Jelly Bean is Now on more Devices than Gingerbread

Android Graph

Graph Courtesy of PhoneDog

Fragmentation has been an issue with Android since the very beginning. Because Android is open source, many companies have essentially created their own operating system that’s based the Android platform, laying their own heavy skins in top of the stock OS, and, of course,  giving themselves total control over their devices. As a result, when a new version of Android is released, many companies hold the update hostage while they apply their skins, and make sure the update didn’t mess anything up with their user interface. Another huge and obvious issue is the carriers. A lot of these companies allow carriers to put bloatware on their devices (for money, obviously), and when a new update comes out, carriers want to stop the update to make sure their bloatware is working correctly. What makes it worse is that CDMA carriers (Verizon Sprint, and Cricket mainly) seem to have this at the bottom of their priority list. It’s quite rude actually, making companies wait until they get around to it. These are the main reasons why it’s taken a year for the latest flavor of Android to become the most popular one. This is compared to just weeks on platforms like Apple’s iOS.

Even with these horrible problems, it’s hard not to throw up your hands in celebration when you see that Jelly Bean has become the first iteration of Android to surpass the one and only Gingerbread in the amount of devices it’s installed on. It also quickly reminds you of the fragmentation problems, however. The manufacturers and carriers are the only ones that win here. The consumers get an infuriatingly long wait for the new version of Android, topped off with the fact that they have to deal with carrier bloatware. Some people also never get an update. Having been on the Nexus platform ever since I switched from iOS to Android, I can’t come close to comprehending the frustration that must come with this issue. Having to pay $200 plus another $80 a month for two years to get what some people get in the form of a free update because of big company greed is infuriating enough, but when you factor in the fact that a lot of the best apps are exclusive to 4.0 and up (and some even 4.1 and up), I’d imagine it would really begins to piss you off. It also must be incredibly stressful for developers who are bombarded with emails about the limited support of their apps, when they have little to do about it.

What can we do to stop this? The answer is quite simple in my eyes. Everybody should buy Nexus and Google Edition Devices. Not only are they better, in my opinion, if the majority of Android users ditched the Galaxy Lines and HTC products for products endorsed by Google, companies would scramble to fix these issues to get us consumers switching back to their products. So, spread the word: switch to the Nexus platform the next time you upgrade your phone. You might prefer it over your current platform, and maybe, a few years from now, new versions of Android could be on the majority of  phones in a couple of months rather than a year.

Justin Howell

Justin Howell has been a journalist and a YouTuber since April of 2012. His fascination with politics, science and tech started in September of 2011, when he joined Google+, which had virtually no content unrelated to technology at the time. While doing research on what would become his first Android device, the Nook Wi-Fi, he was inspired by the video reviews he saw on YouTube to do a review on it. On April 27th, 2012, he posted his first YouTube video... which was also his first piece of journalism. He posted several videos after that, which have since been lost, before taking a break to finish the sixth grade. He came back during the summer of 2012 (and hasn't taken any long-term breaks since), this time doing a variety of different videos rather than focusing on one topic. By the winter of 2012-2013, he had switched back to mainly doing tech however, with the occasional gaming video. He filtered out all content unrelated to technology by the summer of 2013. On May 27th, 2013, he published his first full-length article to blogger, a comparison between the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Since then he's written six articles. His YouTube channel is climbing in popularity at a very slow yet relatively steady rate. At the moment he has 313 subscribers and 115,874 views, and is aiming for 15,000 subscribers by summer 2016. You can help him by going to watching some of his videos, and subscribing.

1 Response

  1. Ryuinferno says:

    While the fragmentation issue is true, I do not agree that people should just ditch OEM devices. Nexus devices is the pure presentation of Android by Google (demonstrates the full API of the OS), but it should not stop OEMs from being creative and add in their own APIs (take the Sony’s mini apps API for example). Android would progress less if it works the same way as IOS (look at how slow they are doing now). But yeah, many people who do not understand the issue will just put the whole blame on Android instead of the OEM’s modifications done to it.