Android fragmentation is a topic that repeatedly comes up in discussions of the Google-owned mobile operating system. In a recent interview with Business Week, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the conversation and revealed what he thought about the issue.
Cook calls the Android fragmentation a “growing problem” that increases exponentially. He points out that consumers are at a disadvantage because when they purchase a device, they enter into a contract that ties them to a company for a couple of years. When the time comes that they are done paying for the device, the operating system is already old, and it becomes older once the consumer decides to buy a new phone.
On the part of the developers, Android fragmentation is also an issue, according to Cook. To illustrate, he cites the task of fixing security issues for an older version, which he claims many do not do. Thus, the consumers who are using older versions of the operating system become more vulnerable against security attacks. The problem, says Cook, is getting bigger because the number of Android users is growing.
In relation to Cook’s ideas, Business Insider published the Android platform distribution as of this month. The largest percentage, 45%, is on Jelly Bean; 22% is on Ice Cream Sandwich; 31% is on Gingerbread; and 2% is on Froyo. For comparison, the same source says that within two days of the release of iOS7, 47% of iPhone and iPad users had already downloaded the update.
Google, however, is not taking the issue lightly. In fact, it is rumored that the next update to the operating system, called Android 4.4 KitKat, may attempt to address the issue. On the other hand, Rich Miner, one of the co-creators of Android, offers a different opinion. A few months ago, Miner had been quoted to have said that Android fragmentation is merely an overblown issue. He alleged that consumers are generally satisfied with the performance of their devices, and do not consider not having the latest version of Android on their device to be a huge problem.