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Ice Cream Shit Sandwich

Aaron Souppouris at The Verge:

Google’s monthly Android distribution figures are out again, revealing a significant leap in uptake for the two latest iterations of the mobile OS. Ice Cream Sandwich is now running on 20.8 percent — that’s up from 15.9 percent last month, and 10.9 percent the month before.

While the rise of Android 4.0 is clearly a good thing, Ice Cream Sandwich is no longer Google’s latest and greatest; Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has a lowly 1.2 percent share of the Android market. Although that represents a tiny proportion of Android devices, the relative increase from last month’s 0.8 percent share is huge. We expect both Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean to continue to rise as new devices and updates are released.

You can view a full break-down to Android adoption at the Android Developer site. Figures are based on devices accessing Google Play.

Let’s take the glass-is-half-empty view on this. 4.1 Jelly Bean is the latest release of Android from a few months ago and it’s in single digits. The previous release came out almost a year ago is at just over 20%. Nearly 75% of all Android devices are running an OS from 2010 or earlier.

Eric Scmidt stated earlier today that Android has now reached 1.3 million activations a day. Doing the maths, that’s 16,900 android devices being activated every day that run ICS. That’ still over 1.2 million devices that are being activated every day that are running an older version of Android.

Arnold Kim at MacRumors back in March 2012, a few weeks after iOS 5. 1 was released:

iOS developer David Smith has been posting iOS version stats for his Universal app Audiobooks. Smith gets about 100,000 weekly downloads to both his paid and free versions and believes it is a statistically meaningful data set.

With the launch of iOS 5.1 on March 7th, 2012, Smith has been tracking the adoption rate which he suspected would be faster than in the past due to the availability of over the air (OTA) iOS updates. Indeed, after only 5 days after its initial release, Smith found that 50% of his OTA-eligible customers were already at iOS 5.1. Now, after 15 days, he’s found that 77% of OTA-eligible iOS customers have upgraded to the latest version.

This isn’t an argument for iOS over Android. This is an argument against carrier customisation of Android. With an iPhone, if an update is available – you can install it. With Android, unless you bought your device SIM and carrier-free, you’re likely to have a carrier-customised flavour of Android. There’s so many distributions of Android that one carrier’s version for a Samsung device won’t work on an identical device that’s on a different carrier.

The problem is the carrier isn’t interested in releasing an update for an 18-24 month old device. Why should they when they can just stop releasing updates and those frustrated with their device have to look towards a new service plan?