Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

For Android Users, 2012 Is Still the Year of Gingerbread

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the so-many-other-sweets-to-explore dept.

Android 257

First time accepted submitter brocket66 writes with this excerpt from BGR: "Three major revisions of Google's Android operating system have launched since the company released Android 2.3 more than 21 months ago in December 2010, but Gingerbread is still the most widely used version of Android by a wide margin. A study conducted early this year by graphic designer Chris Sauve projected that based on Android adoption trends up to that point, Android 2.3 Gingerbread would be the dominant version of Android in 2012 despite the fact that Android 3.0 Honeycomb and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich had already been released. Now, as the fourth quarter of 2012 approaches, data from Google's Android version distribution tracker confirms once again that those projections were accurate."

cancel ×

257 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41270933)

1.3 million Android activations a day. [techcrunch.com] I guess we like it this way.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271107)

Speak for yourself. I like a having a hackable smartphone or tablet that lives outside the Apple walled garden. I do not like that developers are being forced to code to an API that Google froze as obsolete almost two years ago. Nor do I like the fact that a few braver developers are writing cool apps for the current API, but IU can't run them because phones I can afford are stuck on Gingerbread.

Android phone sales may be fine now, but technology is a grow-or-die marketplace. No matter how well it's doing now, Android doesn't have a future if it's stuck like this.

Re:So? (0)

Price of Goodnes (2725191) | about 2 years ago | (#41271185)

WOOOHOOOO. It's in the game. EA Sports.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41271197)

If these devs are coding for obsolete systems that is their own damned fault, since if you'll look at any eTailer like Amazon or Tigerdirect the ones being sold with 2.x are the CCC (Cheapo Chinese Crap) that frankly won't run anything heavier thanks to low end CPUs and pathetic amounts of RAM!

If the devs are really giving a shit about 2.x they may as well go write for Symbian feature phones, because THAT is who all these CCC pads and phones are marketed towards. I have no doubt I'll be picking one of those up for my dad, he just wants to try out the pad form factor and see how it fits him before getting a Transformer. Seeing as how the transformer is $500 with keyboard dock it'd be stupid to shell that out if it turns out he can't get used to the touch way of doing things so picking up some $89-$99 CCC makes sense, then if he likes the FF he can get the Transformer and hand the CCC to his GF who does nothing but FB all day anyway.

So I don't see what the problem is, most devs I'm sure are writing apps that won't run on the low end ARM chips the CCC units running 2.x have anyway, so targeting that version would just be retarded. IIRC the first dual core units all ran 3.2, so I'd target that as a baseline and if they are running something so junky that it can't even run 3.2 then they really should get something that isn't CCC.

Re:So? (1, Offtopic)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 years ago | (#41271255)

Hairy, that reads like one of my posts when I've been drinking. It's Friday and I'll give you a pass since I'm in my cups too.

Here is news that will shock you. I now have a job as a Windows System Administrator. Yes, nethead, that freaking FreeBSD geek, went and got hired as a Winders guy.

I'll send you an email and tell you all about it.

-Joe

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271305)

I have no doubt I'll be picking one of those up for my dad, he just wants to try out the pad form factor and see how it fits him before getting a Transformer. Seeing as how the transformer is $500 with keyboard dock it'd be stupid to shell that out if it turns out he can't get used to the touch way of doing things so picking up some $89-$99 CCC makes sense, then if he likes the FF he can get the Transformer and hand the CCC to his GF who does nothing but FB all day anyway.

In my experience the cheap tablets, especially those running on the phone OS's, don't deliver even a similar experience to a real tablet. So he might not like the cheap one, but might like a real one like the Transformer.

I own a Xoom, and can't stand trying to do anything with a cheap tablet.

Plus I believe most of the devices running 2.3 that the article is talking about are referring to phones not tablets, like my Exhibit 4g that most likely will never be receiving an official update to 4.x.

Re:So? (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271325)

Oh please. It's the developer's fault that most people don't want to spend $500 for a phone?

Re:So? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41271911)

if you'll look at any eTailer like Amazon or Tigerdirect the ones being sold with 2.x are the CCC (Cheapo Chinese Crap) that frankly won't run anything heavier thanks to low end CPUs and pathetic amounts of RAM!

All my cheapo Chinese crap phones are running 4.03 at least.

There's no real problem, this is just clickbait hype. Phones are lasting longer than 2 years, and normal people don't upgrade their OS. That's being spun as an issue.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271209)

It's a combination of problems.

1)Too many versions too quickly. 2 major releases (3.0 and 4.0) in too short a timespan

2)Not enough work on backwards compatibility. If I use the 4.0 features, there's no good fallback. Java doesn't help them here- in C++ I could #define in 2.x and 4.x blocks, Java requires lots of reflection aware code because there is no conditional compilation. Or you need to set up special stuff with antenna and the like, which is hard to get working nicely with all the tools.

2a)The backwards compatibility they do have is pretty broken. Unless the support library improved, it couldn't do simple stuff like make PreferenceFragments work like PreferenceActivities in 2.x very well. So as a dev I can't code to 4.0 and use libraries to emulate features.

3)The ratio is still out of whack with more 2.x phones sold than 4.0. This is due to so few phones being upgradeable

4)For whatever reason, I don't see a lot of open source stepping in to help this. On the PC, there's be open source libraries galore to step into the gap. On mobiles, not so much. I think the idea of easy monetization via ads (regardless of how much you actually make) has helped to kill the open source movement on mobile phones. Plenty of free help out there, but not much in the way of quality libraries. But these are the people who generally would be jumping on new features. Without them, its mostly commercial devs and they just want to target the mass market.

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

Octorian (14086) | about 2 years ago | (#41271327)

1)Too many versions too quickly.

Thus is life in the mobile world...

2)Not enough work on backwards compatibility. If I use the 4.0 features, there's no good fallback. Java doesn't help them here- in C++ I could #define in 2.x and 4.x blocks, Java requires lots of reflection aware code because there is no conditional compilation. Or you need to set up special stuff with antenna and the like, which is hard to get working nicely with all the tools.

This is something I have far too much experience with from the world of BlackBerry. I've done both preprocessor hacks (which is supported by the build tools, but Eclipse hates), and fancy crap with libraries/pseudo-reflection/design-patterns (which lesser developers might cringe at figuring out). Either way, its not fun. It basically means that you have to use any new features "by exception", versus "by design", which makes it very hard to fully leverage them if the intent is to make your life as a developer better.

3)The ratio is still out of whack with more 2.x phones sold than 4.0. This is due to so few phones being upgradeable

Or due to carriers not bothering to push updates, when the vendors have. Or due to users not knowing/caring that they should upgrade. Or due to people clinging to their ancient phones and developers having a hard time justifying cutting them off if they want to maximize adoption. Regardless, having so many players between "OS upstream source" and "end user's device", you're pretty much doomed to this problem.

4)For whatever reason, I don't see a lot of open source stepping in to help this. On the PC, there's be open source libraries galore to step into the gap. On mobiles, not so much. I think the idea of easy monetization via ads (regardless of how much you actually make) has helped to kill the open source movement on mobile phones. Plenty of free help out there, but not much in the way of quality libraries. But these are the people who generally would be jumping on new features. Without them, its mostly commercial devs and they just want to target the mass market.

On the PC, you also have continual upgrades to common libraries separate from the whole OS, and sometimes even multiple versions of libraries installed. Additionally, the upgrade cycles of the hardware are almost completely separated from the upgrade cycles of these libraries. (at least in relation to the time scales we're talking about)

I also agree that the mobile business models have greatly discouraged open source. Its quite frustrating, too, since it places far more burden on the shoulders of the platform vendor to provide everything. There's also this idea that you're supposed to try and make money off any and every mobile project. Regardless of how likely you are to actually succeed, you're looked down upon if you don't at least try. And often trying, means your effort isn't going to be open source at all. (Personally, I'd rather make something open-source and gain the community benefits than try to make an insignificant pittance off it as closed-source. If I'm closing something down, its because the monetary benefit is real and not imagined.)

Re:So? (5, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271435)

And sadly, I don't think that the platform vendor is keeping up. I've recently started heavily writing my own reusable components, with the idea of spitting out a lot of small easy apps (to try and force myself to think in those terms, since I usually dream up giant multi-month efforts). Some of the things I had to write myself were ridiculously common, yet every damn dev is writing their own.

*Splash screen (and side note: the tutorials I found on the web on how to make one were all horrible, involving spawning threads and making sleep calls).
*Intents to just play full screen video, or audio and matching image.
*An Image widget that can use a resource or a URL as the source.
*A wrapper around their gyroscope and accelerometer to form a compass sensor. Something they used to have (ORIENTATION_SENSOR) then deprecated.
*A single function call method to get a URL as a string (or as an image, etc).
*A view that displays the output of the camera, and manages requesting access to the camera when the activity is paused/unpaused. Really, how the hell did they miss this?
*A JSON parsing library that will take JSON and an object definition and use reflection to turn the JSON into a java object.

Really, most of these are extremely common. Most aren't that hard, only the compass took significant time, and that because I needed to figure out the linear algebra and then clean up the sensor data. But google isn't providing it, and there aren't any good common Android libraries so everyone is rewriting most of these. And sure, some of these have limited use, but there's still ridiculous amounts of time being wasted by rewriting these thousands of times. Give us better tools to get out jobs done quickly, and we might have time to play with more advanced features.

Re:So? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271385)

You make a lot of good points (I disagree with you on 4) but I don't seem them as central to the problem. Which is: that most phones are being sold with Gingerbread, If these could be magically upgraded to 4.whatever, the problems you cite wouldn't matter so much.

Re:So? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271483)

That would help, but you'd still see at least a 6 month lag before major uptake by devs I think.

Out of curiosity, what part of 4 do you disagree with? That open source libraries aren't available (if so, links please), or that lack of libraries is a major problem?

Re:So? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271551)

Was 4) about Linux? Because in the Windows world, I don't see a lot third-party OS developers jumping in on this kind of issue. Maybe they do in the Linux community, but isn't that the way all Linux problems get solved?

When you get a lot of different companies and people working together to keep a platform alive (Linux, Apache), then you do get a lot of people stepping up to solve random problems. Not the case when the platform basically belongs to one company, even when that platform is open source.

Re:So? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271883)

No, it was pretty general. When I'm developing a desktop app, the first thing I do for any large piece of routine or semi-routine functionality is to look for an open source library that can either be used as a whole or as a template for how to do it. The majority of the time there's something close. That includes times I develop for Windows. This just doesn't exist in mobile, although some Java libraries can be made to work on Android, depending on what parts of the Java standard library they rely on.

Re:So? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41271671)

no conditional compilation, but you can have conditional execution.
also some of the ui things have actually backports/compatibility packages to 2.3.

it really isn't that big of a deal, really. if it were 2.0 or earlier that was dominant, that would be a problem.

anyhow, in mobiles cheap "1 generation behind" phones are _ALWAYS_ sold twice the amount of the newest thing(even apples previous models have actually made up a significant portion of their sales..). why? because people like cheap.

Re:So? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271899)

Yeah, but to get it to compile with conditional execution you have to wrap everything in reflection. Which bloats the code and reduces readability significantly. Better than nothing, but nowhere near as convenient.

As for the UI backports- some do. Most don't, or have half working solutions. I haven't looked into them in a while, maybe things have changed. But even for the limited usecases we had at my last job we decided the support library was just not feasible.

Re:So? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271221)

Yes, but in reality this techie nonsense about API versions is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Samsung is shitting on the face of every other Android seller and is almost the only vendor actually profiting from the platform.

PeeCee Dweebs naively assumed that the Android market was exactly like the PC, except with an open sauce OS. No, because the company who plays the role of Intel and assembles most of the CPU/chipsets also happens to be the the dominant player in the retail market -- Samsung.

So this Android 2.x thing is not just companies temporarily being retarded with the OS deployments, but actually the result of Samsung ass-reaming them all the way to the bank. The endgame is obvious. Samsung and Google/Motorola will be the two big players fighting Apple and maybe MS/Noikia. Everyone else is building 21st century dumbphones.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41271313)

Last Christmas it was only 700,000 units per day - and it was the holidays. June was but 3 months ago, and it was only 900,000 then. Now it's the off season and 1.3 million per day. With a ramp to holiday volumes we could see a 3x year over year increase. I would say that Android is still seeing considerable growth.

Just Android's increase in sales per day over the last three months is the entire market for the wildly successful iPhone. Nearly 100% increase in just nine months, from an immense base. This sort of growth is supposed to not even be possible. At some point sheer volume dominance kicks in, and the thing becomes hard (but not impossible) to displace.

I don't know what you think good growth is, but if this ain't it everybody else in the smartphone industry is toast.

I like ICS just fine on my Transformer I bought on launch day, but Gingerbread works just fine on my 2 year old phone. At renewal time I'll get a phone with JellyBean. In the meantime, all the apps I like work great on both.

Re:So? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271337)

Try reading the last sentence in my post again, assuming you read it the first time.

Re:So? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41271419)

I just don't agree it's stuck. And I don't agree that this is a big deal at all.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271533)

Most developers are using a API that was supposed to be phased out 2 years ago, and most new phones still have that same 2-year-old API? How is that not stuck?

Re:So? (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 years ago | (#41271977)

Speak for yourself. I like a having a hackable smartphone or tablet that lives outside the Apple walled garden. I do not like that developers are being forced to code to an API that Google froze as obsolete almost two years ago. Nor do I like the fact that a few braver developers are writing cool apps for the current API, but IU can't run them because phones I can afford are stuck on Gingerbread.

Android phone sales may be fine now, but technology is a grow-or-die marketplace. No matter how well it's doing now, Android doesn't have a future if it's stuck like this.

Okay, but your first and second paragraph seem to be in opposition to one another. The reason why there are two popular API:s, one which you can't afford to buy hardware for, is that technology is a grow-or-die marketplace. Growing pains are growing pains.

You'll probably find cheap 4.x phones in Q1 2013. If you're more than a hobby developer and you can't get your hands on the latest tech then it's your boss who's to blame, or your own planning if you're freelancing.

Re:So? (2)

Instine (963303) | about 2 years ago | (#41271987)

but it's not behind. It has grown. Ahead of the market. It's waiting there for the market. The market is what is slow (comparatively) here. I have a Google Nexus One, running Android 2.2. Some years old now. It is still a miraculous little tool. I have no need to upgrade. In fact I have an iPhone4 and never (literally, other than to check what it did) used it. The iPhone is heavier, shorter on battery life, and I can't swap out the battery and so carry multiple with me. I regularly use my 'old' Android for sat nav, playing mp3s when working, buying music, streaming music to my livingroom media player, controlling my TV and media player on my media box, finding places, finding new places, taking pics and video (many hours worth), checking Facbook, looking shit up, playing games, reading books, as a recipe book, as a cooking timer, as a third screen when coding, and as a dog training tool, a torch, texting and phoning. And skyping. And a tape measure. And translation device, spell checker, wireless keyboard and trackpad for my media playing pc, and internet radio player. In car media player and hands free device. And wifi hotspot provider for when I'm out and about with my laptop.

But I'm not a power user! I don't need the 8 cores on the latest devices, to do all that at once - and screen in screen video playback for multi tasking that await in Jelly Been. I'm not sure I know anyone who does. The only thing I ever wanted that it didn't have was host mode for USB, so I could control robots with it via micro usb. But I never have time for that anyway...

Re:So? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#41272051)

Shifting a bunch of obsolete phones isn't cool

Poor support from Carriers and Manufacturers (1)

caballew (2725281) | about 2 years ago | (#41270953)

Poor customer service from phone carriers and the manufacturers. Sign the customer to a 2-year contract and/or get his money in their greedy little hands then screw the customer

Re:Poor support from Carriers and Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271215)

While we're off topic, I thought I'd share my agreement. Any time I called about my phone, I'm asked if I've factory reset it first, and about water damage second. Then they proceed with laughably unhelpful advice. I had someone at support tell me that I had to use a task manager to force apps to close constantly, that I had to manually clear all of my application caches every day, that I have to uninstall all of the apps every day (after manually clearing them all), that I had to factory reset the device every day (after manually clearing and uninstalling everything), and that I couldn't install broad classes of apps (e.g. wallpapers) from anywhere (even the Google app store). This is with a Moto Defy on Android 2.2.1. Now I don't call about advice, I just call to have it replaced; I'm using phone number 4 until I have time to replace it with phone number 5 sitting on my desk. Every one has had a unique fatal flaw, but phone number 3 lasted pretty long and my record uptime was ~66 days without having to pull the battery to force it to power off; the UI would crash and reboot, but it didn't seem to affect the uptime stats.

Re:Poor support from Carriers and Manufacturers (4, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41271245)

"Three major revisions of Google's Android operating system have launched..."

Really? I thought it was just one major revision.

"Android 3.0" was for tablets only. Perhaps, they should just have called it "Android 2.0 Tablet edition", which was really what it was. Take "Windows XP 32bit" users for example, it's not like they complained when "Windows XP for Netbook" came out, or when "Windows XP 64bit" came out.

And Jellybeans is just Android 4.1. That's not a major revision, that's a just minor one, hence the ".1" and the minor number of changes compared to Ice Cream Sandwich version - Android 4.0.

Re:Poor support from Carriers and Manufacturers (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41271293)

And Jellybeans is just Android 4.1. That's not a major revision, that's a just minor one, hence the ".1" and the minor number of changes compared to Ice Cream Sandwich version - Android 4.0.

True. My tablet updated a few days ago and I've barely noticed any difference between 4.1 and 4.0... graphics seem to be smoother and the wi-fi icon no longer works.

Sorry guys (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 years ago | (#41270957)

But I paid hard earned money for my phone. I'm not ready to buy a new one yet. Now maybe if more Android phones were upgradeable to newer operating systems, I might run some newer software on my phone.

Uhm, CM 7, 9 and 10 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41270977)

http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices

You have to root and upgrade yourself, but the devices can handle it just fine. So back to lazy phone carriers not working with device manufacturers on year old handsets.

captcha: suspend

Re:Uhm, CM 7, 9 and 10 (4, Informative)

txoof (553270) | about 2 years ago | (#41271039)

CyanogenMod breathed a whole new life into my 2 year old Nexus one. It was snappier, appeared to get battery life and had a whole host of awesome new features. The only reason I finally upgraded to a newer phone was because the power button broke (again!) and the headphone jack wore out. If you're sitting on an older Android device, consider trying CM. It really turns your phone into a geeksphone.

Re:Uhm, CM 7, 9 and 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271049)

...and for those of us that were suckered into purchasing phones with locked boot loaders like the Motorola Droid 3?

Re:Uhm, CM 7, 9 and 10 (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41271063)

Here's [craigslist.org] a suggestion.

Re:Uhm, CM 7, 9 and 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271479)

Research might help you out. My phone has a locked bootloader and I run CyanogenMod. I don't know if you particular model can do that, but it's clearly not because of the bootloader.

Limited hardware supported, not by vendor themself (4, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 years ago | (#41271123)

Cyanogenmod is available for maybe 25% of android devices sold in models, probably less than 10% in number. For my android device, there are severe trouble with the phone/wifi firmware (wifi sometimes doesn't work when you have a SIM inserted) and camera (not supported by native camera app). There is no support for that from the CM team since it's an unofficial port and obviously, the hardware vendor and telco don't support it either.

Apple supports firmware updates including full hardware support for about 3 years at least. You may not always get all new features, but at least you get the security updates. Google does not mandate any such term from their vendors, they are fine with "fire and forget". In practice, this makes devices with the same quality and features in hardware less worth if they're not running iOS. You may not want to spend iOS money on a device, but if you have to add in the security risk and frustration about the lack of support and McGyvering you will probably be subjected to, the price difference may suddenly not be that big anymore.

Android vendors get away with putting on their own "improved" UI, which usually isn't that much of an improvement, but makes it harder for people to switch phone because the UI is different. There's no signature "it works this way and looks that way" OS on Android phones, making it harder to market them.

If Google wants to really get ahead, for Android 5 they should mandate 3 years upgrade support from vendors and telco's (within 1 month after general release) and no customization apart from optional addons that can be switched off by the user. People that spend a lot of money on a device or a "sponsored" telco deal should be able to enjoy their device a whole lot better and marketing the devices would be a lot easier as well, making it more justifiable to pay top dollar for such a device.

Re:Limited hardware supported, not by vendor thems (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#41271155)

Google sells bare phones direct to consumers. Really good, well supported models with lots of high end features. Consumers have the choice to buy these, or defer the large upfront cost of the phone over a year by paying higher monthly rates. I've had my Nexus S for almost three years and it's paid for itself (actually I'm about $60 ahead at this point) by choosing a plan that reflects my up front purchase cost. Telcos are taking advantage of lazy consumers, but there are also competitors in the market who are serving more informed consumers. There's nothing to worry about here.

Re:Limited hardware supported, not by vendor thems (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#41271501)

I've had my Nexus S for almost three years

Wow! How did you get one 16 months before they existed?

Nexus S isn't that old. Introduced Dec. 2010.

Re:Limited hardware supported, not by vendor thems (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#41271569)

Indeed, where did you get that date from? Wikipedia? Go check the edit log for that article [wikipedia.org] . Pay close attention to the time/date stamp.
 
I had originally written 2009 in my post, but decided to fact check myself. I deleted the bit in my post with the numbered year, but forgot to change three to two in the post.

Re:Limited hardware supported, not by vendor thems (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41271167)

Apple supports firmware updates including full hardware support for about 3 years at least.

Is that true?

Apple right now are still selling the 3GS iOS 6 runs badly, Admittedly with features stripped. According to you will still be receiving updates in September 2015. It won't. The 3GS is a rare duck in its support, but has done so to give the impression of a larger product line. ...but seriously measure support from end of sale not start.

Re:Limited hardware supported, not by vendor thems (0)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 2 years ago | (#41271461)

Apple right now are still selling the 3GS iOS 6 runs badly, Admittedly with features stripped. According to you will still be receiving updates in September 2015. It won't.

3 years since debut you fucking ignoramus.

Umm, I'm a professional Android driver developer (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 years ago | (#41271147)

Mine isn't supported. Else I would have upgraded.

Re:Sorry guys (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41271057)

I run 2.3.6 on my phone, and 4.1 something on my (Nexus) tablet - let me assure you all 200+ apps I have installed on both (thanks, local backup) are at the exact same version on both devices. If you replace your launcher, you don't even see the OS unless you open the settings screen.

Re:Sorry guys (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41271295)

I run 2.3.6 on my phone, and 4.1 something on my (Nexus) tablet - let me assure you all 200+ apps I have installed on both (thanks, local backup) are at the exact same version on both devices. If you replace your launcher, you don't even see the OS unless you open the settings screen.

Of course, because all your apps are written for Gingerbread or Froyo to begin with. Basically if you write for Froyo, you're encompassing the vast majority of Android phones out there. If you write for Jelly Bean, your app only works on 1% of the phones out there. Ice Cream Sandwich at least gets you 20%.

Of course, if developers only write for the old APIs, it really means that all the capabilities of the newer OSes go unused and all the nifty features shown off at Google I/O are basically frills that have no application for most users because they can't use it because developers won't code for it.

Which is annoying as developers rapidly embrace new iOS features when they come out.

Re:Sorry guys (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41271349)

Cutting edge features of the latest OS are useful if you have a premium app that can command a premium price. No surprise here.

Re:Sorry guys (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41271357)

Not even close -- half of the android apps I use have released new versions in the past month that use new OS features on JB. It just so happens that I haven't seen a huge difference from it for my use cases -- which include mostly photography, various utilities that abuse the sensors of the device, and a host of tools that make organizing my life easier. Maybe I have a set of apps that does not allow the new features of JB to shine, but I don't see what the big deal is. Compared to the difference in the form factor (tablet vs. phone), the other stuff is kinda hard to notice.

Besides, this is true for most of the apps I have on the iphone/ipad (iphone4/ipad2). They look/behave about the same despite whatever new iOS features have come out and were "embraced".

I.e. from this user's perspective the situation on the iOS and Android is absolutely identical, despite the huge brouhaha about upgrades.

For me, the upgrades that have solved various hardware issues were much more important, and these have so far been rather regular.

Re:Sorry guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271061)

Most are, blame your carrier and the maker of the phone for not providing updates.

Re:Sorry guys (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41271113)

Nobody's saying you should. The problem is not people hanging onto their old phones, it's vendors hanging onto old OS versions.

Re:Sorry guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271603)

I had the same problem, I got an Android phone and was stuck on gingerbread. I bought a new phone, but it wasn't an Android phone. Sadly many of my friends are disillusioned by Android.

well it support nice native features on 2.3+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41270965)

What you miss on Gingerbread are the nice layout features on ICS, means you have to jump through more hoops as a developer. But if you are making opengl apps it really is no big deal, supporting native code on 2.2 was a major pain, now with 2.3+ you can actually write your entire activity in c++, really useful for games.

Re:well it support nice native features on 2.3+ (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41271217)

Other than by calling into JNI constantly, how would you write an activity in C++? I was working on Android on a C++/JNI solution when 2.3 came out, I don't remember seeing anything particularly new then. Or much since. Or are you just talking about better OpenGL bindings for C++ (which is nice, but doesn't really help much other than games).

Re:well it support nice native features on 2.3+ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271525)

http://www.srombauts.fr/2011/03/01/android-2-3-nativeactivity/

Don't fix it if it ain't broke (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#41270991)

Why mess with a good thing? Most users do not need or want to upgrade. If the phone works, then an upgrade presents real danger of making it worse, not better.

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (2)

raptor_87 (881471) | about 2 years ago | (#41271051)

The users generally don't have a choice. Eg: a number of Motorola phones released in 2011 (Droid 3, Droid X2) will never see ICS, and while most released in 2012 will, the upgrades are still being rolled out. https://forums.motorola.com/pages/00add97d6c [motorola.com]

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271369)

Actually, Motorola announced that they would be bringing 4.1 to all capable phones from 2011 forward. If they decide that any of them won't run it properly, they're giving $100 off your next Motorola phone. Not a perfect answer but head-and-shoulders above their previous update policy.

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271381)

http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/09/05/motorola-announces-most-2011-phones-will-get-jelly-bean-the-rest-will-receive-100-credit-for-upgrades-promises-developer-editions-of-phones/

Applies for desktops as well. (0)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 years ago | (#41271133)

I take it you still run your desktop PC without upgrades as well? Wait for the first "real" android virus. There will be public outrage that vendors didn't offer upgrades to prevent this. Sure, lots of people don't want to upgrade, because if they would be interested in that, they'd buy an iPhone. Market share for people that want decent support for their devices OS that doesn't involve DIY is very low for Android. If Android would offer this, there would be a lot more competition with iOS devices than there is now.

Re:Applies for desktops as well. (0)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41271353)

Android isn't Windows.

Re:Applies for desktops as well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41272029)

LOL. Android isn't Windows and is just as immune to malware as Windows is.

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271267)

Why? The consumer reaction to Android 2.x phones was enormously fucking awful. Not just mildly bad, but the majority of US owners 'upgraded' to an Apple phone. (Admittedly that wasn't entirely the OS, but also bloated '4G' hardware with shite 6 hour batteries.)

Android 4.x has a great consumer reaction going for it. But as long as these obsolete pieces of stinky dogshit are for sale, Apple will have a huge sales advantage. "Just buy an iPhone."

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271439)

My understanding is that Android 4.1 is the first version of the OS that can lock downloaded applications to an account. As a developer, this is a very important feature for the system because it make piracy much more difficult. I don't want invest a lot of time testing in the Android fragmentation mess (OS versions, screen sizes, processing power, GPU capabilities, etc.), especially if it can result in the cannibalizing of iOS sales. If my products do well in iOS, I'll port to Android once sales fall off; however, this means that Android is relegated to second tier.

First you get the developers, then you get the users, then you get the money.

Re:Don't fix it if it ain't broke (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41271611)

I want 4.0 on my phone. I don't know what it does, but I want it.

I want it to auto-install. It hasn't. I sit here wondering why. Why, Google and Verizon, hasn't my Droid Charge updated itself? Hell, I am shocked to learn 2.3 has been out so long. My phone only auto-upgraded from 2.2 last December.

At that rate, I will get 3.0 in 2 years and 4.0 six weeks after 7.0 Gummi Bear is released.

android 3.0 (2, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#41271017)

honeycomb is only for tablets, not cell phones, so it makes sense. Blame the cell carriers/ 3rd parties for the holdup 4.0 is not even being rolled out to some 90% of phones that are already out there, therefore it only makes sense that 2.3 is the dominant flavor

Still 2.3 for sale (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 years ago | (#41271143)

Probably, in numbers, the amount of devices still sold with Android 2.2 and 2.3 is still higher than the amount of devices sold with 4.X. Even tablets are usually sold with either 2.X or 4.X, not with 3.0. So no, it doesn't make sense, new devices are being sold in the millions with known vulnerable software on them.

It works (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 2 years ago | (#41271021)

If it works, use it. Like the other folks said, a lot of phones are left unsupported by their providers with no official updates. Then you have the choice of using it and not worrying about the OS, as long as it works right. That's fine for the average user who isn't likely to do a lot of USB-to-computer interfacing with it to do the upgrades or mods...
But if you really want updated software you can look into things like Cyanogenmod. Doing that got my unsupported phone all the way up to Android 2.3, whereas Motorola left it languishing with the only supported version at 2.2 or .1
2.3 has been doing well on my phone for awhile now, but if the Cyanogen guys put out a stable 4.0 release for my phone I'll definitely try it.

Re:It works (1)

robotman68 (2725391) | about 2 years ago | (#41271091)

May work right, but is it secure? I am not all that comfortable buying apps from google play, if they think I am going to use my phone to pay for day to day purchases, it better be a current OS and secure.

Re:It works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271653)

You do realize that you can buy the apps online, right? google.com/play

What are the min requirements for Jelly Bean? (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41271043)

I've been assuming the reason there are lots of 1.x and 2.x phones out there just had to do with the fact there are a lot of low-end Android phones for sale. I figured ICS and JB had fairly stiff hardware requirements. Is that not correct?

Re:What are the min requirements for Jelly Bean? (1)

Linsaran (728833) | about 2 years ago | (#41271115)

Basically if you had a top of the line phone 2 years ago it can probably run ICS, it might be a little sluggish, but it's doable. I had an epic4g (basically sprint's version of the original galaxy s line) and it runs ICS fine via cyanogenmod 9. I haven't looked into budget android phones in a while, but I'd hope that most things bought in the last 6 months or so would have the specs to run ICS, since there's been 2 years of time for moore's law to catch up.

Re:What are the min requirements for Jelly Bean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271315)

Nexus S runs JB great. Shipped with Gingerbread too.

Re:What are the min requirements for Jelly Bean? (2)

Zuriel (1760072) | about 2 years ago | (#41271341)

4.0 and 4.1 don't have very harsh CPU/GPU/RAM requirements, the big problem is storage space.

4.0 uses significantly more space than 2.x so it's complicated to upgrade a lot of phones. Even if the phone has plenty of internal flash you might only have a 512MB system partition, so upgrading means re-partitioning flash to allocate more space to the OS, which is apparently too difficult to do as an OTA update.

With Cyanogenmod I believe you can use a custom bootloader to wipe and repartition then load the 4.x OS image onto the blank phone over USB.

Re:What are the min requirements for Jelly Bean? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41271487)

Hahaha, "only" 512MB? My previous phone ran Froyo and I'm pretty sure it only had 256MB.

There's not a lot of incentive to update (4, Insightful)

Linsaran (728833) | about 2 years ago | (#41271065)

On the consumer side, 90% of smart phone customers don't use even 15% of what their devices are capable of doing. For most consumers, the questions, "Can it go online?", "Can it make phone calls and send texts?", "Does it have some stupid little games I can put on it to pass the time when I'm bored?", and "Does it work reasonably well without being too confusing for me to figure out" are all they care about. That functionality has been available long before android 2.3 even hit the scene, never mind 4.0.

The average consumer doesn't understand nor care about the differences between OS versions on really anything, computers, smartphones, whatever. As long as it does that one thing(s) that they want, most are satisfied. Now if they're exposed to a new feature from a new version they might grow to like it and use it, but chances are unless they're already a techie and looking into that sort of thing, most users won't care about it until there's some game/app/thing they want to do with their current device/OS and can't. Plus, unless they happen to be fairly tech savvy and aren't afraid of voiding warranties and what not the consumer is at the whim of their device manufacturers and carriers to get them updated software. So it's no surprise most people just stick with what they have if it works 'good enough'

From a manufacturer point of view they've already sold the product, maintaining updates costs them money, so they're disinclined to spend money on a product that's already sold. There's some work done on flagship products, and maybe a little bit just to earn enough goodwill with their customers that they'll keep coming back, but like all corporations they balance expenses for 'customer service' very carefully. For most corporations, customer service isn't about doing what's right for the customer, it's about doing enough to keep most of the customers happy, but not cost the company a fortune.

There's a little more incentive on the carrier's end to keep things updated, since their customers are paying for a service, not for hardware, and I'm sure that there's some push from the carriers to get their devices updated. But even then that costs money, so it's really only going to be their most popular devices that get attention, and less popular ones will fall by the wayside.

Tl;dr most people figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it

Re:There's not a lot of incentive to update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271431)

We have 4 Nexus S phones in the house. When ICS was finally pushed, all four of us updated. My son and I loved it and were happy to finally have it. My wife and daughter complained that things "look different" and why did the home screen icons change and both wanted their phones back the way they were.

Re:There's not a lot of incentive to update (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271451)

The Android software ecosystem suffers for a lack of app encryption: without it, piracy is greater, which hurts the software ecosystem, which dulls the appeal of the system. The install base is larger than iOS but QA costs are higher and piracy is a major concern, especially for expensive niche apps.

The individual phones are not broken; however, the platform is. This will not change until most people are on v4.1 and later.

Re:There's not a lot of incentive to update (2)

gutnor (872759) | about 2 years ago | (#41271969)

That's where Apple got it right with the marketing. They advertise new features that us geek consider not worthy of even talking about. However, as you said Joe User does not care about the OS or what it can do unless it has been demonstrated to him and Apple ads, as silly as they are, just do that.

droid 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271131)

droid 3 !!! blame it on TI or VZ for the lack of ICS update!!! we all want the kernel but the 512mb of RAM stops it...

More upgrades available via PCs (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 years ago | (#41271149)

My Galaxy S2 got an update to 4.0, but it wasn't available OTA, only by connecting the phone to Samsung's KIES software.

My wifes's Motorola phone got an update to 2.3 just a couple of month's ago (yes, 2.3, not 4.0), but again, it wasn't available OTA -- only by using Motorola's software on a PC.

Re:More upgrades available via PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271621)

Why would you upgrade an OS OTA? OS's should be done this way. (Would you upgrade windows XP to 7 OTA?)

Re:More upgrades available via PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271693)

Absolutely. I can appreciate if the phone tells me I need to plug it in to a charger to update the OS, but I shouldn't need to track down the update for a phone on my PC. I don't connect my phone to the PC, as a rule, so why force me to do this just to fix bugs?

Jelly Bean seems to be better about this (or maybe it's my manufactuer), but now my phone is happily offering me updates over the air.

May I say... (2, Interesting)

zephvark (1812804) | about 2 years ago | (#41271173)

could they stop naming the operating system to appeal to six-year-old girls? That is probably not their best target demographic.

Re:May I say... (2)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#41271271)

It's all named after (alphabetical) delicious treats, man. What's not to like? Oh, and just wait until the next major release - Key Lime Pie, mmm mmm!

Smartphone 2.3 (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41271223)

So it runs most all the apps people use. It does pretty much anything the average smartphone user needs to do. It's ubiquitous. It's kind of like Android XP.

Re:Smartphone 2.3 (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41271389)

Pretty much, yeah.

Sigh. (1)

DeTech (2589785) | about 2 years ago | (#41271251)

I wish more real computer people used these phones. It's weird there's a Debian port for my phone but no ICS? wtf guys?

Honeycomb is not a full version (1)

dragonjujotu (1395759) | about 2 years ago | (#41271285)

I wish people would stop counting Honeycomb, it's a tablet-focused fork of android that isn't supposed to be on phones anyways.

Just Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271345)

Is there any public data on how many iOS devices are running the current version? I know Apple implemented OTA updates in a recent veraion (4.0 I think) but I would be interested to know how many people (read: typical end-users) even updated to 4.0. I can think of three people off the top of my head, who I know personally, who have NEVER updated their iPhones\iPods. I have to assume, then, that it's not that uncommon.

It would be interesting to see the ratio of Android users who are "forced" to be on an older version to iOS users who have never bothered with updates that are available to them. Another good one would be a ratio of iOS users who went to a previous version in order to jailbreak vs Android users who rooted to go to a newer build.

Re:Just Curious (2)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#41271979)

I'm not aware of any data from Apple, but several devs publish their stats. Bloggers periodically aggregate the whole thing and make pretty graphs. Here's what things looked like last March:

http://pxldot.com/18754186750 [pxldot.com]

I would like an Android phone -- without the phone (1)

Burz (138833) | about 2 years ago | (#41271359)

Or rather, without the cellphone. (I have my reasons, no need to question them.) Naturally whatever I choose will probably have cellular equipment in it. I just want to make sure cellular doesn't switch on. Limiting my phone calls to Wifi is perfectly fine.

Also preferably without the Microsoft tax, which probably limits my selection to Motorola. ...any suggestions?

Re:I would like an Android phone -- without the ph (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41271517)

There are a couple Android-powered cameras - might be worth checking them out.

Nikon Coolpix S800c [engadget.com]

Samsung Galaxy (camera) [dpreview.com]

Re:I would like an Android phone -- without the ph (1)

kwark (512736) | about 2 years ago | (#41271921)

1-Turn on airplane mode.
2-Turn on wireless.
3-Take a look at the phone status
4-Profit

But it depends on the reason behind not wanting a cellphone radio in the first place. My guess it the radio will be on by default on a cold boot and you need to turn it of, maybe you could remove any RIL stuff from your ROM (rooted or custom ROMs). But when I go to places I don't want the radio enabled I do the above and tell Tasker to do this for me at boot just in case it restarts/reboots.

Plugins and extensions (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 2 years ago | (#41271545)

Perhaps a better way would have been for Google not to release the Android source code, but instead to implement it in such a way that it supported a plugin and extension architecture, like Firefox, Chrome and Eclipse.

That way, the OEMs would have been able to tailor the phones to their liking, but wouldn't have been able to tinker directly with the primary Android code. It would mean that updates could easily be pushed to the phones and OEMs would have to do very little work. A preview Jelly Bean could have made available to devs, to ensure their extensions, etc. still worked and then it could have been pushed down to the public.

But then again, it is likely that, should it have used this approach, Android would not have captured the market share it now commands, since fewer OEMs would have picked it up, not wanting to work with closed source.

mod 3own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271599)

baby...don't fear around are in nned conducted at MIT

Why are you surprised? (1)

rippeltippel (1452937) | about 2 years ago | (#41271689)

1) Gingerbread was the first version to give a fairly complete user environment (compared to iPhone).
Ergo: Most software has been developed for 2.3.

2) Most contracts with mobile operators in UK (and I guess in other countries as well) last for 24 months, and devices cannot be upgraded in the meanwhile.
Ergo: I'm not going to pay for a new device before the current contract end.

3) Honeycomb is mainly for tablets, which have quite a narrow user base compared to mobile phones.
Ergo: Gingerbread devices > Honeycomb devices.

4) Android versions are not easily backwards compatible.
Ergo: I'm not going to port my current software, unless there's a significant user base (if it ain't broke, don't fix it)

Independent Builds for Older Phones (2)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 2 years ago | (#41271733)

While not officially supported, many phones have working, mostly working, or partially working builds of ICS and JB. I was on a Droid2 before I decided to get a Galaxy Nexus for the fact it has an unlocked bootloader, even over the SIII, but the Droid2 ran ICS like a top, though some hardware acceleration issues existed. The ICS build by some user on RootzWiki was still far better, smoother, faster, and had better battery life than the GB build that came on it by motorola.

See XDA and RootzWiki with your GB phones, and see about getting a better build on there...of course, I roll my own anymore, and run JB on my Gnex, even though it's not been released yet officially for my phone (vzw).

Have we lost control? (2)

Knutsi (959723) | about 2 years ago | (#41271749)

Perhaps the fact that we cannot ourselves (easily) update our tablets and phones says something about how much control we've lost on our devices? That scares me. If i buy one of the new style of laptop-tablet hybrid, can I expect the same? Will this not easily cut years of value off these things, and slow down the software ecosystem?

I had an _expensive_ Window Phone. Then Microsoft told me I could not upgrade my 6 months old phone to WP8. I felt so cheated, and still do. I will never buy another. It is such a disrespect for the customer.

Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271809)

Fandroids are so apologetic it's beyond being hilarious. Talk about RDF. Talk about sheeps, now in gSheep flavour.
Stockholm Syndrom reloaded - relocated to Mountain View.

Fact is : Android updates are a complete mess and the structure is a complete fail.

And no, hoping for some 3rd party custom ROM from some stranger (e.g. CM) is not the solution for the majority of customers (otherwise JB/ICS would have had a much higher share).
And no, arguing "it will do" (GB) is not an acceptable argument or excuse for a botched product strategy and lacking support. It's just a sign of unwillingness to admit that most Android handsets are outdated.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41271895)

You sound like a frustrated little shit. I enjoy seeing little shits like you cry when adoption numbers like these are announced. It just snuffs out your POS OS until it finally dies.

Coincidence? (1)

kramulous (977841) | about 2 years ago | (#41271999)

I've spent all day trying to update my wife's phone (gt-i9000 2.3.3) and my phone nexus s (4.0.3) with zero success. I don't want to root them.

Most of the time has been spent with the gt-i9000 since it is the most out of date one but every attempt has failed. The documentation for doing this is shit. The resources for doing this is shit.

I only have linux (F17) at home. If I can't do it then it is little wonder that others cannot.

subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | about 2 years ago | (#41272047)

I'm still on Froyo. Carrier phones FTL.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>