Most Android Users Still Lack Froyo

For owners of iPhones and iPod Touches, the latest major upgrade to the OS is version 4. For Android users, it's 2.2 "Froyo." Every iOS user with a compatible device can upgrade to 4.x at will, but Android types must wait until the wireless carrier they bought their phone from releases the Froyo update. And while every new iPhone and iPod Touch ships with iOS 4, there are still new Android devices arriving -- such as Dell's Streak -- that run old versions of the software.

So how does that translate into percentages of users who get to enjoy the benefits of a current mobile operating system versus. those who are stuck on something at least slightly stale? Online advertising network Chitika, which publishes stats based on aggregate data about visitors to sites on its network, shared some relevant numbers with me.

Here are Chitika's number for Android devices: Forty-three percent of users are on Froyo, which means that the majority are still running an old version of the OS (See "Android Versions: September).

Next are Chitika's current numbers for the iPhone and iPod Touch-sixty-eight percent of users are on a 4.x version (iOS Versions: September).

(For the sake of consistency, Chitika didn't include the iPad-which will only get iOS 4.x in November-in the above numbers.)

iOS 4 had a head start on Froyo, but only a small one: Apple released it on June 21. Google began pushing Froyo out to Nexus One owners on June 29, and (some) other sellers of Android devices have followed in the weeks since.

It's hard to do useful Apples-to-Androids comparisons here. For one thing, Apple and Google have different approaches to upgrades and version numbering: Apple does one major annual update and rolls the version number ahead by a full digit, while Google has been doing frequent, quite meaty upgrades without ratcheting the version number up to 3.0. We also don't know how many of the stragglers can't do an upgrade on their device and how many could but haven't yet done so.

Even so, this seems like interesting proof of one benefit of Apple's approach to hardware, software, and the integration thereof versus Google's. If you own an iPhone or a Touch, you're probably on the current platform. And if you own an Android device, you probably aren't.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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