Google’s latest publicly available version of the Android mobile platform, Android 6.0, was first released on October 5th, 2015. Apple’s iOS 9 was released to the general public 19 days earlier on September 16th. Both operating systems are now more than six months old, and they both offer smartphone and tablet users a wide range of cutting-edge features as well as crucial security enhancements.
Can you guess how end-user adoption of these two leading mobile operating systems compares after six months?
We always seem to come back to this issue, but there’s a good reason for that. While Google’s distribution model for Android is a fantastic strategy for getting its apps, services and ads into as many people’s hands as possible, it turned out to be a terrible one for ensuring that people have access to the latest and greatest features Android has to offer.
Case in point: Android 6.0, released six months and one day ago, is now installed on a grand total of 4.6% of Android devices in use that contact the Play Store. That figure is current as of April 4th, when Google updated the distribution data on its developer site. The most popular version of Android is Lollipop, which was first released on October 28th, 2014. Android 4.4 KitKat is now 2.5 years old and it’s still on one-third of Android devices.
On the other side of the fence, adoption of Apple’s iOS 9 software sits at 79% as of last month on March 7th, which is the last time Apple updated its App Store data.
That’s a pretty significant margin over Android 6.0’s 4.6% adoption, and it’s all thanks to Apple’s model of releasing software updates directly to end users. The result is a better user experience because the majority of active users have access to the latest and greatest features iOS has to offer as soon as they become available.
Is there any way Google can improve things with Android? Well, it’s not easy since vendors use their own custom versions of Android, but progress is being made. Several vendors have sped up the update process, though that typically applies mainly to high-end flagship devices. Some vendors also push out security updates more frequently though, and that at least provides some protection against vulnerabilities while users wait for new versions of Android.