You are on page 1of 2


& iOS: A Tale of Platform Fragmentation Flexibility is both the strength and weakness of Google's mobile operating system Android. The flexibility that Google enables with Android let's phone manufacturers to develop countless smartphones of all different varieties that leverage Android as their primary operating system. Furthermore, Android enables developers to largely customize most of the operating system and make radical modifications to platform behavior via apps that they develop. This stands in stark contrast to Apple's iOS that has both a heavily restricted device landscape (i.e. all devices are made by Apple) and an equally restrictive app development environment. The flexibility of the Android platform has enabled it to race out and become the dominant market share leader in smartphone operating systems. However, this flexibility also makes developing Android apps an extremely difficult process for developers due to the fragmentation brought about by all the different hardware types and more importantly, the different versions of Android running across its landscape. Android isn't one operating system that an app developer can program against, it is a myriad of different flavors of Android which have evolved over its 18 releases. Unlike iOS, there is no strong impetus to move users up to the latest version of the Android operating system when it's released. Instead, the Android user base remains mired in a disjoint quilt of Android operating system versions that range from early 2.2.x editions to the latest 4.0 version. This infographic was put together by to illustrate the marked differences in platform fragmentation between iOS and Android when it comes to operating system version. The key takeaway is that building a app on Android is difficult for an app developer because the multitude of Android operating system versions which make it difficult to make assumptions on functionality that can be included in an app. The result is a landscape of apps, which run poorly on the majority of Android devices due to the differences between Android operating system versions.

Android & iOS

A tale of platform fragmentation
Created January 23, 2013

~ 1/5 of devices run latest version released in 06/2012

~ 4/5 of devices run latest version released in 09/2012

< Donut (0.2%)

iOS 4.x (3.4%)

iOS 5.0.x (2.4%)

Jelly Bean (19.5%)

Froyo (12.30%)

iOS 5.1.x (15.7%)

Ice Cream Sandwich (26.70%)

Gingerbre ad (40.20%) iOS 6.0.x (78.5%)

Honeycomb (1.10%)


100.00% 75.00% 50.00% 25.00% 0.00% 2009 2010 2011 2012

~ 50% of Android devices run a version released in 2010 ~ 95% of iOS devices run a version released in 2012