The myth of Android fragmentation vs. iOS

With my planned move to Android from iOS as soon as I can get my hands on a good LTE phone I get a lot crap from Apple fans about Android fragmentation and carrier updates and whatnot. I hear all the time about how iOS is better because you can get access to updates quicker. They have a point. When the latest version of iOS is released I can get it immediately (actually sooner since I’m an iOS developer). I know I can root an Android phone to get the latest versions but having to jailbreak my iPhone to get the features I want is one of the reasons I’m switching to Android and this just seems like it should be unnecessary (I probably will anyway).

So I was curious recently when I saw some stats regarding iOS version adoption: Developer stats say 90 percent of iOS device users run iOS 4.x! iOS 4 is the latest major version release from Apple. I wondered how Android stacked up and this is where I feel Android loses a little bit in the message.

What is the latest version of Android for phones? 2.3
How many users have it? 0.8%

Looks bad on the surface. However by using the same criteria in the iOS article let’s ask the question a different way.

What is the latest major version of Android for phones? 2
How many users have it? Nearly 90% (

So from a developer’s perspective I can count on the same percentage of iOS users to have the latest major version as Android OS users regardless of minor version updates. The problem is in the marketing of the OS. Android touts it’s minor releases as major ones. In my world version 2.3 isn’t supposed a major upgrade from 2.2. But they give them fancy names like Cupcake and Froyo and now it sounds like a major revision.

What it boils down to is two different update procedures that seem to result in similar statistics. With Android it is up to the carriers/manufacturers to release the updates and when they do it is OTA so everyone gets it. With iOS everyone (almost) has access to the latest version but you need to plug in to get it and that’s just not always going to happen.


How to Retrieve Your Application’s Version Number in Android

It’s sad that I even need to post this but I find it increasingly difficult to search for answers to Android SDK questions. All I wanted to do was display the application version in the about screen. This one took me 3 pages of Google results to get to the answer. I swear I know how to search but for some reason googling the Android SDK flummoxes me.

It’s only two lines of code:

PackageInfo packageInfo = getPackageManager().getPackageInfo(getPackageName(), 0);
String version = packageInfo.versionName;

You do have to catch a NameNotFoundException but that’s it. If you found this somewhere in the first 5 pages of Google search results then congratulations, you just saved 10 minutes of wading through useless and/or unrelated pages.

Apple Delaying LTE for iPhone Until 2012?

I realize that Apple was able to successfully delay a 3G iPhone for a year because of the lack of competition but the rumored delay of a 4G (LTE) iPhone for a year has me scratching my head. I know Apple likes to tout their user experience and there will be some initial concerns with LTE antenna performance and they were able to get away with it before thanks to a crappy smartphone market but I think they’re really making a mistake with this one.

How much would this impact market share? Let’s assume that an LTE version of the iPhone comes out during it’s usual release cycle in July 2012. That is 21 months from now. With Verizon making commitments to rolling out significant portions of their LTE infrastructure by the end of this year and AT&T by middle of next year how far behind will Apple be exactly? I’ve already decided that I’m likely to purchase a LTE smartphone next year be it iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7 (which is now even more likely thanks to UVerse integration). If Android and WP7 beat the iPhone to the 4G market by over a year you’re going to see some major hits to their market share.