Why is Android so complicated? Not necessarily to use, but to find the best variation of it. In the world today there are billions of smartphones being used, and almost all of them have a different skin or set of skins provided by the phones manufacturer. More important than all the tens of thousands of skins, is the multiple versions of Android.
In 2010 I believe it was, Android 2.3 Gingerbread was released. During the first year of launch, over half of all the smartphones running Android were upgraded to this software. For users of these phones, it was great! They got the best of the best, top of the line Android experience. Well unfortunately, things have changed since then.
Apple has the right idea. They put out 1 or 2 new phones, 2 or 3 quarters apart almost every year. This is nothing compared to Android’s 15 or so top of the line smartphones released within a few months or weeks of each other. When Apple upgrades to a new software (iOS version) they keep everybody in the loop. Obviously after 2 or 3 years, they take older models out of the loop. Like when they decided to take the iPod Touch 2nd generation out of the lineup for iOS 5 a couple of years back. Other than that, each and every iPhone user gets the same experience as the next.
Android phone manufacturers could learn a lesson or 5 from Apple. 2.3 Gingerbread still rules the majority of the smartphone market, for cheaper devices anyways. There have been three versions of android released since 2010. Honeycomb (3.1), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), and Jelly Bean (4.1-4.2). By the way (if you haven’t noticed) Google is notorious for naming their software after sweet foods. With almost 60% of the Android market on Gingerbread, that leaves little room for any of these more recent versions too be added. Although, with Google’s recently released numbers, both ICS and Jelly Bean combined now make up roughly 45% of the smartphone market. HUGE improvement from the first 3 quarters of 2012.
There is one small exception to this ‘upgrade snag’ I guess you would call it. Any phone produced by Google. The Google Nexus line receives virtually almost every upgrade that comes rolling down the line. So if you already have one of the Nexus devices, then you are living the good life. Congratulations. For those that aren’t in that field (which is about 95% of Android users), you may have to wait a while longer.
So while there are a ton of phones out there still running Gingerbread (which is not a bad software, mind you), the number of devices that run the newest version(s) of Android is quickly rising! So don’t fret, help is on the way, and if you are getting ready to upgrade your phone to a newer one, I advise that you get your hands on the Google Nexus 4 if possible. It is quite the device, with frequent updates.
What’s your flavor? Leave a comment below with your favorite version of Android!