Android 10 finally made its launch, bringing with it a lot of changes to further improve user experience. One change that has yet to come though is the defragmentation of the Android OS.
Right now, Android remains fractured. To emphasize this, StatCounter network gathered page view data a month before the release of Android 10 and checked the operating system used by each viewer.
Tallying up the sample in the aggregated data which amounted to around 10 billion page views based on the Android OS version being used, StatCounter arrived with a buffet that will be a delight for a sweet tooth and a nightmare for a developer.
The distribution of the Android OS versions reveals that versions as early as KitKat 4.4 are still very much in use by Android users.
According to Digital Trends, Android fragmentation is a deep-seated problem in the market present even in the early days of the OS. This is due to the constant updating of the OS on top of the array of custom manufacturer skins present as well as the variety of devices present in the market — all of which combined requires rigorous tests for compatibility.
These factors entail interoperability issues and the slow adoption of new Android OS versions.
For users, this means that you are more vulnerable to threats, since you don’t get to receive the latest bug fixes and security updates. At the same time, you will not be able to enjoy the new features the latest Android version has to offer.
Android was made with a culture of innovation in mind. With this, it is a difficult challenge for Google to impose the adoption of new Android versions — a centralized update system so to speak — since that directly goes against that core principle.
Manufacturers on the other hand, don’t really have much motivation to roll out updates in time. If anything, that works in their favor, since that would encourage consumers to buy their new devices with the latest Android OS.
The future seems bleak for the defragmentation of Android. For now, what we can do is wait and see if there are developments which could fast track the unification of the OS.