We are only a week shy of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich being six months old, and its numbers are far from encouraging.
With a grand total of 3 per cent of all Android phones running the latest operating system, it would take a very brave developer to focus solely on ICS and disregard the other 97 per cent of devices.
Much talk is made of Android fragmentation, but an app that targets Android 2.2 Froyo will be able to run on 93 per cent of all Android devices. The current Android situation is not that far removed from the iOS position, if we disregard the upper 6 per cent of Android that is Honeycomb and ICS.
And there’s the lovely little conundrum for Android developers. While it is currently feasible to pass on implementing most of ICS’ new API calls, there will be a time in the near future when ICS makes up a significant percentage of the Android install base. A percentage that will demand applications that take advantage of the capabilities of their devices, rather than the developers and designers paying lip service to the updated user-interface framework. Just making the app look the part will not be enough.
It’s not going to be a fun time for Android development, when there is a 20/60/20 split between Froyo, Gingerbread, and ICS.