Fragmentation is the flaming torch we have to face each time a discussion about Android updates or development is started. Google releases monthly distribution numbers of its operating system, which detail the percentages of devices running a certain version of the OS that have visited the Play Store in the past 7 days. They're usually met with collective groans as Froyo and Gingerbread cling on to dear life month after month.
But as Apteligent's monthly data report points out, Google doesn't take into consideration two important factors: devices that don't have the Play Store installed (ie Chinese handsets mostly) and device usage. A phone may access the Play Store, but it may not be actively used. Read More
With the end of another month, we now have another set of Android platform distribution numbers to look at. Updated today, the stats reveal that Gingerbread is still dominating by quite a large margin, with Ice Cream Sandwich climbing and Jelly Bean making its own gains. Take a look for yourself:
First up is Gingerbread. While its stranglehold on the distribution chart is still going strong, it has dropped off just a little bit since the last cycle, sliding from 60.3% of all devices to 57.5% last month. Ice Cream Sandwich, meanwhile, has climbed from 15.8% to nearly 21%, which definitely sounds promising. Read More
Android has become somewhat infamous for slow (almost unbearably so) updates for users of pretty much any non-Nexus device. In fact, when Jelly Bean was announced earlier today, the first thought on some users' minds was that their handsets haven't even tasted Ice Cream Sandwich yet.
Google is well aware of this issue, though - last year, it made an attempt (albeit a feeble one) to solve the problem with the Android Alliance. I think we all know how that turned out.
This year's I/O saw a related announcement: that of the Android PDK, or the Platform Development Kit. In short, it's a set of tools which will aid manufacturers in porting new versions of Android to their devices and which will be released to said manufacturers a few months before the public launch of each major Android update. Read More
Pop quiz: How long does it take for a new version of Android to be widely adopted? A new version of Android comes out, AOSP updates, OEMs adapt it to a myriad of devices, and carriers test the updates. That process. How long does it take?
It's a tough question to answer, mostly because Google doesn't provide data like that. The official site shows a 6 month version history, and that's it. Anyone looking for a decent amount of data is out of luck. There’s no way to view the long journey older Android versions have taken, and no way to see the bigger picture of how the update process eventually works out. Read More
Earlier today, when I read comments from Motorola executive Christy Wyatt over on PCMag explaining that lagging software updates could be blamed in large part on hardware variation, my first response was "really?" Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Motorola has iterated so much hardware in the last year that it has actually promised to cut down on the number of versions of Android handsets it will make.
Specifically, Wyatt made a point of the obvious fact that when Google releases the source code for Android, the only devices it will readily compile on fall into the "Nexus" category. Read More
Dear Android Custom ROM developers: I love most of you. Really. You're part of what makes Android so awesome, because you're so enthusiastic about it, and about making it better. Because of you, we have awesome things like CyanogenMod.
I want to give you some numbers. Let's just look at some popular Android devices:
- T-Mobile Galaxy S II: 9
- AT&T Galaxy S II: 8
- HTC ThunderBolt: 23
- DROID BIONIC: 7
- Epic 4G Touch: 10
What do these figures represent? The number of different custom ROMs found on the first page of the XDA forums for the above devices. The ThunderBolt's count comes from the pinned post on the ThunderBolt's forum with a listing of ROMs - and those are only the Gingerbread ones. Read More
One of the biggest problems that developers face with Android is the wide range of devices that run the OS. Different hardware, screen resolutions, Android versions, etc. make it extremely difficult for devs to ensure that their apps will run correctly on every single device. Apkudo is a service looking to change that by helping developers test their app on nearly 300 real-world devices.
Here's how it will work: devs submit their app to the Apkudo team, who will then run the app on some 289 different devices and return the results back to the submitting developer. Pretty awesome, no? Here's the real kicker: they are able to test every screen and feature on each app on all 289 devices in less than a minute. Read More
Apparently there are a whole slew of pissed off users because Google decided that the Nexus One will not be getting updated to Ice Cream Sandwich. As a result, an infographic was made to represent the fact that Apple can support its four devices better than manufacturers support their ump-teen Android devices. The infographic compares the all the iPhones of the past three years (so it excludes the 4S) to most Android devices of the same timeframe.
Let's have a look before we continue:
At first glance, it seems like a well put together graphic with attention to detail, right? For the most part -- yes. Read More
It looks like Facebook is continuing the juggling act with their Android app, as they have fixed a few bugs and added a few new features with the latest update. Here, I've got the short list for you:
New in v1.5.3:
* Added the ability to tag friends in status updates
* Added Find Friends feature
* Added the ability to add your phone number to your profile
* Various bug fixes
Not listed: the force close feature that kicks in all the damn time.
I have no idea who Bella is, but she's entirely too nice.
It's amazing how far back the negative comments go; the app was updated three days ago, but get this: the first eighty-seven pages of user reviews are from today as of this writing (it's only 7:15 AM EST on April 22), and every page essentially mirrors the above screenshot. Read More
If you’ve been an Android Police fan for a while, you may recognize my name from some of my past posts. Beyond that, I was mostly active behind the scenes until I dropped this little bomb when I departed earlier this year.
The reaction to that article was pretty much what I expected - it was divisive and the conversation surrounding it was often heated. Ultimately, though, my goal was accomplished: people were talking about the problems surrounding Android and software updates.
You may be wondering, “If that was your departure letter, why the hell am I reading this? Go away iFanboy”. Read More