Android 4.0 installs still well behind older versions

Android 4.0 was launched in December with its introduction inside the Galaxy Nexus smartphone from Samsung. Since then a number of other older smartphones and tablets have received the upgrade to "Ice Cream Sandwich". However, according to Google's own numbers, Android 4.0 still hasn't made much of an inroad six months after its launch.

According to information on the Android Developers page, Android 4.0 is installed in just 7.1 percent of all Android devices that have the Google Play download store installed. That compares to a whopping 70 percent of smartphones and tablets that have some version of Android 2.3 (also known as Gingerbread) inside. Even the older Android 2.2 (Froyo) still holds on to a 19.1 percent market share of all Android devices.

To be fair, Android 4.0 is doing better than the tablet-only Android 3.0, which is only installed in 2.7 percent of all Android devices. Also, Android 4.0's percentage has doubled since April as more and more older devices get upgrades. But with Google rumored to be working on Android 5.0 for a possible launch later this year, we do have to wonder if Android 4.0 will ever gain the traction in smartphones that Android 2.3 was able to do.

Via Phone Arena
Source: Android Developers | Image via Google

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I suppose its difficult for the manufacturers to make an ICS build for their phones.
There are too many different hardware configurations for Android phones.

Even if they roll out ICS the firmware may not be perfect.
Users may be influenced by the bad reviews and wait for a newer firmware version.
Updated my aunt's SGS2 to ICS and the bluetooth is very very unstable compared to the previous GB firmware.
Somehow I felt sorry for doing the upgrade.

For me this is just unacceptable. While on a contract my phone should be upgradable until that 2 year mark is over. If not maybe the carriers need to pick a better selection of phones from the manufactures.

Samsung not wanting to put ICS on the phones because of touchwiz is crap too.

I do not expect my phone or any tech to last forever. but I do expect it to last at least 2 years while its on a contract.

These results are skewed, when you have providers & manufacturers dragging there heels on the upgrades, like motorola who only upgrade there north american customers after 3-4 then waits another 6 months to upgrade the rest of there customers around the world who are running the same hardware in most cases, the only solution for a lot of people is to root there device (invalidating there warranty) and for average joe that just is not going to happen.

Samsung Galaxy S - running Android 4.0.4 - AOKP ROM.
No problem at all, the battery life has improved.

And they (Samsung) said that ICS won't work on Galaxy S...

WAR-DOG said,
Samsung Galaxy S - running Android 4.0.4 - AOKP ROM.
No problem at all, the battery life has improved.

And they (Samsung) said that ICS won't work on Galaxy S...

Wrong, they said it wouldnt run ICS + Touchwiz
CM/AOKP is around..100 megs, combined with TW its around 300...

Beyond Godlike said,

Wrong, they said it wouldnt run ICS + Touchwiz
CM/AOKP is around..100 megs, combined with TW its around 300...

It would run that too they are just lazy.

see what happend when because of the hardware you just CANT update the software?. They need to understand this because that chart wont change till the ppl move from their phone to another and what wont happend the sooner they want.

If google would put its foot down on the carriers, perhaps the updates would push faster, but, you have to remember the USA carrier model. Stall the updates, and when someone comes into a store (you have to remember the mentality of the average USA consumer), push them into a NEW phone which already has the updated OS....simply sign on the dotted line for another 2 years.

This actually isnt that bad. Google released an update about 6 months ago and it takes time for the phone manufacturers to do their own testing to make sure ICS works properly on their devices and to make tweaks if there are any problems. ICS is a big change over the previous versions and even developers and phone manufacturers have said such. Every week at least one more phone is getting the ICS update (just read a few min ago that 3 more devices got it this week) so these ICS market share numbers will just increase every day.

techbeck said,
This actually isnt that bad. Google released an update about 6 months ago and it takes time for the phone manufacturers to do their own testing to make sure ICS works properly on their devices and to make tweaks if there are any problems. ICS is a big change over the previous versions and even developers and phone manufacturers have said such. Every week at least one more phone is getting the ICS update (just read a few min ago that 3 more devices got it this week) so these ICS market share numbers will just increase every day.

Custom rom developers are faster than these manufacturers. Carriers and Manufacturers purposely hold back upgrades to try and influence ppl to get a new device instead.

Beyond Godlike said,

Custom rom developers are faster than these manufacturers. Carriers and Manufacturers purposely hold back upgrades to try and influence ppl to get a new device instead.

Custom ROM makers use ports from other devices or leaked copies of the OS to create a custom build until/if the official update gets released for the device. A lot of times, the ported version of the OS has lots of problems, stability issues, and things not working properly. So I wouldnt say that these builds are for the general public rather for those who knows the pros/cons of rooting and knows how to fix issues as they happen.

techbeck said,

Custom ROM makers use ports from other devices or leaked copies of the OS to create a custom build until/if the official update gets released for the device. A lot of times, the ported version of the OS has lots of problems, stability issues, and things not working properly. So I wouldnt say that these builds are for the general public rather for those who knows the pros/cons of rooting and knows how to fix issues as they happen.

That may be true, however, You think a company with access to source code before its even released to the public and a paid dev team could beat the XDA dev's.

I entirely blame HTC for this.. they sell phones like the HTC Desire, which are perfectly good phones that should run ICS well but never seem to get updated past the 2.3 series. Motorola are another culprit, I can run 2.3 perfectly on my old milestone but they took over a year to get it to 2.2 and then just gave up on it. Android device manufacturers are a complete joke and Google will lose out to Microsoft.

I feel you on that, man. I have a Desire Z that only got officially upgraded to 2.3 and that was it. I put ICS on it recently and it runs perfectly, no real lagging or anything. I'm starting to think a lot of manufacturers don't bother officially upgrading older phones out of sheer laziness and cheapness, because quite a few older phones are capable of running ICS.

zikalify said,
I entirely blame HTC for this.. they sell phones like the HTC Desire, which are perfectly good phones that should run ICS well but never seem to get updated past the 2.3 series. Motorola are another culprit, I can run 2.3 perfectly on my old milestone but they took over a year to get it to 2.2 and then just gave up on it. Android device manufacturers are a complete joke and Google will lose out to Microsoft.

HTC's problem was the vast amount of phones they were pumping out. Hopefully they will do better in the future as they are supposed to be cutting back on the number of devices they produce.

And a lot of average joes can root their phones these days. Its basically idiot proof. Step by step guides and most phones have a one click method and the phone is rooted. Its just people are afraid to void their warrantys even tho they can unroot and go back to stock if need be.

And WAY WAY to early to tell what MS will do with WP.

warwagon said,
Rooting FTW. My Samsung Fascinate has it!? Though I only use it as a internet device and not a phone.

I use my Vibrant as an MP3 player but installed AOKP ICS and it runs really smooth.

my Razr Maxx thru Verizon is STILL on 2.3.6 and it is a damn shame that I either have to continue to wait for 4.0.X or go thru the motions to root the phone which I don't really want to do. My ASUS T300 Tablet is on 4.0.x and is only about 4 weeks newer than my damn phone!!!

I have to admit this is a big reason as to why I am hesitant to buy in to Android. If I got a device I would want it to get at least 2 major Android updates.

I still think I will get an Android flagship device eventually (Like a Google branded phone from Samsung or something) but I'm hesitant about it.

Vice said,
I have to admit this is a big reason as to why I am hesitant to buy in to Android. If I got a device I would want it to get at least 2 major Android updates.

With most manufacturers you're lucky if you can squeeze out one.

Vice said,
I have to admit this is a big reason as to why I am hesitant to buy in to Android. If I got a device I would want it to get at least 2 major Android updates.

I still think I will get an Android flagship device eventually (Like a Google branded phone from Samsung or something) but I'm hesitant about it.

Just root them and install something like Cyanogenmod. Always worked for me.

.Neo said,

With most manufacturers you're lucky if you can squeeze out one.

That's fud, most manufacturers do at least one, I have HTC and I'm about to get my 2nd major update.

thealexweb said,

That's fud, most manufacturers do at least one, I have HTC and I'm about to get my 2nd major update.


Really it's not. It greatly depends on what phone you bought.

yowanvista said,
Blame manufacturers & those stupid U.S Carriers..

Ya, they are silly for taking so long to write new code, test and compile Android for each device. Something that is a few months of work by even a good team of developers.

You need to point the finger at Google that bought OS technologies and without a consistent structure, without vision, and without qualified engineers that have turned it into a sad joke.

As an OS engineer/theorist, Android would have been laughed at in 1990, and yet because of the 'Linux kernel' and the Java VM and Google shoving it, it is now golden in the eyes of people that just don't understand the underlying technology.

Oh come on, we get the exact same thing with each new release of android. 6 months on people are always "wondering if it'll ever gain traction" yet by the time we're 6-months into the next version, the previous version owns most of the share. If Jelly Bean gets released this december, I'm willing to bet that this time next year ICS will own 60+% of the market and JB will have less than 10%, with people wondering if it'll "Ever gain traction".

Kushan said,
yet by the time we're 6-months into the next version, the previous version owns most of the share.

Did you read the whole article? It's been six months, yet the previous version only has a 7.1% install base.. the overwhelming majority is still two major versions out of date.

Kushan said,
Oh come on, we get the exact same thing with each new release of android. 6 months on people are always "wondering if it'll ever gain traction" yet by the time we're 6-months into the next version, the previous version owns most of the share. If Jelly Bean gets released this december, I'm willing to bet that this time next year ICS will own 60+% of the market and JB will have less than 10%, with people wondering if it'll "Ever gain traction".

well alternatively, i think this article is asking whether ICS might get glossed over completely in favor of Jelly Bean, much like Vista and Win7

Max Norris said,

Did you read the whole article? It's been six months, yet the previous version only has a 7.1% install base.. the overwhelming majority is still two major versions out of date.

6 months since Google released it on its first device. Takes time for other manufacturers to do testing on their own devices

Max Norris said,

Did you read the whole article? It's been six months, yet the previous version only has a 7.1% install base.. the overwhelming majority is still two major versions out of date.

Uhh, the 7.1 percent is the amount of Android devices on ICS. The previous version, Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread, is still by far the dominate Android OS out there ATM. So most devices are only one version behind, not two.

Well the rate these updates are being held back by network carriers, I'm not surprised. Most people I know with Android phones haven't even had the chance to update, let alone want to install the update.

Exactly. T-Mobile UK is absolutely appalling when it comes to updates. I'm still waiting for them to push out the ICS update for my HTC Sensation, despite the fact that's it's already available on other networks.

Networks shouldn't have ANY say on operating system versions. Their job is to provide your service, not interfere with the way you use your phone. The problem is they're all desperate for force their own malware on their users. Apple is the only manufacturer to stand up to mobile networks and in many ways they've done it near perfectly.

A friend of mine on T-Mobile UK has a Galaxy S2. He didn't get the update when it was fist available, so he switched sim cards, downloaded the update and then switched back. Obviously not everyone is going to through those steps.

I'd have it on my A501 if I could, but Acer have dropped the ball on that one. Also, without doubt, most IOS apps on my IPAD 1 look better than their Android equivalents. Might be a product of the fragmentation. Easier to concentrate on one IOS version than multiple Android versions

Ahmed Nefzaoui said,
Even worse.. some still on 1.5

Indeed, one of my tablets is a cheapie that's stuck forever on 1.5. It cost next to nothing though, I expected zero support to begin with.

neufuse said,

because some people don't feel a need to upgrade?

Most low end devices cannot handle newer OS updates. I used to have the Motorola Backflip, in Canada we weren't supposed to even get 2.0 or 2.1 but I think we might have gotten it in the end.

I updated using CM# cant remember which, but it wasn't a good experience at all.

neufuse said,

because some people don't feel a need to upgrade?

There is no 'feel', they simply cannot as the code base no longer supports the hardware nor the low end hardware requirements.

Sadly with Android, this also means there are a LOT of devices out there with massive exploits and exposure points left wide open, as they are also not patched because of the versioning/update path.

fragmentation! fragmentation everywhere!

But no, in all seriousness. Android is not going to get updated as commonly as people would like. This is because it is trying to take a PC software model, and are putting it in the hands of device makers. unlike the PC where you can upgrade it to the newest version of what ever you like. To device manufacturers, this is a nightmare. people aren't going to buy their newest toys and gizmos if they can get new functionality just by installing a new OS update.

I sure hope that a new player comes into the market, that embraces their role in providing hardware, and treats Mobile devices as a personal computer. They provide the hardware, the consumer chooses the software.

Honestly I think any company using the multi-vendor model is going to face the same challenges.

On a brighter note, I'm looking forward to seeing Tizen devices.

Ad Man Gamer said,
fragmentation! fragmentation everywhere!

But no, in all seriousness. Android is not going to get updated as commonly as people would like. This is because it is trying to take a PC software model, and are putting it in the hands of device makers. unlike the PC where you can upgrade it to the newest version of what ever you like. To device manufacturers, this is a nightmare. people aren't going to buy their newest toys and gizmos if they can get new functionality just by installing a new OS update.

I sure hope that a new player comes into the market, that embraces their role in providing hardware, and treats Mobile devices as a personal computer. They provide the hardware, the consumer chooses the software.

This is NOT the PC Software model, you are confusing the Apple computing/device model.

The PC Model has ALWAYS been shoved by hardware features, and software needs, not OS needs. This is why Vista was so hard for the market, as it was a hard push to bump up RAM and GPU requirements for the full experience, just for an OS upgrade.

The last time you bought a new computer was it for the OS or for a faster CPU, or other new technologies? People buy hardware, not OS features, unless they are Apple fans.

The other missing piece is that Android's lack of mid version updates is dangerous leaving most users exposed to high risk vulnerabilities. Back in non-online days of computing, like Windows 3.1 or even Windows 95, this was plausible, but in a full time connected device/computer, this is highly unacceptable.

MFRs dislike the lack of Android updates as much as users, but the cost and the time to produce even a simple patch for each phone model is prohibitive. This is why so many MFRs are hoping WP7 is successful, as it eliminates all these issues for the MFR and lets them focus on hardware and not have to provide continued software maintenance and updates.

(Especially on the Android scale that require a lot of coding, testing, and compiling the OS for a simple security fix.)

Android doesn't have a 'model' beyond easy access for MFRs and no upfront fees.

The backend costs are far higher than anticipated, and the low quality of code that Google is providing cannot maintain an acceptable level of backward compatibility.


This not about pushing new hardware, this is about a low quality OS that Windows 3.1 had more advanced features 20 years ago, that has a horrible update path due to the kernel and OS model and poor level of performance bound to restricted OpenGL ES and the sad Dalvik JVM.


When you look at Android as an OS on its own, it would have been laughable back in 1995, and yet people are OK with it today. This is a massive amount of technical ignorance and misinformation. If Apple or Microsoft were to produce an OS at this low quality level, they would be the joke of the technology industry.


Seriously, a device OS that needs 1GB of RAM to run well, and still randomly closes processes and has virtually no GPU assisted drawing, which even Windows 3.0 offered in 1990. Really?

Look at the code quality and the scaling requirements in just 2 1/2 years. In 2009, Android was running on the original Motorola Droid. Today, the latest version of Android cannot run on this device. So even if a MFR wanted to shove 4.0 on this level of device, it would be a nightmare and horribly slow.

So a 2009 phone with a 600mhz processor, 256mb of RAM, and a GMA500 equivalent GPU. So this device technically is powerful enough to run Windows 7 (desktop) with Aero enabled, although the RAM would be a bit slow.

Yet by 2011 Google's Android code base will no longer run on this 'low end' of device.

This is where Android becomes a MFR and Carrier nightmare, as it is not even holding the 2yr contract cycle. The ability to keep a device from becoming a malware nest and causing network problems for carriers also is a major concern.


In PC terms, this is FAR from the PC model, when people are STILL running computers made in the 1990s, I have a 200mhz laptop with 80mb of RAM running Windows XP, that is faster at web browsing than an iPad. (The laptop was produced in 1997.)

Even today the latest version, Windows 7, still runs on 1ghz computers with 512mb of RAM, and does so rather well.

Android on the other hand even with 2.3.3 on 512mb of RAM and a 1ghz processor is marginal at best and trying to shove 4.0 on it is embarrassingly slow.

This is arguably the opposite of the PC model. This is a rather bad OS model that has gotten worse and people don't seem to know enough to care or be critical of what Google is producing sadly.

thenetavenger said,

...

The netavenger strikes again!
1. Trash talk Google - check
2. One sided MS bias - check
3. Make up facts as he goes - check (so many MFRs are hoping WP7 is successful - good one!)
4. Throw in some numbers to make it seem like he knows what he is talking about - check
5. Make the post really long so its not worth anyone's time to point out the multitude of inaccuracies - check

recursive said,

The netavenger strikes again!
1. Trash talk Google - check
2. One sided MS bias - check
3. Make up facts as he goes - check (so many MFRs are hoping WP7 is successful - good one!)
4. Throw in some numbers to make it seem like he knows what he is talking about - check
5. Make the post really long so its not worth anyone's time to point out the multitude of inaccuracies - check


Couldn't have said it better myself

I think you forgot..


Trash talk Apple - check

recursive said,

The netavenger strikes again!
1. Trash talk Google - check
2. One sided MS bias - check
3. Make up facts as he goes - check (so many MFRs are hoping WP7 is successful - good one!)
4. Throw in some numbers to make it seem like he knows what he is talking about - check
5. Make the post really long so its not worth anyone's time to point out the multitude of inaccuracies - check