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%
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.


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

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

  1. Pingback: Android App - Page 4

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