How-To Geek

Less Than 0.4% of Android Users Running Current OS

More than 90% of iPhone users are running the most current OS, but a mere 0.4% are running the latest version of Android. The disparity highlights the poor practices of OEMs and phone carriers.

At TechCrunch they’ve complied some stats from around the web demonstrating the radical disparity between the currentness of Android and iPhone users operating systems. 90% of iPhone users have the current version of iOS (and a significant number of the remaining 10% likely have jailbroken phones and are waiting for a stable iOS 4 jailbreak). Conversely only 0.4% of Android users are on Android 2.3; even when generously adjusted to include the prior revision (2.2) the number only climbs to a paltry 51.8%. Why is this?

Obviously, this isn’t the Android users’ faults. The problem is that the OEMs and carriers are holding these updates up for a wide variety of reasons, 99 percent of which are undoubtedly bullshit. Here’s a perfect example. Supposedly, the Android 2.2 update is all ready to go for Samsung Android phones on T-Mobile, but Samsung doesn’t want to push it out so that they can entice people to buy the newly announced Vibrant 4G+ instead.

Sounds about right to me. I have a perfectly functional HTC Hero from Sprint and it took them nearly a year to release an upgrade from Android 1.5 to 2.1. Sprint has halted the upgrade path for the phone so it will not be officially receiving any upgrades to Android 2.2 or 2.3. I liberated my phone with a custom ROM but I’m in the extreme minority when it comes to phone purchasers. Those of us slinging around custom ROMs and jailbreaks are not your average cellphone owner.

Check out the full article at the link below for more information and additional breakdowns of cellphone OS via phone and carrier.

iPhone User? 90% Chance You’re On The Latest OS. Android User? 0.4% Chance [TechCrunch]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/18/11

Comments (16)

  1. Radeon

    Not so wierd since the only phone having 2.3 just came out..
    2.3 is going to get a big % when HTC comes with an update for their phones :)

  2. Marcus

    Not an Android user here, can’t you force update on your phone or you always have to wait for manufacturer to do it?

  3. RonV

    Microsoft had the same issues with WinMo v5-v6. The phones were updateable to the carriers had to “approve” the updates. Most of the time updates were not made available.

    This is going to be a common issue moving forward. The phone vendors want to sell more phones and the cell compaines want the two year lock in. So why update the OS when you can office a newer phone with newer featues in the new phone.

    It took Moto over 9 months to go from 1.5 to 2.1 for their Backflip and then announced there would be no more updates to the phone. If it wasn’t for other ROM’s I can load I would be stuck waiting for a new phone update or purchasing a phone at retail prices.

  4. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @Marcus: You can’t force an update. You can search the internet for custom ROMs to download but doing so voids your phone’s warranty and you risk bricking it.

    The shocking part about the statistic isn’t that only 0.4% are using the absolute most current update. After all, as Radeon pointed out in the comments here it just came out, the shocking part is that for the majority of Android handsets there will never be a method (besides hacking your phone) to upgrade.

  5. Steve

    I find it amazing that a single software company (that happens to only sell that software on their own hardware) has convinced the world that a phone is only good if it has the latest software running on it.

    When I bought my Hero (on Sprint) running Android 1.5, I bought it because it did everything I wanted it to do. Now that it’s running Android 2.1 it still does everything I wanted it to do. The only reason I would like 2.2 is because of the JIT virtual machine.

    Android 2.3 would do nothing more for me than 2.2. All of the UI tweaks would be hidden by HTC’s Sense UI. That goes for many of the other Android phones out there.

    IT”S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER that these “un-updated phones” receive regular maintenance updates.

  6. Chronno S. Trigger

    Not that surprising at all. As had been said before, 2.3 is only out for one phone. Is it even out for the Nexus 1? I’m using Cyanogen so I don’t know.

    1.6 is a cutoff point for quite a few old android phones and 2.1 is for some others. Why people are on 1.5, I don’t know.

    On top of all that, everyone who doesn’t have a phone directly from Google will have to wait until their manufacturer updates their firmware and passes it on to the cell companies who may alter it to fit their network (e.g. Verizon).

  7. asdf-chan

    Yeah … well Nexus should be the only choice, it costs a lot but is allways the latest release. If Google is not going to do anything about the update policy the chance of failing with Android on phones will increase. Maybe I’m wrong and our consumer socity will buy stuff anyway or they stop buying shit from others instead they start buying from Google directy, even though Nexus is a HTC. Android is still a cool plattform though

  8. grrr

    Dude, we get it. You don’t like Android. Take your iPhone to bed and whisper sweet Steves in its ear. Biased much? TechCrunch is crap anyway, why by into it?

  9. Lexan

    I agree with Steve. I’m currently running 2.2 Froyo on my Vibrant (custom rom), and I don’t see a point in upgrading to 2.3
    I’m glad I have the new tethering options, the Flash support, App2SD support etc.
    but I don’t see any sense in getting to 2.3, the rom I’m using has the new keyboard, the new theme etc.

    However, I do agree that it’s a hassle to upgrade. It’d be much simpler if devices simply had installable drivers (the same way computers do), and we could upgrade just by plugging our phones to the computer, or over the network, whatever.

  10. jdbpogo

    @ Jason Fitzpatrick

    android updates aren’t something you have to wait for anymore, and most phones lifespan are now greatly increased. with the custom bootloaders available on xda devs it is VERY hard to brick your phone (almost impossible). also it’s completley reversible so no warranty void. no one should be scared to do it. it’s very easy and there are many people on those types of forums who are more than happy to help a newb.

  11. jdbpogo

    i have a htc hd2 that came with wm6.5. i thought i’d use the phone for 6-8 months and then get a big screen android. well now i have a hd2 that has dual boot wp7 and gingerbread os’s. i’m not saying my girlfriend could have done as much with that phone but anyone with a hint of geek in them could.

  12. nutero

    I think its a price to pay for now. Google has a lot of freedom opposed to Apple’s closedness. Since we have that freedom its understandable that there are difficulties to keep up to date. Is that for the sake of having a wide range of options while buying a new smartphone.

    On the other hand, i beleive that the ones that really care to have theri phones in the latest release, are the ones that with a little bit of help would be able to install it on their device. THe simple user would stick to simple things.

    In my case, i bought an LG last week. I wanted to try 2.1 so i used a what seems to be a developer tool to update it. it went on smoothly. I tried to use the offcial consumer tool and coulnt retrieve the update file from LG servers.

    Companies may represent a problem with updates, carriers and manufacters. But if you really want and update and youre willing to take a bit of a risk -and we usuallly are- your problems could be solved as easily as two clicks

  13. Cyfer

    dude it’s totally not the case on him loving iphone. I totally agree with him that iphone is much more user friendly but android is made like this do it yourself shit which i don’t even want to understand anymore. I’m running froyo on my galaxy s and must say i was sick and tired of waiting for months on the latest release.
    Phone is something that should solve your problems on the go.. android seems to fail that since i need some kind of third party taskkillers and lagfixes. I mean WTF. And flashing via odin or CW is not for me.. I can understand that it may be much faster much better but than again if i brick it i’m screwed.. besides I don’t have time for messing with my phone. And why the fuck everyday phone users should bother bout some geek-level sunday project-like activity like phone flashing.
    I want my damn thing work right out the box FFS. I’d even pay the damn 10 bucks just to get latest update all the time.

  14. grrr

    lol, poor cyfer, just wants it to work….even though it’s magic

  15. Steve


    Why are you using a task killer? Apps sit in memory on Android. It’s Linux, not Windows. Constantly killing apps and forcing them to reload every time you want to use them just slows down your experience.

    If you’re doing it to save battery life I suggest you check how often all of your apps sync since that’s the number one battery killer next to having your screen’s brightness all the way up all the time. Most apps, especially, third party, use pull to sync and in my experience install with a default somewhere around 5 minutes.

    What lag are you trying to address?

  16. drew

    this is wrong on so many levels. do you realize the iphone report includes “4.x” while you are just including Android 2.3? So…if you use Android 2.X instead, it is about 87% on a current OS. Please learn how to be a journalist next time.

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