For a few years now we’ve been told that Android’s Achilles Heal is a phenomenon called ‘fragmentation.’ Basically, that means the Android user base has so many different smartphone and tablet models sold by so many different manufacturers and cell phone companies that newer versions take years to penetrate into the market.
That contrasts sharply with Apple’s iOS for iPhone and iPad, which often see near 90-percent adoption on all devices within a year after the latest version is launched and before a new version is introduced. Well, no more. Apparently, iOS has a fragmentation problem, too.
What’s In A Name?
Our favorite imaginary article generation factory, also known as ZDNet, hires writers and editors who know how to wring out a link bait article with little effort, and even on slow news days. The latest to grace to ether is ‘iOS also has a fragmentation problem.’
If you mention fragmentation, people’s minds instantly go to Android, where developers have to cater for tens of thousands of devices from over a thousand makers, and the problem is getting so bad that big names are dropping support for all but the most popular Android devices. But fragmentation is also a growing problem for iOS.
Uh huh. Sure.
Oh, by the way. I have a bridge here in Brooklyn and I could let you have for a good price.
You see, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics (often used to support lies) and that’s the case here. Yes, boys and girls, guys and dolls, fragmentation is a bad problem among Android device owners, but worse for developers because there are so many different versions of both the OS and the hardware that it’s painful for developers to write for them all.
Android fragmentation is severe. Right now, according to data by Apteligent, only about 30 percent of devices are running Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” (the latest release), while 36 percent are running Android 5.0 “Lollipop”, and 24 percent are running Android 4.4 “KitKat”.
Let me just say it. Those numbers are bogus, but they’re useful to support a trumped up argument (I’ve waited for months to put ‘trumped up’ into an article; check that one off my to-do list).
That Android Marshmallow is on 30-percent of Android devices worldwide is absolutely laughable. Why? Because yet another statistic generator has the number at less than 10-percent (also, that’s the number you’ll read about the most) market penetration.
Regardless of the accuracy, it’s clear that Android has a true fragmentation problem that isn’t easily repaired.
What about iOS fragmentation. It’s growing. Or, is it? The aforementioned imaginary statistic company that puts Android Marshmallow at 30-percent market penetration puts iOS 9.3.2 (not quite the latest, but close enough) at 70-percent. What you might take from that is this; Android has improved and is catching up, while iOS is getting worse.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It just depends upon which set of statistics you can use to gin up a link bait article, and few are better than ZDnet. I did the math and iOS 9.x accounts for 89.5-percent of total iOS devices still in use.
More Statistics, Please!
Here’s how it’s looked at. iOS 8.x and iOS 7.x account for about 10-percent of all iOS devices in use. How many is that? Apple says it has about 1-billion iOS devices in use, so there could be as many as 100-million iPhones and iPads not able to upgrade to iOS 9.x.
See? That’s a fragmentation problem for Apple, too, right? Right? Uh… no. Here’s the deal. while all those older Android devices cannot be upgraded to the latest version of Android because of the so-called fragmentation problem which is an issue with so many manufacturers and cell phone companies in the mix, it’s likely that owners of older iPhone and iPad users already are running newer versions of iOS than the devices came with. But those devices are so old they just can’t upgrade to a new iOS version.
How is that a fragmentation problem?
If that’s fragmentation, then reductio ad absurdum, McDonald’s customers cannot upgrade their Quarter Pounder’s to Big Macs because they’ve already paid for the former even if they want the latter. There’s finite fragmentation and there’s infinite fragmentation and there’s the fragmentation that segregates Android OS versions from iOS versions.
Android has a growing fragmentation problem. Apple and iOS do not.