There have been six smartphone distribution updates since Android was released: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and most recently, Ice Cream Sandwich. One man, Michael DeGusta, decided to map out every release and every Android smartphone launched in the United States before July 2010. He then compared the revision updates to the iPhone. The results are a bit surprising, even if you’re aware the Android market is fragmented. For example, DeGusta discovered that 7 of the 18 smartphones in his chart never ran a current version of Android. 12 of the devices only ran a current version of Android for a “matter of weeks or less” before a new distribution was released. Here are several other compelling facts discovered by DeGusta:
- 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
- 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
- 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
- 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
- In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
- At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.
- “It only gets worse for people who bought their phone late in its sales period.”
As a result of the fragmentation, DeGusta argues that consumers get “screwed,” developers are constrained and security risks increase when support updates aren’t applied to earlier devices. Read on for a link to DeGusta’s research and a full infographic.