Fragmentation Remains An Issue In The Android Universe

This chart shows which versions of iOS / Android users of the respective platforms are currently using.

Two weeks ago, on March 29, Apple released iOS 11.3, the latest version of its mobile operating system iOS. While this was only a minor refresh of iOS 11 (iOS 12 will follow later this year), it still was accompanied by the usual growing pains, i.e. users complaining about bugs and other problems. 

While Apple would certainly prefer for its users not to have any complaints, the usual backlash after a new iOS version is released shows that its users are actually updating their devices, which is something that sets Apple’s mobile ecosystem apart from Android. Whoever purchases a new iPhone can count on his device getting new software for at least a couple of years. Android users on the other hand are often stuck with the version that comes pre-installed with their device, as many manufacturers don’t bother rolling out Android updates to their users. 

As the following chart illustrates, 93 percent of iOS devices run some version of iOS 11 (originally released in September 2017) or iOS 10 (September 2016). Android’s latest version Oreo on the other hand is installed on just 1 percent of all active devices, while 4 in 10 devices run on a system that is more than three years old. As a consequence iOS app developers find a rather unified playing field while Android developers have to work with a deeply fragmented system.

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