will eventually run LQ.

–jeremy

Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2010

First, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the entire LQ team. 2010 has been another great year for LQ and we have quite a bit of exciting developments in store for 2011, including a major code update. I’ve posted to this blog far less frequently in 2010 than I’d have liked to, and I’m going to work to change that this year (I do post to twitter fairly often, for those interested).

As has become tradition, here are the browser and OS statistics for the main LQ site for all of 2010 (2009 stats for comparison).

Browsers
Firefox 57.11%
Chrome 16.44%
Internet Explorer 16.40%
Safari 3.43%
Opera 3.25%
Mozilla 2.21%
Konqueror .47%

Firefox is now on a multi-year slide while Chrome has passed IE to move into the number two position. Safari made some significant gains while Konqueror use was cut in half.

Operating Systems
Windows 51.71%
Linux 41.33%
Macintosh 5.78%
iPhone .21%
Android .15%

Windows use is slightly down this year while both Linux and OS X use are slightly up. As expected both iPhone and Android are up significantly. While Android saw more significant gains, it’s still a bit behind the iPhone. The iPad, for reference, is at .06%

I’d also like to take this time to thank each and every LQ member. You are what make the site great.

–jeremy

My First Android Experience: intriguing, extremely encouraging but a bit disappointing

I recently got my hands on a Nexus One, which believe it or not is my first Android-based phone. I’ve been trying to acquire an N1 for quite some time now, so after finally tracking an AT&T version down it quite simply couldn’t ship fast enough. By the time it finally arrived I was champing at the bit. I’ve had the Android SDK on my Ubuntu desktop for quite a while now, so I was ready to go as soon as the phone came in. I decided to keep stock Froyo on the phone for a couple days, just to get a feel for what the intended Google experience was like. Here comes my first disappointment: with a non-modified froyo install on a Google branded Nexus One, I was getting a fair amount of force closes. Mobile phones are tough (specifically, memory-challenged) environments so in some cases I can understand, and am fairly tolerant of, some minor issues. The force closes here were in the most basic of apps, however: namely the dialer and most often the messaging app.

I’ve been using Linux long enough that a few force closes aren’t really going to deter me from using what should prove to be the most significant Linux-based entry into the mobile market. So, now it’s time to start moving things over from my previous phone. Unfortunately, said phone does not store its contacts on the SIM card and has no built in export (unsurprisingly, it has an import). No problem I’m thinking; I’ve actually been meaning to tinker with funambol for a while now, and this is the perfect excuse to do so. My first market download goes smoothly, and aside from the brain-dead decision on gmail’s side to try to import every person I’ve ever emailed as a contact, everything imports smoothly (as an aside, funambol is a great product that I definitely recommend having now used it). Here comes the first weirdness, due to a bug in the way Android handles contacts. You can’t actually edit imported contacts with the default editor and the will not sync with Gmail, meaning the built in backup mechanism won’t see them. While this is really frustrating, the workaround (export the contacts while funambol is installed, uninstall funambol and the then import as native contacts) is easy enough that I wasn’t too worked up about it. While on the topic of backups, I’d say android has some pros (the cloud-based contacts sync is fantastic) when compared to the iPhone, but the overall backup/restore process on the iPhone is still unparalleled.

With a couple free apps downloaded, I decided to purchase a few apps. Next disappointment; if the Google account you use on the phone is a Google apps account, you can’t actually purchase anything from the market. So, basically, I’m paying Google for an apps account and then using a phone OS made by Google, but I have to create a new free Google account to actually buy anything from the android market. It’s almost like they don’t actually want you to use Google-related services on your Google phone. Which brings me to this entry in the Android issue tracker. How is it possible that there’s no Google Docs app for android??

With those frustrations and disappointments out of the way, let me say that the rest of the android experience has been very positive and that even with the significant time lead that Apple had, android is either ahead or rapidly catching up in almost every single aspect. In my opinion, the iPhone wasn’t nearly that good until OS 3. I anticipate version 3 of android being very similar in this regard. That android has come this far in a version 2.2 is truly impressive. Many of the issues I have with the iPhone are related to the closed nature of the platform and android has the potential to completely alleviate that. Whether the carriers with intercede and ruin this potential for their own gain remains to be seen, however.

Now, as nice as this thing is from a user perspective, from a Linux user’s perspective it’s absolutely phenomenal. Being able to quickly rsync my music collection to the phone is really refreshing. Being able to simply ‘adb push $foo’ to get files/apps/whatever onto the phone is equally refreshing. That’s just the beginning though. Being able to download entirely new android-based ROM’s such as Cyanogen makes me excited about a phone in a way that the iPhone never did or could.

So, what does the future of android hold? That’s a more difficult question to answer. First, you have some deeply entrenched competitors in place who have a lot to lose. Next, you have some patent FUD and multiple lawsuits already in the works. You then have the aforementioned carriers who may see the freedom that android offers as a threat, but one they’re able to remove due to the Open Source nature of of android. It’s also clear that at some point android will have to deal with a fragmentation issue that no other mobile OS has had to content with on this level. Even with all those issues, however, I think it would be *very* difficult to bet against android at this point. There’s simply too much going for it and it’s only going to improve from here. After using my Nexus One for a couple of weeks I can honestly say that I don’t miss the iPhone one bit, and I think that’s saying a lot.

–jeremy

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