Have Smartphones Manufacturers Failed to Keep up With Android?

AndroidWe know that Android manufacturers release more phones in a week than Apple has released in its entire history.

But the whole thing doesn’t end up in here, i.e. number of phones released during a time frame, instead smartphone manufacturers also have to keep these devices up to date and remove the software issues out. But updating software is a complex process in itself.

Over the past few years, Google has been releasing two Android OS updates every year on year (for the last couple of years at least). This means that the companies have to update their phones at least twice or thrice in their lifetime as the duration of support given by the company to any smartphone is 18 months, which means that the phone will be updated to all the versions of Android that are released during this time period.

This is not the case however. As the competition is tougher than ever, there are things like developing a smartphone and producing a suitable operating system for every phone so updating a product is not given much consideration.

This is the main reason why most Android smartphones are still stuck on Android 2.3 even though almost two months have passed since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released. And since Android 4.0 and 4.1 are new and still need some development and modification while being added as operating system of any mobile device, a lot of phones from big manufacturers like Samsung and HTC come with Android 2.3 pre-installed even now.

And we also know that since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich cannot run all that well on any underpowered single-core smartphone, Android 2.3 is still one of the most ideal OS for any budget smartphone.

Let have a look at History of Android Versions and usage market-share:

Version Release Date Usage Share (August 02, 2012)
1.5 Cupcake April 30, 2009 0.2%
1.6 Donut September 15, 2009 0.5%
2.0, 2.1 Eclair October 26, 2009 4.2%
2.2 Froyo May 20, 2010 15.5%
2.3.x Gingerbread December 6, 2010 60.6%
3.x.x Honeycomb February 22, 2011 2.3%
4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich October 19, 2011 15.9%
4.1.x Jelly Bean July 10, 2012 0.8%

Source: Wikipedia

Google should learn from Apple at least in this case. It has been three years since iPhone 3GS was announced, but still the phone was updated to iOS 6 by Apple (without the complete features though, but that’s because of the hardware), which is quite an amazing feat in itself. This thing also makes iPhones worth buying a year or two after launch when their price has fallen because they will still have support.

Market is moving fast and Android is keeping up the pace with the competition by introducing several new features but in the process, Google and its OEMs must not forget that they not only have to churn out good phones but also have to update them.


  • Hassan

    One can easily update his mobile to latest Android OS, available almost for every handset but the OS will have lots of bugs.

    • Shahid Saleem

      There will be problems but not due to bugs.

  • Apple only have 1 or 2 mobile handset in production like these days iPhone 4/4S so its really quite easy to manage single model for an iOS.

    On the other hand Android’s have got 100 if not 1000 sets lines up and same no. are on the piple line to update/upgrade and yes i agree there is no clear policy from Google when they going to slow down the pace for launching new OS’s.

    To me i think Google should launch new OS’s after every 2 years, bcz what happens is most of users are not able to taste the new OS and by the time their updates comes near to their phone Google announces new version.

    ICS hasn’t been rollout on most of users’ phones and JB is now there and don’t foget “Key Lime Pie” is coming up next…

    • tipStack

      “Apple only have 1 or 2 mobile handset in production like these days iPhone 4/4S so its really quite easy to manage single model for an iOS.”
      The point was 3GS still supports iOS6.

      • Yes I know that mate! but my point was, Apple only has to deal small no. of hand sets as compare to huge Android base which is increasing almost on daily basis.

        • tipStack

          Okay but on the other hand android has many manufacturers and its responsibility of every manufacturer to support their handsets for OS upgrades even in future and that’s what exactly this post is about to.

  • Shahid Saleem

    Why does that use Wikipedia as a source? Use

    http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

    It updates with the latest 2-week info.

    • Vicky

      agreed!

  • Shoaib

    Although it is possible to update iPhone3GS to latest firm ware. I have personally tried it only upto iOS5 and phone was dead slow only in a couple of days after installing some applications like skype, facebook etc and there is no official way to downgrade iOS (only in some cases when you have a complete backup with itune in your pc…) So you can still update iPhone3GS but soon it becomes headache.

  • When you have resources like xda-developers, who needs to wait for official upgrades.

  • Ascetic

    thats right but most of android users dont rely on stock basd android versions. as android is open source project there is lot of variations present already on dev forums. even though ICS 4.0 dev is in progress for htc explorer which is low end android phone.

  • Hello, not matter what product of google is underdiscussion, one is of vital importance that GOOGLE solutions took hell of resources like google crome sucks the resources… andriod sucks the battery resource.. no comparison with apple. Apple is all time excellent,reliable,quality and reliable. 3GS is still able to upgarde to ios5.1 but htc/saamsung budget phones running with 2.3, only upgradable to 2.3.5…shitman… i think Google is on a move to suck monies from the pockets of people as well

  • Gags

    Well, number of stakeholders involved in android are much much more then apple. So, you can not blame just google for anything.

  • JZEEK

    In my opinion Android is going in the right direction but Mobile manufacturer Companies have to keep up with Android and bring more powerful products to support the OS…

  • rafay

    does upgrading u r phone really until n unless 1ur satisfied with the performance of ur fone.
    and its upto the manufacturer to update u r fone not google. Google releases new features and fixes bugs but its the manufacturer that optimises the phone to its hardware so basically its not googles.

    • Exactly, but if Google slow some pace of every year new version to once in a two year then big no. of chunks end users able to convert on newer verion.

      • Shahid Saleem

        It is not in the interest of manufacturers to support new software on old phones. they make money from SELLING phones not supporting old phones.

  • Well technically its not so
    GingerBread is a SmoothRunnig Os on most of the devices with processor More then 700Mhz,and it works like a charm on a Ghz processor like Htc Desire Hd.But it Doesnt mean that 1Ghz Processor is less for ICS,The new htc desire series includes 1ghz processor with Official ICS pre installed on them

  • Faran

    I am using Samsung Galaxy Tab II which comes with 2.3.x Gingerbread version of Andriod. What could I say is the most pathetic gadget in terms of email client I have ever used. I cannot even format the emails and cannot even do inline response to email received as it doesn’t allow editing the contents of emails received. Several times, I have to face “Force Close” alert while checking emails. They are only promoting their gmail application with it. NOT SUITABLE FOR BUSINESS USERS AT ALL. Maybe anybody can share his emailing experience who used the latest version of Andriod.

    Before this I was using iPhone 3g which was also at moderate level for the emailing purposes. But before that I have been using BlackBerry, which is the best thing for the emailing purpose I experienced so far. Only risk factor is that your emails first go to BB server and then to the receiving party.

  • fakhra

    My Friend upgraded his phone but then it really didn’t help him . now he offered me to buy hers .Mobile people suggest me should i go for this deal http://goo.gl/kjoco

  • I am not an Apple Fan boy , I just want a better product and support.Actually this is the main reason why Apple Still manages to win over Android, Google issues a new OS every 6 months and most of the devices still on 2.3, I do not understand the hurry in releasing the OS , You develop it to the state that after the release only minor fixes are needed which can be pushed OTA to the smart phones, instead Google has created a fisco of so many OS version and so many devices that a normal consumer do not even understand and opts for ios …I mean people have Things to do other then keep whining about the buggy OS and try to keep upto date every 6 months .. in this prospective Apple is too good.
    Google needs to stop creating this mess other wise there can be hundred thousands of phones by manufacturers still with same functionality and no one gives a c#%6 About them…

    • Ali Amjad

      I totally agree. I have been using Android since 2.5 years now and I am sick of these updates. I also dont like the fact that after a few months, you flagship android phone become obsolete