Android 5.0 Jelly Bean – Too much, too soon? Bad for users and developers alike?

by: Gary SimsApril 3, 2012


Google has a problem. Android is being developed too fast while the adoption rates for the new versions are too low. The Android 2.x series started when Android 2.0 Eclair was released at the end of 2009. By the end of 2010, Froyo and Gingerbread (Android 2.2 and 2.3) were released and remained the dominant versions used until today. Since then, Google has released Android 3 (Honeycomb) and Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). But, chances are that if you buy an Android phone today it will be running either 2.2 or 2.3.

The tablet market has slightly better adoption rates for the newer versions of Android, but this is mainly due to the fact that Android 3 was designed with tablets in mind. Even so, popular tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab still used Android 2.x, and its updated variant, the Galaxy Tab Plus, uses Android 3.2 and not Android 4.0.

Only 3% of Android devices run Ice Cream Sandwich and yet pundits are now talking about the release of Android 5, codenamed Jelly Bean. These are only rumors so far, and, at the recent Mobile World Congress 2012 event, Eric Schmidt said nothing about Android 5 during his keynote. However Android 5 will be released one day, if only because 5 comes after 4 and Android will continue to be developed.

But Google’s problem is it needs to find a way to convince device manufacturers to release Android updates and it needs to make this process easier for users. Apple seem to be winning in this respect, with a recent report finding that 77% of customers upgraded to iOS 5.1 within 14 days of its release. 3% adoption of ICS, 77% of iOS 5.1. The difference is huge.

Android flavor distribution in March


The implications of the slow adoption rates are threefold:

First, users aren’t getting the best that Google has to offer. Android 4.0 is superior to Android 2.x in many ways (see Android 2.3 Gingerbread vs. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich), and yet, these benefits aren’t being passed to the user. Assuming that Android 5.0 will be better than Android 4 and that it will add neat new features, how long will it be until customers get these new features?

The iPhone 3GS was released in 2009 and it can run the latest version of iOS. I think you will be hard pushed to find an Android device from 2009 that has support for ICS, let alone Jelly Bean (although this may change when CyanogenMod 9 comes out). LG has made a commitment to bring Android 5.0 to all of its 2012 handsets (with the sole condition that the phone can support Android 5.0), but there is no such commitment for the Android phone you bought last year.

Second, there is the question of security. Security vulnerabilities are discovered almost daily in all computer operating systems and applications – from Windows XP to Mac OS X 10.7, from Flash to Chrome. Companies like Google spend a lot of money and energy in fixing these vulnerabilities and making their products secure. However, if these changes and improvements aren’t passed on to the customer, then their efforts are in vain. For example, Android 4.0 introduced full device encryption allowing you to encrypt all the data on your phone including all the application data, music, downloaded information, and so on. Only 3% of Android users have this facility at their disposal today.

Thirdly, developers are left trying to support older versions of Android and have to ignore new features as they try to ensure that their apps and games will run on the majority of devices. For example, Android 4 added a new social API which allows app developers to use a new unified store for contacts, profile data, stream items, and photos. With the new API, any app or social network (with permission from the user) can contribute contacts and make them accessible to other apps and networks. Great for social networking fanatics. But if the devices out there in the real world are still running Android 2.x this API is irrelevant. Developers have to ignore it.

Motorola, Chrome, and Android 5.0 Starter Edition

This could all change once Google finally gets its hands on Motorola. If Google does the right thing and offers free upgrades to all the devices it releases, and uses Motorola to showcase the power of Android, it should shame the other manufacturers into releasing upgrades for their hardware. This way the users win, developers win, Android wins.

Google could already be doing this by releasing the Chrome beta exclusively for Android 4.0. This means that only a small number of users will be able to use the new browser (compared to the total number of Android users), and yet Google is insisting on ICS. Is this for technical reasons? Maybe. But Firefox is available for all devices running Android 2.1 or above (as long as they have 512MB of RAM).

Is Ice Cream Sandwich the Windows Vista of the Android world? When the netbook  phenomenon struck, Microsoft was forced to extend the life of Windows XP as it was the only Windows that was able to chug along happily on these lower specification laptops. Windows Vista was way to heavy.

Is this true of ICS? Android 4.0 does indeed impose some minimum requirements in terms of memory and GPU capabilities. For example, all devices running Android 4.0 are required to support hardware-accelerated 2D drawing.  Should Google be looking at a lighter version of Android 5 that can run on today’s devices with, say, only 256MB of memory and with a lesser GPU?

What do you think?

Do you agree with me? Or do you think I got it wrong? How do you think Google could improve adoption rates? Let me know by adding a comment below. I promise to reply to all sensible comments!

  • Brianepatt85

    I so agree with u. I always say this is there biggest issue. Its sad that almost nobody has a ICS device and its been out for months. I’m waiting for my gs2 to get the update. I had the galaxy vibrant for T-Mobile and that is still waiting for 2.3 so I’m not holding my breath no matter what I read.

    • Gary Sims

      “I’m waiting for my gs2 to get the update.”

      And that is the problem.

      • Cole Raney

        Especially since the Galaxy S2 skyrocket hd has the best hardware of any phone out now.

  • Level380

    Shouldn’t be a shock….. Google said they will be doing a major code drop every 6 months. Next one is just about due!

    • Gary Sims

      But wouldn’t Android 4.1 be a better option at this point to increase adoption rates? Once ICS is established as the predominant version Google can go ahead with 5.0.

      • Level380

        No one said it was going to be android 5.0 from Google just the writer dreaming and guessing! I doubt it will be!

        History has shown that it takes a big jump to go up a major version.

        1 -> 2 was a big jump then came 2.1 & 2.2 & 2.3 versions

        3.x was the move to honeycomb for tablets. Once again with 3.1 & 3.2 versions

        4.x was the merge of honeycomb and gingerbread into a phone release.

        I don’t see the need or reason for a 5.0 release at this stage. I expect the next 6 monthly code drop due shortly to be a 4.1 release

        • Gary Sims

          4.1 would be better with the same hardware requirements as 4.0.

          What are your thoughts on a 5.0 or 4.1 lite?


          • Time2Key

            Whatever they call it version number wise it does not matter at all. It will probably have the same hardware requirements anyway, since theyve just made a massive leap in requirements.

  • Matthew

    I think this is skewed a bit: First of all, Honeycomb was never intended for phones, so mentioning it all in relation to phone versions is completely pointless and misleading.

    In the scheme of open-source software, the adoption rate really isn’t that far behind. ICS was released in October, and manufacturers have been working since then to get things updated. I’ll admit that those who are still releasing new phones with Gingerbread are being lazy, but there’s very little Google can do about this.

    In addition, comparing this system to Apple’s is, I hate to say, comparing apples to oranges. Of course Apple can keep things updated. They make their own hardware. The make a very *small* amount of hardware, and they maintain (mostly) total control over. Android’s ecosystem is completely different. Both systems have their inherit flaws and strengths.

    • Gary Sims

      “Honeycomb was never intended for phones, so mentioning it all in relation to phone versions is completely pointless and misleading.”

      I think the posts is about phones and tablets.

      “I’ll admit that those who are still releasing new phones with Gingerbread are being lazy”

      You said it!

      “but there’s very little Google can do about this”

      Which is what my post is asking… Is there anything Google can do about this? And if they can’t doesn’t that mean that the Android ecosystem will fail?


      • There is a large base of phones sold today is running android 2.3.x, some will see an upgrade but most won’t. During 2012 we will off course see an tremendous increase in ICS, but I expect 2.3 to stay the most used platform for 2012 the least and maybe even 2013.

        What tends to happen is that enthusiasts online focus all their attention on the top-line models and expecting the market to want this as well. However for most people out there 2.3 is sufficient for their needs the next 2 to 3 years(maybe even beyond). Also forgetting the immense potentual Andiod has for the mid to low segment. Two segment I expect a lot of growth to happen for android in the near future.

        ICS tend to be a lot more demanding on the phone and therefore it will be less likable for low- and mid-range phones to see the upgrade.

        All in all, I personally do not think this is a bad thing, however 2.3 will be androids IE6 rather then the other comparisons made here.

        • “however 2.3 will be androids IE6”

          I like that comparison! Neat! But if that is true, that makes things worse. This could mean that innovation in terms of app and game development could be limited as developers want to use the most popular version to increase revenues. Everything will be made to be Android 2.x compatible leaving ICS and Jelly Bean without value add apps.


      • Truth

        This may be about phones & tablets, but they are 2 different kind of products
        you are comparing apple with orange
        there should be a graphic for phones, and another one just for tablets

        Google’s Adroid ICS is not the easiest OS to work with
        hence that it is out for ages and yet very few devices actually get the official update

        not everyone has the knowledge to root their device so it can run ICS

      • georgio koskiniatis

        I personally do not think that android ecosystem will fail…..and why it will not fail??? cause of the rooting communities….like xda developers….rom creators like cyonogen, EOS and so on….as day passes by, it gets easier and easier to root an android phone ore tablet…it is not only us geeks that will be able to do it…..2day You easily find a complete package fro Your phone ore tablet where, You just connect Your phone/tablet via usb, and just by pressing one button from Your desktop/laptop rooots and installs the rom at the same time.More and more people are doing this…cause they are used to having their computers updated with the latest software…even though perhaps the hardware does not live up to the standards of what the OS demands…Now the problem with the companies that make the hardware for android phone and tablets….are just interested in selling hardware…they actually do not give a rats ass about the OS update…cause it will cost them on 2 accounts…adapting to older hardware….and loosing profits on new hardware…cause the consumers will not wanna buy a new phone cause their old phone is running perfectly with the New OS….i have a Nexus S, a HTC DHD, an xperia 8 and last but not least….XOOM 3G wifi Z601 eu! all of them are rooted….why??? cause i was sick of waiting for an update from the hardware manufactures…. burping out that perhaps they will release an update for my phones and tablet….the Nexus, HTC DHD are running ICS, the xperia 2.3.7 ginger and the Xoom ICS…..all of them working great with rooted roms….and with the help of apps such as and romanager…i get updates all the time….and able to create backups and do restores as many times that i like….
        The Future as i see it…..Google should be delivering the OS….and hardware manufactures should be creating hardware and not having the responsibility for for the software…..they can just deliver their own personal apps for their hardware….to personify it more…..ore to deliver and support such communities as xda developers and rom manufactures as cyonogen to deliver special mods to their hardware…..still all updates for the OS should be delivered directly from Google, then modded and adapted by open source communities….sponsored by the hardware manufactures….Asus already do that….by releasing their code for their latest tablet….
        Again…that is just my vision and look upon things….!!!!

        • Private Private

          Rooting and modding a phone will become much more attractive when manufacturers cover a phone that is bricked. That said you can just get a warranty with att or best buy or your wireless carrier and tell them your phone just stopped working and they will send you another one and you send your old on back.

          That said manufacturers would do well to support the modd community.

      • ron

        only as much as it means that the apple ecosystem will fail due to lack of diversity in hardware / a closed, walled system

      • Snadrus

        I think Google can do something about this: Make the vast majority of the system package-based & replaceable. The market, Google Play, already auto-updates every package it can (whose permissions didn’t change). It’s only a small step away from having an upgradable package that’s virtually the whole system.

        Nerds: Sure you can’t reliably change the Kernel and most C stuff is tricky, but it’s not impossible to rebuild user-space for each cpu type (Arm5, arm6, 5 more) that’s got registered Google support. Then older phones lack only Kernel changes, which are few in number & mostly vulnerabilities

  • WestIndiesKING

    Drivers and cheaper phones will always be the problem with this period. Apple has a great turn around rate because they have a hand full of devices with hand picked hardware to design for. As long as Android remains open sourced the turn around for updates will be slow period. Some low end phones should never even be considered in this conversations largely because they are under powered.

    Google does need to figure something out. Just not sure what, its a huge problem. BUT avg user doesnt care about this they just want the phone to work well period. Power users are the ones who are update crazy.

    • Gary Sims

      ” BUT avg user doesnt care about this they just want the phone to work well period. Power users are the ones who are update crazy.”

      This is true, but if new features are added to Android that users want/need then suddenly their phones don’t work as expected anymore.


      • WestIndiesKING

        Which is why i added they just want their phones to work. I have encountered so many android users who dont even use their Gmail email account and dont even know what google talk is. Google needs to do a better job of MAKING people use their services. And when i say make i mean in the sense of making it the clear winner against the competition. The fact that Google talk is on every single android phone and android is the most popular phone OS amazes me. So many BlackBerry users dont want to leave BB because of BBM, Google can have a similar following if only they put the money behind their software. Why in the hell did they create that messenger client in Google plus and not just integrate it all with Google talk is beyond me. These are the things that bother me with Google. Some times it doesnt seem that the left hand is talking to the right.

        • Gary Sims

          I agree. Good points.



          • WestIndiesKING

            Some times i think Google needs less brains and more regular people over there to settle those brains down. So many things i hate about Steve Jobs but he was good at looking past the tech and getting people what they wanted. Simple to use and something that just worked. Google needs some of that kind of thinking there.

  • Leif81

    It’s not to soon. Once they announce JellyBean it might take another half year until the sourcecode gets released and then another few months until the hardware manufacturer have adpated it. In this way we see a new version every year which is pretty fine.

    • Gary Sims

      “few months until the hardware manufacturer have adpated it”

      I think that is my main point, Android 2.x was released in 2009/2010 and it is the main version used today. So if Jelly Bean was launched today it would not be popular until 2014 unless Google do something to improve adoption rates.


      • Michael

        Too soon for me too. My Asus Transformer has not been as stable on ICS as it was on Honeycomb. It has been locking up or rebooting about once a day since the update.

        • Michael,

          This is a good point which I didn’t address in the post. Is one of the reason manufacturers are sticking with Android 2.x is because ICS is too buggy and Honeycomb is only for tablets leaving no real alternative for phones?

          Could be!


  • AppleFUD

    “The iPhone 3GS was released in 2009 and it can run the latest version of iOS”

    That’s not entirely true. Apple releases a different version of iOS for each phone: 3GS, 4, 4S. Saying it’s the same version is nothing more than a numbering game. You certainly do NOT get everything on the 3GS that you will on the 4S so it might as well be a different version all together.

    IMHO Google and Android OEM’s really don’t care about upgrading devices, at least at this point in time. How’s ICS running on the Nexus S? Oh. . . yeah, that’s right! We are still waiting for it–on Google’s flagship device that is supposed to get updates/upgrades ASAP!–especially after the big “upgrade partnership” was announced, 8 week upgrades or something like that?

    Upgrades will always be the Achilles heel for Android until Google decides to run it like a real OS and support all major devices directly and that will NEVER happen–Google is more about disruption.

    And imo this will be a very big problem in the long run because, mobile devices will soon become the only device people use for all their computing needs–they will just dock their phone or phablet–the chips will be there this year to handle fairly heavy lifting. And who wants to pay $500+ every time you want an OS upgrade?

    However, comparing Android to iOS upgrades is a joke. iOS doesn’t do full upgrades–only incremental junk to get you to buy a new device every year which is worse than Android. Why do I want to buy into an ecosystem that will constantly gimp every device either via hardware and/or software? At least with Android you can always flash a custom ROM and have a FULL upgrade.

    Nonetheless, this leaves a big window open for competitors.

    • Gary Sims

      “You certainly do NOT get everything on the 3GS that you will on the 4S so it might as well be a different version all together.”

      Hmmm… I don’t think I can agree with that assessment. Except for Siri and extra use of the additional hardware (like retina display) I don’t see that on Apple devices.

      “IMHO Google and Android OEM’s really don’t care about upgrading devices, at least at this point in time.”

      Now that might be true.

      “And imo this will be a very big problem in the long run because, mobile devices will soon become the only device people use for all their computing needs–And who wants to pay $500+ every time you want an OS upgrade?”

      That’s right!!!

      “However, comparing Android to iOS upgrades is a joke. iOS doesn’t do full upgrades–only incremental junk”

      Like you comment above about iOS builds being the same as completely different versions, I don’t think I can agree. Since Android and iOS are the two main mobile ecosystems, I think comparing the way the work and how they delivery their functionality to end users isn’t a joke but in fact a very serious business.


  • Duke2010

    I think you are right. Its much easier to upgrade an iphone compared to Android. The average user cant (or doesnt want to) do a Nandroid backup and then flash a rom.
    On the iphone it all just magically happens. Obviously Android is different because there are many devices to support but thats the reason I bought a Galaxy Nexus, to get the stock updates straight from Google. But it still doesnt happen like an iphone. Its still not seamless and there is this odd problem that many report where they are stuck with an old version of ICS with no update coming from Google. I just had to flash mine myself. Google need to fix all this and make Android more refined to deliver a knockout blow to Apple.
    Thats the problem with Android being so open. Its great that you get all these different flavours and even different app markets but then thats also the downfall.

    • “the reason I bought a Galaxy Nexus, to get the stock updates straight from Google.”

      Which is why I wonder if Google can do this with Motorola… and do it better… If they succeed it won’t be Android vs iOS, it will be Motorola vs Apple with Android and iOS the operating systems they happen to use.


      • Bojan Markovic

        Better yet, it COULD be Android vs iOS with Google’s Motorola (as a serious competitor) pushing companies like Sony, Samsung and HTC to invest more dev time into Android upgrades and less dev time into writing their proprietary bloatware interfaces. Since Bada and WinMobo are now pretty much irrelevant, this could actually happen. It’s not like Samsung and HTC have a place to go now. Some time ago Bada was percieved a serious threat and HTC was Microsoft pony for years before smartphone was a word heard outside board rooms and IT companies, but today, if they want future in the phone market, they need to accept that what they sell is Android, and start acting accordingly.

  • bozzykid

    > But Google’s problem is it needs to find a way to convince device manufacturers to release Android updates

    Google is just now releasing ICS to all of the Nexus S variants and is just now rolling out fixes to the Galaxy Nexus. How can they expect partners to roll it out faster if it takes Google 6 months.

    • So, should Google be trying to get Jelly Bean out the door when it is still trying to roll out ICS!


      • Time2Key

        If they get Jelly Bean out quickly before handset manufacturers have rolled out ICS, then handset manufacturers will instead try and implement jelly bean than try and implement ICS, therefore more devices will get jelly bean that would have otherwise. Plus google are constantly working with manufacturers to speed up updates.

  • nexus-s-user

    I totally agree. I got ICS 4.0.3 on my Nexus S way back in Dec/January when they first released it (then stopped pushing it) It is way buggy and no way ready for popular release. Many of the issues I was having in gingerbread were still not fixed and the entire UI is laggy. It can take me up to 20 seconds or longer just to dial a phone number. I press keys and wait, wait wait then a digit pops up on the screen etc etc. They just released 4.0.4 and my wifes phone got the update push (3 days ago) yet my phone hasn’t got the update despite multiple checks for upgrades. It doesn’t make any sense, especially since this is a Google phone and I should be able to get the update directly from google. I really like the concepts of android but the execution and lack of attention to polish and bug fixing has left me jaded. I much prefer Apples upgrade distribution model, so much simpler, but then again they only have a few HW models to support. I’m a switcher from iPhone to Android but I’m seriously considering switching back for a multitude of reasons.

    • Thanks for your insights… Your story is all too common.

      “It doesn’t make any sense, especially since this is a Google phone and I should be able to get the update directly from google.”

      And that is the problem, it isn’t a Google phone, it is a Samsung with a Google sticker on it… This might change when Google get Motorola as there will be true Google phones then.

      ” I really like the concepts of android but the execution and lack of attention to polish and bug fixing has left me jaded.”

      That just about sums it up!


      • nexus-s-user

        Google must be listening :-) I got my 4.0.4 push update about an hour after I posted here, yay.
        Still I have come to realize that when it comes to a phone, apple offers the best support (they replaced my previous iPhone without a blink after the connector went bad) best reliability and smoothest experience. To me a phone should just work and not crash all the time. I’m still waiting for a car dock accessory for my nexus S and not one of those generic monstrosities that fit all phones badly. You can’t beat apple for accessories (albeit more expensive). I will miss the tight google integration and the google navigation (though my nexus S usually ran out of battery when navigating > 2hrs and this is with it being plugged into the car charger)

        • nexus-s-user

          Well just great. I was browsing Google chrome for “What’s new in 4.0.4” and the entire phone hung, I couldn’t even switch to a different app or home screen. The phone rebooted after a few minutes. At least the google search bar doesn’t disappear now after entering a few words. It still takes me >20 seconds to enter a phone number, the kepresses are registered but they lag being displayed and the tones start sounding after I have entered about half the numbers and I occasionally get a popup “Unfortunately the process has stopped”. Nothing “dramatic” in this update in terms of usability/reliability IMO so-far.

  • Jose Rivera

    Let’s drop android once and for all. I bought a phone and a tablet less than six months ago from HTC, and now they tell me they are not getting ivs upgrade. Meanwhile I’m stuck for TWO years with “obsolte” equipment. I’ll switch yo Apple because for them the customers comes first. For HTC ley them kerp doing business in Taiwán, China, etc. because they don’t care for the american customers. Bye HTC, welcome Apple.

    • Although what you say is true and I feel your pain, the beauty of Android is that you can change supplier. If you don’t like HTC then move to Samsung, LG or Motorola.

      You could also check to see if there is a custom ROM for your device like CyanogenMod.

      PS. Apple also abandons its customers on older hardware eventually, especially with its Macs.

      • Time2Key

        We’re not talking about macs here, are we? This is about tablets and phones. Apple get the latest version of iOS onto the 3gs and ipod touch 3 as soon as the version of iOS is out. They have to abandon the iPhone 3G and the iTouch 2 because they really are very old. There are Android phones being sold NOW that will never get an ICS update, not even through custom roms.

        And im not entirely sure that is the beauty of Android. In fact it’s sort of the problem – too many suppliers each making too many devices which means it’s just too hard to update them all.

    • Electriophile

      You probably bought a phone that was already fairly old. If you want updates for the rest of your contract, don’t buy a phone that has been out for more than six months, and don’t buy the cheap models. I know it costs more, but don’t expect to get a phone for free or fifty bucks and stay up to date.

      • Buy a phone not more than 6 months old!?! How come Apple can ship iOS 5.1 for the iPhone 3GS which was released 3 years ago!!!

        • Zhantshen

          hhave you tried a 3gs with even ios 4? that thing runs slower than t Mobile’s G1

          • I have extensive experience with a 3GS with iOS 5… worked fine for me… Faster than my Commtiva Z71 variant with CyanogenMod 7 / Android 2.3.


    • New_man84

      Very clever how you intentionally misspelt some words there…

    • Maarten Van Giel

      I have bought a HTC Legend (a mid-to-low-end device back then, imagine what it is now…) a few years ago. The phone is now considered dead by HTC, but it’s not fucking dead yet! It’s running ICS right now! I never bought an android phone for the awesome experience it brings you out of the box, I bought it because most android phones can be hacked into awesome phones. Stop crying about apple products, their shit is closed as hell and their support for older products sucks too.

      • Android is open in the sense that the source code is available and projects like CyanogenMod exist. However where Android fails in its “openness” is that you still need to jailbreak/root the phone to install the new firmware.

        You seem to be technically minded and are able to do that, but most consumers can’t do that.


        PS. The bad language doesn’t enhance your post at all!

        • Peder

          I agree on what you said about Android failing in its “openness”. I love the possibilities a rooted Android phone gives you in terms of available software, custom ROM’s etc. This way I can keep my phone up to date no matter how slow my manifacturer is.

          However, I think many people are missing out on all this because, as you said, most people doesn’t know how to use it or simply doesn’t know it’s there. In addition to that, rooting voids the warranty which will definitely keep some people from doing it.

          If the average consumer had much easier and simpler access to all the ressources that are out there, then Android phones might be more up to date. Lastly, it would of course require manifacturers to be more tolerant towards rooting.


    • Apple_sucks

      Apple puts customers first!? Hahaha!!!! You are brainwashed, my friend. Apple only cares about profits. They release the same device year in and year out with small incremental upgrades and make it out to be the best thing since sliced bread and sell it for the same price. When does Apple every have anything on sale so that they can reach a higher number of the customers they supposedly care so much about!? NEVER!!! They have everyone brainwashed. I’m still on my almost 3 year old 3GS and will be switching to Android very soon. Apple has total control of everything from hardware, software, and pricing. Screw Apple!!!!!! I like my things customized to work the way I want, not the way Apple will allow me to work.

  • Guest

    Why would you *NOT* want new improvements and bug fixes, as fast as possible, as many as possible?

    If you don’t like the update… don’t use it. I will *DEFINITELY* use it.

    • I think the issue is that people aren’t getting the updates. ICS hasn’t rolled out yet and there are rumors of the next version. That would mean two versions of Android released publicly that aren’t actually installed on many devices.


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  • Jhmtaylor

    Disagree. The big vulnerability of Android is not rapid development but fragmentation of it’s operating system. With the passing of time the problems will become more obvious. The answer is for Google to ensure manufacturers who use Android to release updates for Android in a timely manner. It is clearly not a priority for manufacturers. If they do not address this problem I predict the growth of Android will falter and IOS will be the dominant system

    • And rapid release cycles are making the fragmentation worse.


  • Graham Laight

    If your phone is working, there’s no need to upgrade the OS.

    Stever Robbins, a time management expert, used to fervently update all his PC applications as soon as new versions came out. After giving it some thought, he now updates software once a year.

    • But how do you define working? What if a security related vulnerability is found in the current version of Android you are running that makes surfing the web dangerous? You can still make phone calls but you can’t say the phone is working.

      Also what if the current UI has some “features” that drive you crazy but they have been re-worked in a later version. Can you say your phone is working?


      • Time2Key

        If there is a security related vulnerability then it will almost definetly still work, why wouldnt it?? The vulnerability would probably be very minor, Google will probably patch the vulnerability somehow through a market update, and if Google don’t then because its related to surfing the web you can just download a new browser and your phone is perfect again in 5 minutes. Not only that, but has such a security vulnerability ever been discovered???

        Of course your phone is working if there are UI features you don’t like. Also, people tend to get used to UI features and dislike change which is why you see many posts on the internet of “my phone updated and i dont like this, etc”. I would say from experience that people dislike UI features in new OS releases more than their current OS on average.

        So yes, you can definetly say your phone is working in both the cases you have given. Plus these are both hypothetical cases anyway!

  • Faceless_void99

    i think they should make another ics with low usage of ram so everyone can have it

    • That gets my vote too!



  • Maarten Van Giel

    I think instead of making a new Android 5.0, I think they should continue on improving ICS, like they did to Android 2.X . Fixing bugs and ensuring backwards compatibility is a thing that needs a lot of attention, which unfortunately Google is not very good at (not really google, but the phone companies who refuse to update their older devices).

    • In a nutshell that is what I think too!!!!



  • Cryptodigital

    I could be mistaken but I think that apps made for 2.x will usually run on 4.0 just like on honeycomb. I am running 4.0.3 on my archos 80 g9 tablet and all my apps run fine. That includes ever note and others… I expect the same would be true for phones running 4.0 but like I said I’m not certain, don’t know too much about this stuff at that level… I also wanted to add that ics rocks! I wouldn’t want them to not release an os just cause it’s too soon. Within reason I don’t believe there is a such thing as too soon. I love how fast the tech world progresses and I hope it keeps doing so. I also love gingerbread on my dx2 and bionic and am not in any rush to get ics on those phones but if the upgrade comes… hey, I won’t complain! As for jelly bean all I can say is bring it.. I can’t wait…

  • nalij

    I would just like to point out that I have a first generation HTC Incredible and I am currently running ICS on it.

    Although this is because I have unlocked the device and updated the ROM, something that not everyone wants to or can perform.

    But nevertheless my phone is from May 2010 (OK so 5 months after 2009 ended) but it is very capable of running ICS. The problem is that manufactures do not want to update there older devices, instead it makes more financial sense (for them) to have you purchase a new device to get the new operating system.

    And that’s why we should all love the open source developer community!

  • Sunil

    I actually made a comparison of ICS with Windows Vista and then stubled upon your page! A coincidence..! What you have written is true. I recently upgraded to an ICS custom firmware and used it for two days. I am going back to GB tomorrow. Can’t live with the slow & laggy ICS for now. (HTC Desire)

  • Nn7201

    Google should not only think about apple as a competitor but think like Microsoft with it’s updates. Now before you go “This isn’t about Microsoft” think when Microsoft release the new windows everybody has it, most people now have windows 7.

    If Google just took the best form all three thin it would destroy they other too. With the best I mean the control that apple has, the “smart” that Google products have, and the constant bug fixes that windows has.

  • Curtis Coburn

    ICS for the win. I’m going to wait until the next Samsung Galaxy Nexus comes out, because it will have JB.

  • kraytex

    Isn’t Jelly Bean not going to be out until Q4 of 2012? Thats a whole year after ICS came out.

    I for one don’t want Google’s Android Development team to stop developing Android, just because manufactures and carriers aren’t updating their devices.

  • adam tiffany

    And that’s why I run 4.0.4

  • Private Private

    The delay in adaptation/adoption seems more like a “marketing meets technological progess meets freedom of open source.”

    The phone companies are stuck in the last two decades of marketing where technology was withheld and release in small progressive steps. The acceleration of technological advancement and the subsequent freedom of access to this technology has changed the parad

  • I thought I remember Verizon saying that the Razr ICS update would be in the first quarter this year. Well that ends today. So instead of releasing it, today a Verizon update schedule was “leaked” showing a date of 5/21. My brother’s had the phone since the first week it came out and everyone stated it was one of their flagship models and would be getting it very soon but no later then the first quarter.

    I can only hope Google can utilize Motorola’s lineup to kick these device makers and carriers butts into gear. Absolutely ridiculousness how long they take. You would think that they were each all building a mobile OS from the ground up!

  • Eodj

    You used the wrong percentage. The apple 77% you noted was about “OTA eligible” devices… the actual number of overall adoption is later in the article at 61%.

  • Brandon

    google needs to stop releasing so much versions per year cause older and low end phones will be nothing but out dated….i have an lg gt540 optimus and it feels very out dated with its 2.1 android version….but i stick with it cause i love it….i want to buy the htc one x as my replacement but when jelly bean comes out i don’t think it will come for my one x…this is just like bb os software you can’t update your device to the newest thing it sucks…this is why apple reins supreme android needs to step up the game and stop making so many versions so fast…ironic right? maybe if they made one version per year and like a final version for example 4.0 or 5.0 or 6.0 and make it very stable and spend alot of time on them just like what apple does…then i would not hesitate to own any android device

  • I prefer a faster development than Apple does with iOS because it fixes things up faster and brings new things faster.

  • Clovehobel

    its too fast last i think they could built a android 13 after 5 years… hahahaha they dont even think that previous versions have some difficulties that needs to be repaired via upgrading to 2.1 2.3 2.4 like that its too fast ice cream sandwich would be down after a year! oh no!

  • tspx23

    I cannot go into a store and buy an andorid phone with froyo. Maybe like one to two years ago… and considering that froyo only has about 25% of market share that’s not bad.

    In regards to ICS its going to be hard to upgrade all devices to that software as the older phones hardware does not support it. It is also a completley different environment so it is taking manufacturers a while. The jump from 2.3 to 4.0 is huge, but any update from 4.0 to jellybean is going to be easily accomplished.

  • So why is it that Google does not release newer versions of the o/s for the devices?

    I am thinking about developing a Set Top Box that uses Google’s operating system, but it seems that from the people I talk to, gingerbread and ICS are very glitchy and limited. I hear the jellybean is suppose to be really good though.

    Any thoughts?

  • Sam

    google has to go the way of microsoft with automatic updates if your tablet can support it..or phone. this is the only way android will get stronger..if they dont people arent gonna update..its to complicated dowload this extract this put on to card and pray your tablet or phone works after it….the way to go is automatic updates and end the complexity of needing a pc to update the phones and tablets

  • Jaycee Santos

    Actually its not google’s problem… its the smart phones manufacturers. They should be the one who gets to develop android versions for their units or upgrade their units… Sony, HTC and motorola, releases android software upgrades regularly. I dont know about other phones. iOS releases were just minor upgrades… so whats the big deal? no new UI or whatsoever. Unlike Android releases, it gives new functions, better UI, apps, system stability and more…… Phone manufacturers also modify android OS depending on what unit they upgrade or release an update FYI…

  • Adrian

    Google should pull their finger out and fix MMS and SMS handling bugs in the native messaging app in Gingerbread. It’s like a “dump the OS on the open source community and run” sort of attitude. They’ll never compete with Apple once people learn about this; anyone wishing to buy more expensive handsets for the long term are likely to consider Microsoft or Apple devices instead.

  • ahmad

    im almost confused!whats the version on?