The plight of Android upgrades–Whom to blame ?


Why do Android devices not get regular updates from manufacturers ? Shocking statistics and info … Read on.

Recently smartphone maker Samsung has announced that Galaxy S II owners will not  be getting the Android Ice Cream Sandwich updates which has been previously stated by one of their websites.


Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) has been announced in October 2011 and still a very very minute portion of the Android handsets officially run ICS.

The pie chart below, from the Android developers website, based on the data collected for a 14 day period ending March 5th shows the versions of Android which have accessed the Android Market Google Play.


Today, only around 1.6% of Android devices have the latest version of the software. However, it has been previously announced that any device which can run Android Gingerbread (2.3) is capable of running Android 4 ICS. But today hardly 10 models of all the Android devices put together run ICS.

So, the devices are ready to run the latest software, what then is the problem in delaying the upgrades to Android ?

Google to be blamed ?

Some blame Google for the delays in Android updates. There is initially a delay in manufacturers to get the source code.

Only the manufacturer which makes Nexus model (Samsung) is eligible to get the latest update. Why ? Google wants its Nexus models to sell better compared to other high devices ??


Well that is a bad idea – spread of Android helps spread of Google and that should be Google’s final goal, atleast this is what I feel.

Manufacturers to be blamed ?

Secondly even the manufacturers have to be blamed for the delay they cause in releasing the updates. They probably have the mindset that they are not running a software company offering regular service and support to all the customers.

May be because the whole revenue is made use of in marketing and making newer and higher models instead of concentrating on adapting the newer versions to the older phones. Of course another technique to attract the customers to buy their latest Android devices !!

Based on the data available for Android Froyo (2.2) upgrades offered by various manufacturers, HTC stands out with 50% of its Android phones upgraded to Froyo in 2010.

AndroidUpgradesManufacturers (1)

The upgrade situation on Android eco system is alarming especially if we compare it to the way upgrades are offered for iOS running on Apple’s devices.

Take a look at this chart from TheUnderstatement which compares the timelines of upgrades offered to the Apple devices with that of Android devices by manufacturer :


So by now, if you have keenly observed the above charts you must have been cursing Android.

But still, the frenzy does not seem to be decreasing. For example, in the recent Mobile World Congress 2012, all the manufacturers have announced a new set of devices boasting of high end configurations and loaded with the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

HTC announces its One X , One S  , One V line of devices; while Sony introduces Xperia P and U versions; Toshiba comes with its 7.7 inch tablet ; Asus boasts of its Padfone and Transformer Pad infinity ; and a lot more…

So while the manufacturers are currently not able to deliver updates (forget about early updates) at all to the existing line of devices, introducing a slew of new devices with the latest version of Android running on them definitely confirms that the older Android devices are just kind of orphans. Sold to the customer and left upto to the customer to use it or root it or buy a latest one again.

Android … you seem to be headed the wrong way !!

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