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So We Didn’t Run That Fragmentation Chart

On Friday one of the big Android news stories was a chart showing the fragmentation of Android. Actually what it showed was how far behind some handsets were than others in upgrading to new versions of Android.

The upcoming release of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, is a hot button topic right now.  It was revealed by Android Product Development lead Hugo Barra, that the HTC/Google Nexus One would not receive an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

More after the break
On the issue of the Google HTC Nexus One not receiving Android 4.0 are we actually surprised? No? Did we expect the Google Nexus One in it’s 2010 spec glory to be upgradeable for the rest of eternity? Were we expecting the Nexus One to run Android 26, Zabaglione?

After two years in the field it was time to retire the Nexus One, well actually the Nexus One isn’t even retired, it’s still a solid piece of hardware and you’ll be able to get ROM’s running the best of the Ice Cream Sandwich features.

So now back to the upgrade list. It was published by the understatement. We ran a great piece from the understatement a couple weeks back. They, like us, had noticed that Google was mum on Android activations per day after releasing the 550,000 per day figure during the Q2 earnings call for Google back in July.  In that particular story, found here, the understatement suggested that the Android train should hit 1,00,000 activations per day October 20th or December 6, 2011.  On Google’s 3rd quarter earnings call, Larry Page, Google’s CEO, didn’t announce the activations per day, but rather said that Android had over 190 million devices.  The story was a pretty good one, and to some so was Friday’s story.

However, as Android Central’s Editor In Chief, Phil Nickinson, there were a lot of flaws in the upgrade chart.  The understatement’s editor Michael Degusta makes some good points, and yes all the information is actually correct. The devices outlined in the chart (which you can check out here at AC) and their upgrade statuses are correct. Sure it may upset some Android users but we can’t expect the likes of the HTC Hero, or the Samsung Moment to get upgraded outside of it’s means.

So you want to know why we didn’t run it? Afterall, good news or bad news, a story like that would attract a lot of hits. Well our reason for not running it is two fold.

On the one hand, Degusta puts up the argument that the iPhone is more upgradeable going back to the original iPhone back in 2007.  Degusta points out that the original iPhone was upgradeable 3 years after it’s release, again a true tale.

Phil puts up a great argument that we actually hold true as well.  Phil suggests that of course OEM’s aren’t going to upgrade all of their phones, and they’re not. OEM’s are going to upgrade their “flagship” devices whenever they can, but the party isn’t going to go on forever.

Our first dispute against the understatement’s chart is that Android makes much fuller releases. The steps from cupcake to eclair, to froyo, to gingerbread and now to ice cream sandwich are much more significant than the baby steps in iOS releases. Of course right now Siri is all the rage and a significant addition to the operating system but even an upgrade with siri doesn’t touch the amount of changes and enhancements you can see from even gingerbread to ice cream sandwich.

Our other argument is the fact that with 550,000 activations per day, or heck even 1 million activations per day there are a whole lot more Android customers, who for them, it simply doesn’t matter. Why wouldn’t it matter? Many of the Android customers are upgrading to the latest smartphone technology in the hardware and of course the OS as well. They’re picking up their Android devices on a 2 year agreement and believe it or not they’re going to keep that phone for two years.

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