Outstanding Platform Versions

Outstanding Platform VersionsGoogle is now publishing a page outlining the platform versions in use, as measured by requests to the Android Market. In terms of Android Market statistics, this chart is…limited. However, it is interesting, and it will be even more interesting to see how frequently the chart gets updated.

The first thing that catches my eye is how many DROID users have gotten the upgrade to 2.0.1. That upgrade had been out for not much more than a week by the time the statistics were culled.

The 27.7% of users running Android 1.5 means developers should still try to support that release for the time being, if possible. I suspect this figure will plummet to under 10% sometime in March, as I am hopeful we will see upgrades for the HTC Hero and Motorola CLIQ in the not-too-distant future.

Of course, if the Nexus One ships (per rumors) and if it has Android 2.1 (per other rumors), developers will be faced with having to deal with four major active releases (1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1), and I will seriously start questioning the sanity of various executives in Mountain View, CA…

  • Amen! Hard enough as is dealing with manufacturer specific issues, but fragmenting the platform further is becoming a real burden….

    • Rene

      The only thing now stopping the total collapse is the relative big group of tech savvy Android users providing developers with top notch feedback.

      Keep sending those emails, you people rock!!!!

  • keith

    For Breaking News Go To http://androidfeen.wordpress.com/

  • samsunguser

    What about Samsung Galaxy??? We are still on 1.5 on no update in the future…

  • asdfasdf

    I think the situation is not _that_ bad… with 1.5 most the people have all the SDK power they need… we don't know for example how many new SDK features 2.1 will introduce over 2.0, so while it might be a visual refresh and add some features to the core experience, it won't change anything development wise…

  • From the statistics Flurry gave me on my game ( Word Prospector ), I see 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.01 and 2.1 firmware alive ( plus some hacked ROMs ).
    1.1 is really rare, but the other versions are certainly important.

    As for the 2.1 firmware, I've just seen that it brings a _big_ improvement on the whole Android platform : JustInTime Java compilation !!!!

  • 1.5 is actually quite a pain to support if you want to take advantage of improvements in 1.6+

    I'm hoping it begins to disappear soon. Having said that I know of at least 1 manufacturer who will be releasing a 1.5 device in Q1!

    For those of you thinking WTF, that's exactly what we said.

  • I see pretty much same Flurry-based statistics for Hire*A*Droid. Initially I developed it for 1.6 and indeed had to take some pains to downgrade to 1.5 but the rewards were sweet since I had about 18-20% increase in the user base, definitely cannot ignore that many users. It's sad that I cannot have targeted builds under the same app.
    It's also very impressive to see how Droid usage finally overtook G1

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  • hazydave

    Well, a couple of observations.

    One is simple.. hopefully, Android isn't architected in a way that makes version-specific decisions much of a burden for applications (I'm planning to get into Android coding.. the only thing since BeOS, and before that, AmigaOS, that I found compelling). If they do, this should be fixed, going forward.

    Second observation: upgrades should be promoted. Apple has been very good at this. Hell, even Microsoft has allowed original Zunes to get free 3.x upgrades. Obviously, given the scope and deployment of Android, this requires cooperation of the phone vendors, today.

    That's actually a Bad Thing. Having been in CE since the early 80s, it's easy to divide companies into "CE-oriented company" and "Computer-oriented company". The computer-oriented think of the OS as something always in transition, and a thing you really want your customers upgrading. We push these things to the customer (at my current company, Nomadio, I did this for R/C car controllers… when you plugged your controller into your PC, you'd get automatic notification of system updates).

    The CE companies, though, have long thought of the product leaving the factory as the end of their involvement, barring warranty returns. This is one reason there were so many compatibility issues with early DVD players (a lesson at least most of the Blu-Ray folks seem to have learned). Really.. why spend time and money updating The Old Thing to use the new software, when that could be spent on The New Thing.

    On Android, this doesn't even really require the manufacturer, though, beyond a certain point. It would be a huge boon to the Android ecosystem if manufacturers simply stated their intentions, and provided a bit of support. The intention would be simple: this device is getting an upgrade, this one is not. No judgement, no harm, no foul, just state their policy.

    Then, in the latter case, when they decide to EOL their own support, they provide some code or object files or whatever is needed, to let others deal with the support of this specific device. That's bound to happen… "cellphone" is a billion units per year, even a marginally successful Android phone will have hundreds of thousands of users. Tap the Open Source factor — enable that 2.1 upgrade, whether you want to provide it yourself or not.

    As for 2.1… it seems really. really likely that 2.1 on the Nexus One hardware was designed to "dogfood" both the Nexus One and 2.1. If they're releasing soon (January/February), they want to get as many warm bodies using the new version of the OS as possible No better way than manage to hook it onto the hottest cellphone of December 2009.

    As for fears of where 2.1 is going… Google is very much on the verge of not only ensuring no single company (that isn't Google) dominates the networked handheld (and thus, owns control of default search… which is Google's bread and butter, and likely, at some point, seach-on-phone will become more important than seach-on-PC). They're on target to BE the networked handheld dominator. Forget Open Source.. open platform with multiple hardware vendors had pretty much always triumphed over single-source, closed platform, in the long run. Google automatically wins if they keep things as open as they are today.. the don't have a business case for closing things. That would be a gift to Apple, Microsoft, and RIM.