Ronny Lam

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The Android OS Fragmentation Problem

Last week my wife started complaining that her Samsung Galaxy SII was getting slow. The first thing I did was to have a look at memory and CPU usage and noticed a couple of processes eating a lot memory. Two of them where Whatsapp and Viber, which where only 20% of the size after restarting them. The other was malware which I removed.

The other thing I did was check the OS-version, which turned out to be 2.3 Gingerbread. I looked for a software update which I could not find. At some time there was an ICS update available but it got pulled back because of bugs.

This made me wonder, since I still see Android devices being sold with 2.3 or even older, what the amount of old OS-versions are. It turned out to be staggering. Almost 70% of Android devices is running an older version of the firmware…

Since certain Android devices are stuck with outdated versions of the OS, they lack significant features and improvements to optimally work. The fragmentation problem also makes Android devices vulnerable to exploits.

How can this be acceptable? Not only by Google, but also the vendors and the carriers that sell these phones. Besides running security software on the device, the best advice I got and what I can give to others is to buy a new phone from the Google line. These will always, to a certain point, be upgradeable.

In this line I want to point out that with Apple iOS almost 80% of the devices is running the latest and greatest firmware. That’s why I liked the post at GoogleSystem with an ”Ode to the 3GS”.

With all this hype about quad-core and dual quad-core phones, I find it amazing that a smartphone from 2009 runs the latest OS version and the latest apps well.

That’s a big difference with a much younger Samsung Galaxy SII.