IPhones 180x More Likely To Be Current Than Androids. Not.
MG Siegler notes that few Android handsets run version 2.3, the most current version of Google's mobile platform, but the argument is disingenuous when he says that nearly 90 percent of iPhones are current. You can't count minor versions for one platform and not the other.
By Kevin C. Tofel, GigaOMI was disappointed to read one of the most disingenuous comparisons between iOS and Android version uptake this morning. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler, whom I genuinely enjoy reading, took Android to task, noting that only 0.4 percent of Android handsets run Gingerbread, or Android 2.3; the current version of the operating system. By comparison, 89.73 percent of iOS handsets are on version 4.x, meaning an iPhone is about 180 times more likely than an Android device to be running the most current operating system version. There’s a valid point to be made here, but (pardon the pun) one has to compare apples to apples. What exactly is Siegler comparing? One the iOS side, he’s counting the major version, iOS 4, and all other minor versions, i.e., 4.1, 4.2, etc. … Yet on the Android side, he’s specifically saying that Android 2.3 is the only one that matters. If you have Android 2.1 or 2.2, you’re behind and simply don’t count in Siegler’s world. Simply put: Counting the major and minor versions on one side the equation means you have to count them on the other side too. And what happens when you do that, using the most current Google Android dashboard numbers? You find that 87.4 percent of Android devices are on version 2.x, which is statistically the exact same as the number of iOS handsets on version 4.x. I could give Siegler’s article the benefit of the doubt if he’d never used Gingerbread and assumed it was completely different from Android 2.2, but he reviewed a Nexus S with Gingerbread. He knows the same thing I know because I’m running a custom Gingerbread ROM on my Nexus One: The differences are very subtle and the number of new features are relatively few. Questionable use of statistics aside, there is a valid point to be made here in terms of Android updates as compared to those from Apple for iOS devices. With the exception of the Nexus devices, the carriers, and not Google, shoot over-the-air updates to Android devices. By and large then, carriers control the Android experience, which is very different from how Apple controls the iPhone experience. Google tried to wrest this control from carriers with the Nexus One, but had to give up in order to get carriers to adopt the Android operating system.