android 12 is not present on practically any phone, except for the Google Pixel and some other high-end phones. Despite this, we already have the first Developer Preview of Android 13, being the first time that Google launches a version with such a short distance between the previous one. Was it necessary to release a version so soon, instead of focusing on improving the current one?
We wanted to open the debate on the need to release an operating system version per year, something that iOS does not get rid of either. The iPhone and iPad operating system also has a long history of version that breaks things-version that fixes things quite interesting, although the penetration rate is much higher.
There are apps that don’t even work on Android 12, but we already have Android 13
It’s been a while since Google stopped updating monthly the android version distribution rate. However, the latest data is from November 2021, so it hasn’t been that long since the last record.
The data is hard: just over 24% of Android devices had a cumulative distribution of Android 11. In other words, almost 80% of android phones were outdatedbased on data from Android 11, which is not even the latest version.
Android 12, a version that is not even six months old, is present on phones that can be counted on the fingers of two hands, but we already have Android 13, version on which developers have to start working to have their apps working with the new ROM. Today, there are apps that don’t even work well on Android 12and those developers will have to adapt them to the latest version now.
Fragmentation is one of the main problems of Android, something that does not help that we have a new version year after year. The usual cycle, hopefully, usually two years of updatesexcept for some manufacturers that offer three and the exceptional case of Samsung, which offers four years of system updates and five of security patches.
Due to the very “open” nature of Android, fragmentation will always be there, but perhaps lowering the rate of updates would help settle the current versions and give manufacturers time to adopt them, without having to constantly think about updating to the new one. Something similar (although not as radical, perhaps) to what we see with systems like Windows 10, with longer life cycles and updates aimed at improving the same version.
The iPhones are updated more, but it would not hurt to slow down
In the case of iOS the picture is quite different. Currently iOS 15 adoption rate exceeds 70%. In other words, only 3 out of 10 iPhones are not updated, all this taking into account that the adoption of iOS 15 is being slower.
However, the history of iOS is that of versions that break things and versions that fix things, so it wouldn’t hurt to polish those versions that end up being quite polished. There have been few generations in which Apple has had to release a version “focused on stability” since, by loading the new version with new features, they have made it less stable.
This is the case of iOS 9, iOS 12 and iOS 14, without going any further, versions focused on improving performance and lost instability compared to their predecessors. Lowering the pace would help in stabilitywith the small tribute of losing some novelties that, in most cases, are minor.
Technology evolves year after year, and renewing the operating system has become a tradition that accompanies the evolution of the hardware itself. We open the debate on whether or not to downshiftlet the versions rest a little longer and that their life cycle is based on polishing them until they are completely stable, and think more patiently about including new features.