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Android: Fragmentation and bugs point to awkward 2015 for Google

Android: Fragmentation and bugs point to awkward 2015 for Google

Android Lollipop’s woes appear to be moving beyond those few users who’ve already updated their older Nexus phones.

Now, it seems, issues with the software have caused a delay in the release of Google’s new Nexus 6 smartphone here in the UK, with Carphone Warehouse and O2 both suggesting the timeline for the device’s launch has slipped.

As if that wasn’t and enough, new figures released by Google earlier this week showed that Lollipop had failed to make its breakdown of Android usage, with fewer than 0.1% of the installed base updating to the new OS.

That’s not a huge surprise, it’s only been out a month, but it does show how far Google has to travel in order to make Lollipop a quick success.

But beyond the Lollipop concerns, those same usage stats make grim reading for Google. Android is still hopelessly divided.

android fragmentation 2

A year after its launch, Android KitKat is only found on 33.9% of all Android phones.

Meanwhile, 48.7% of users are working with one of three versions of the even older Jelly Bean edition of the software.

It all makes concerns about Apple’s iOS 8 uptake, which is now well beyond 50%, look minor by comparison.

The fact is, Lollipop was supposed to be the great white hope, the version of the OS that would land on partners’ phones sooner and make more of Google’s phones up to date.

But it’s already looking like that won’t be happening in a hurry.

HTC, Sony, LG and Samsung have all committed to an early 2015 launch of Lollipop on their flagship phones.

google nexus 5 android lollipop material design

But if Google can’t get it right on their own Nexus phones, what chance does it stand of being ok from the outset on devices from other manufacturers?

The fact is, this is a problem we seem to cover every year.

Google promises it’s got a way to fix its fractured and divided operating system, it remains fragmented, it comes up with new ways to try and control how its partners use the OS, fragmentation continues. Repeat ad infinitum.

The fact is, consumers spend a lot of money on handsets and should expect the latest software as standard.

Unless you buy a Nexus or Google Edition phone, Google can’t offer that. And even when it can it doesn’t work.

google logo large

Manufacturers can’t be happy. Android is theirs to use for free, but it’s Google that makes money from ads and apps on their devices.

Why should they take the blame when they get code that doesn’t work, leading to a more fragmented platform, something which mobile makers will take the blame for.

From the outset, Google should have taken more control over Android. Years down the line, its failure to do so continues to make it less alluring.

With usage numbers split and Lollipop broken, the portents for 2015 are not good for Google.

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