Android updates are too slow but let's not confuse the matter

January 18, 2011: 12:44 AM ET

Android 2.2 is now on the majority (52%) of Android phones that access the Android Market and almost 90% are on some variant of 2.x.

MG Siegler today writes iPhone User? 90% Chance You're On The Latest OS. Android User? 0.4% Chance.  There is a bunch wrong with this argument so let's take it step by step.

First:  'Latest OS.'

Apple's (AAPL) latest iOS is 4.3 beta (like many developers and I are running on our iOS devices) which I'd say is about 1% of the market.  iOS 4.2.1 is the latest version consumers can get their hands on.  No matter who you are outside of Google (GOOG), you are lucky to be running Android 2.3.  It is only available on one shipping phone that has been on shelves in one country for less than a month.

So the latest OS from each vendor is already murky.  I'd already contend that iOS 4.3 vs. Android 2.3 would be the fairest comparison.

Apple's 4.3 adds lots of new features like Hotspot, new gestures, find my friends, etc. etc.  Google's 2.3 doesn't add much to Android 2.2 besides some interface tweeks.  That flies in the face of Siegler's contention that Google updates are bigger than Apple's (though Android's 2.2 was bigger than Apple's 4.2).

Siegler's "90%" comes from news today from the developers of Bump and Loopt that their particular apps are getting 89.7% of iOS 4.x users.  Not 4.2.1 or even 4.2.x.

That's great.  My wife is on 4.1 and my son's iPod is on 4.0 point something because they don't like to sync their devices and go through the annoying update cycle which can sometimes take a half hour.

4.x. So that includes my family members who haven't updated their phones since June, which is around the same time that Android 2.2 started becoming available.  Latest OS?  OK.

As an aside, if you are installing the latest version of Bump or Loopt apps, you are likely ahead of the curve so it is a heavily Apple-skewed metric to begin with.  Something like 10% of smartphone users never install apps, let alone fancy ones that don't just read Facebook.

So the natural comparison would be with Android's 2.x, right?

Great news because Google just posted its latest Android OS figures:

About 87.5% of Android users are on version 2.x.  That's only a few points behind Siegler's Apple-tainted metric.

If anything, Siegler should have been tying both news items together, that smartphone users seem to be big updaters.  In fact, OTA updates like Google's are a lot more effective in getting people to update than Apple's antiquated iTunes method.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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