Bump: iOS 4 Has 90% Adoption Rate, Android 2.3 Only .4%

By  |  Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

One of the biggest differences between Android and iOS continues to be the fact that by nature, iOS users continue to far outpace their Android counterparts in keeping their devices updated. According the makers of the popular app Bump, nearly 90 percent of its users are running iOS 4 or newer.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that the latest iOS release, 4.2.1, is used by about 53% of its users. That means over half of all iOS users are fully up to date. Now compare this to Android’s latest release — 2.3 — who only has a measly 0.4 percent adoption rate.

As MG Siegler pointed out over at TechCrunch, we should be fair and compare Android 2.2 and iOS 4 against one another, since Android 2.3 is currently available only on Google’s own Nexus S handset (although Android 2.2¬† has been out much longer than iOS 4) . Google doesn’t fare much better here: 52 percent.

The problem seems to be in the way updates are delivered. Instead of the top-down model of iOS, where Apple itself is responsible for delivering the updates to its users, Google has allowed the carriers to tweak the OS updates to their liking before releasing them. This can mean delays of weeks, if not months.

Now yes, I know the Android faithful on here are going to have my head, saying “wait a minute, this isn’t fair!” But look at it this way, when over half of your competitors users are apparently already on the newest version of the operating system while not even one out of every 100 of your users can say the same, you have a problem.

Why? Look at it from a development perspective. Android’s made some pretty substantial changes from one point release to another. “Honeycomb” (3.0) promises to be even a bigger shift. What’s the use in developing for a platform that most are not even using?

All in all, we could be looking at the single biggest reason while Google may want to reconsider its platform strategy. If you really want your developers to create groundbreaking, killer apps for your platform, they need the support of the platform creator itself.

Ceding this control to the carriers, which have their own business goals, is now looking like it’s holding everyone back.


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. justcallmeben Says:

    There are 3 parties to blame here: providers, manufacterers, and, yes, google.

    Providers, obviously, because they keep updates from their customers the longest, because oftentimes they really want to change the ROMS and add their own bloatware to them, or restrict some of the options users would have with a vanilla android phone.
    This has to STOP! The success of the iPhone and the term Android-phone (Note:not Verizon-Android-phone or whatever) proves users DON'T CARE about the provider-specific 'features', and more often than not are even bothered by them.

    Then we have manufacterers. Whatever changes, it's almost inevitable they have to do some changes in the Android-ROM to make it work on their models. But the biggest delay does not come from that, but as mentioned before on Tehcnologizer from the skins and manufacterer-specific apps they add.
    It has been suggested these skins become optional and can be removed and added to a users liking, so the user can choose between the newest Android-version without the skin, or an older skinned version, until an update is released. This is, imo, a great solution giving customers both choice and the option to customize the look of their phone to their liking.

    And last is Google. Google is not delaying the updates, but Google is most certainly partailly to blame for this fragmentation. First of all, they could call up providers and manufacturers to stop this madness and require them to push out updates faster, or just not use android at all. In the beginning this would've been suicide for Android as a mobile OS, but now Android has a suficient loyal userbase so Google most certainly has at least enough influence over manufacteres and providers to require faster updates.
    But Google should also go easier on the updates: comapred to iOS Android gets a lot more updates. That's fun and all, but it puts a lot of stress on both developers, manufacterers and providers.
    bringing out less updates (like one major (2.x->3.0) update a year, with 2 minor ( .1, .2) updates in between seems like the maximum to me.

  2. Dan Says:

    … This is the worst use of data ever.

  3. David Says:

    Don't blame the data. The carriers have almost no incentive to provide updates. Case in point, check out the iPhone 3GS and iPad both running iOS 3.x and what you get after iOS 4.x.

    The differences are night and day, like unto a new device. And both will most likely get iOS 5.

    The carriers want to sell phones so what's the appeal of making an older device almost as good as a new device? Almost zero.

  4. ahow628 Says:

    He wasn't blaming the data. He was blaming the use of the data and I agree. There is almost no way to objectively compare apples to apples here because different types and levels of features are added to each release for iOS vs Android.

  5. Dave Says:

    This has got to be the lamest non-story so far this year. There is only a tiny difference between 2.2 and 2.3–the most exciting of which is a better way to select text.

  6. Bob Says:

    The points made are good ones. The title of the article is terrible. Since 2.3 is not available to most of the Android phone market, there is no way to compare the adoption of it to OS4. Very misleading.

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