the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support

This infographic has been doing the rounds, visualising the state of handset updates in relation to current OS version. There are some questions that are circling around in my head:

* How many Android handset users do I know on older version of the OS could name the benefits they would gain from having an updated version?

* How many people who are looking to buy a handset would consider an Android handset that’s more than a year old (nearly none), vs an iOS handset more than a year old [ie. iPhone 4 / 3GS] (substantially more).

* As above, cost wise the older iOS devices hold their value much more than older Android devices. Think ‘disposable’ devices. Why does the infographic compare cheap low-mid range devices with high-end devices?

* How has the rapid growth rate and development of hardware affected the way the OS is implemented? Phones such as the HTC Hero/Legend were running at nearly maximum capacity of their hardware, but nowadays, the dual-core devices can handle everything thrown at them. Would it make sense to restrict future development of features purely to keep owners of legacy handsets happy? Think Windows Vista on a 128MB of RAM.

* In contrast, how many iPhone 3G owners have updated to iOS5 knowing that performance is significantly degraded on their legacy hardware? Supported does not necessarily mean widely adopted.

* Is having ‘future features’ (up to two years in the future) a key selling point for buyers when they choose a device? Or is the current capabilities and state of the device more important?

* In light of this, how many resources would a company put into supporting older hardware when it does not make financial sense to do so?

* All of the above once again assumes that both OS’s are the same, which they are far from – think about the capabilities of what can be done (out of the box) for each.

* Does intentionally blocking Siri access for 3G/3GS/4 users (for no technical reason since it’s mostly server based), purely to drive 4S sales count as blocking a software update?

* Why have these grievous offences in the form of timely smartphone updates not halted sales of Android devices immediately?


the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support


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