Data Monday: Mobile OS Fragmentation

by Luke Wroblewski April 22, 2012

The topic of mobile operating system fragmentation comes up often: how long do different versions of operating systems have to be supported, what are the implications many of OS versions and devices for mobile development teams? So I pulled together some data points that hopefully illustrate what's going on.

  • There have been six smartphone distribution updates since Android was released: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and most recently, Ice Cream Sandwich. Three versions have significant installed bases at present: Eclair (15 million), Froyo (54 million) and Gingerbread (114 million). (source)
  • Gingerbread has disseminated into the market much more slowly than either of Froyo or Eclair. In fact, it took Gingerbread about 17 weeks longer to reach a version distribution milestone (10%, 20%, 30%) than its two predecessors. (source)
  • 92.8% of Android users are on version 2 (2.1-2.3) of the operating system. Just 2.9% are on the latest version 4. (source)
  • 7 of the 18 smartphones Android smartphone launched in the United States before July 2010 never ran a current version of Android. 12 of the devices only ran a current version of Android for a “matter of weeks or less” before a new distribution was released. 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release. (source)
  • Netflix sees almost around 1,000 different devices using their video streaming service on Android every day. (source)
  • 99% of Imangi's customer support emails are people complaining their Android device is not supported. Imangi supports 707 Android devices. (source)
  • All of Apple's smartphones released in the past three years support the latest version of iOS. (source)
  • iOS 5 captured approximately 75% of all iOS users in the same amount of time it took Gingerbread to get 4% of all Android users. (source)
  • 15 weeks after launch iOS 4 was at 70% and iOS 5 was at 60% while Ice Cream Sandwich got to just 1% share at the same age. (source)
  • iOS devices have, on average, reached 10% version share 300 times faster than Android versions, 30% share 19 times faster, and 50% share 7 times faster. (source)