Why doesn’t Google demand that cellphone carriers make upgrading to the latest Android version mandatory? Google cannot and cellphone makers and carriers don’t really want their customers to upgrade at all. Instead, they would prefer that customers simply buy a new Android powered smartphone.
Let’s compare that attitude to some actual math. Apple released iOS 10 to approximately one billion customers just a few weeks ago. Already, about 50-percent of all iOS devices have upgraded to the latest, iOS 10.x, even more than are using iOS 9 on their iPhones and iPads.
How does Android compare?
Android Marshmallow, version 6.x, was launched about the same time as iOS 9 last year and has yet to top 20-percent market penetration. Prior to iOS 10 being launched a few weeks ago, iOS 9 had reached about 90-percent of all iPhones and iPads in the world.
Android Lollipop, released two years ago and around the same time as iOS 8.x has about 35-percent market penetration. That’s much higher than iOS 8 which is less than 5-percent now because all those older iPhones and iPads have moved on to iOS 9 and iOS 10.
The latest Android version is called Nougat and was released just before Apple launched iOS 10, which now has been installed on about 50-percent of all iPhones and iPads.
Android 7.x Nougat? Not even 1-percent. Not even one-half of 1-percent. Not even half of that.
What that means is this. Apple’s iPhone and iPad customers get to use the latest and greatest iOS version for years longer than Android smartphone or tablet users, the vast majority of whom never upgrade to a newer version, never get security updates or patches, and are seldom encouraged to upgrade by their cellphone carriers or manufacturers.
Those who peddle Android phones would prefer that customers upgrade by purchasing a new smartphone, not by upgrading to the new Android OS version.
This is where iPhone kills Android. Google might feign concern over this problem, but there’s little incentive for the search giant to even care about such upgrades or their benefit to customers, because to Google an Android device owner is not a customers. Instead, they’re users who actually become part of Google’s products– advertising and captured data from their few billion Android users.
To Google, you’re a part of the product; not a customers, and barely a user, so there’s no built-in incentive to move Android users up the chain of new versions.
Despite a relatively small marketshare, Apple kills Android where it matters. With customers. With revenue and profits.