iOS vs Android fragmentation stats show up

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A joke about desserts and pies.

Apple’s released stats showing a full breakdown for its iOS distribution. The stats, initially released at WWDC, show that a whopping 93% of iOS devices use the latest version, iOS 6,

while only 6% are still on iOS 5. The remaining 1% are devices that run an earlier version of iOS, presumably due to Apple dropping support for older devices.

These numbers favour Apple’s platform when compared to Android. Google’s operating system is used by more than 20 device manufacturers, and only Nexus devices, those commissioned by Google, are privy to the latest updates. Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTC all have to adapt the newest version of Android to run on their devices, in order to retain compatibility with their custom interfaces.

According to Google, Android marketshare is split up as follows: 4% of devices on Android 4.2; 29% of devices on Android 4.1; 25.6% of devices on 4.0; and 36.5% of devices on 2.3.

Android's popularity among manufacturers is also its downfall.
Android’s popularity among manufacturers is also its downfall.

While Apple does limit certain new functions of its operating systems to the latest hardware, developers can still use almost all of the new API calls and features when coding applications. Android developers face a tough choice with this fragmentation: develop apps that only work on 4.1 or newer, and lose compatibility with around 42% of the devices on the market. Or develop an app that will work on all Android devices, but limit its functionality because older operating systems don’t support newer technology.


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Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.