Friday, 29 November 2013

Will KitKat finally satisfy the craving for less Android OS fragmentation?

"I'd like to move away from Apple, but the iOS ecosystem is just better than Android". It's a common quote - and understandably so. When Apple updated phones to iOS 7 - 90% of live Apple devices were operating it within a month. Whilst not being great for a vast number who have struggled with the update (especially battery life), this is great for Apple. Android have never experienced that luxury. 

There are 10 versions of the Android OS in circulation on smartphones, from the initial Android Donut to the latest Kit Kat - and Android 4.0 upwards (in my eyes, the turning point when the OS started to compete with iOS) only represents 61.2% of this. Therefore, only 61.2% of Android users are being treated to the best that Android can offer, that simply isn't good enough. There are still around 30% of Android users stuck behind on Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread). Android is a different beast to what it was back then.

So why is Android 4.4 (KitKat) different? Simply put; it has been built to run on all Android devices from 512mb upwards (i.e 99% of them). This has been proven by the geniuses over at xda, who have put Android 4.4 onto the Nexus One and have seen brilliant results.

So why does having a consistent OS version make a difference? Surely it just helps those with poorer phones, and doesn't impact upon those with phones on Android 4.0 upwards? Partly true.
      For a start, as mentioned before, those with earlier Android devices would see a dramatic shift in the performance. After-all, the hardware of a device is just half the battle. That's not to say that those operating a newer version of the OS won't see an improvement - Android 4.4 is a cleaner version, and will further improve performance on even the newest of devices.

However, the main benefit to the Android ecosystem is via the app offering. It will be easier to provide widespread updates  for apps because developers will only have to consider one OS version. This is also true for the release delay in new apps. iOS often sees an earlier release of apps - simply because of the ease in developing for one OS version.

This could be the final turn of the knife from Android who, after successfully manufacturing better phones than the iPhone, will now be able to boast of a complete OS in partnership.

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