Android Updates May Not Be Worth Much to Users

Android figure

Google may regularly release major Android updates, but manufacturers often take far too long to implement them. Does anyone care?

Do you care if you’ve got the latest and greatest version of Android?

How many average Android users even know whether they have the most current version on their device? Even if they do, how many will bother to understand the new features? And how many even care if they don’t have it?

The same is true for iOS. Sure, a lot of Apple fans will camp overnight to get the company’s latest and greatest. But I bet that the non-tech-savvy crowd is more excited about the brand and product than the underlying technology.

Fragmentation, Fragmentation, Fragmentation

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt dislikes the word “fragmentation.” To him, as well as many Android fans, that’s just another word for choice. And you can’t say he’s wrong. The beauty of Android is that it’s available on a vast array of devices with different screen sizes, form factors — and prices.

Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb

But fragmentation of OS versions is a different story. On the one hand, there are developers that say it’s relatively easy to support multiple versions. But others are reportedly losing interest in Android, in part due to OS fragmentation. (If you’re an Android developer, it’d be great if you could weigh in below.)

I suspect that the impact on users is minimal, too. Most apps in Google Play support Android 2.2 and above. In other words, most are compatible with close to 93 percent of all Android devices.

Of course, a small collection of apps only works with Ice Cream Sandwich. But just how many users care about whether or not they can use, say, Google Chrome?

Software updates, or a lack them, appear to be a major issue for the Android platform. But that’s because most of the people who complain and write about the issue, myself included, are tech enthusiasts. The average Joe, at least the ones I know, simply don’t care.

Early adopters and observers seem to have reached stage four of Louis Gray’s “Five Stages Of Early Adopter Behavior.” This is the point where they tout a problem that affects only a relatively small user base as an issue that impacts the entire product.

If I’m an Android user myself, I’d really love to have my device to improve itself with software updates, until I’m set to get a new smartphone. But do Google and its partners really care what I think about Android when they can enjoy the same success without taking people like me into consideration?

Photo: Yuyang226

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