There are over a billion outdated Android devices in use


21 bookmarks. First posted by cpswan 5 days ago.


Luu is an ex-Googler:
<p>People sometimes compare Android to Windows XP because there are a large number of both in the wild and in both cases, most devices will not get security updates. However, this is tremendously unfair to Windows XP, which was released on 10/2001 and got security updates until 4/2014, twelve and a half years later. Additionally, Microsoft has released at least one security update after the official support period (there was an update in 5/2017 in response to the WannaCry ransomware). It’s unfortunate that Microsoft decided to end support for XP while there are still so many XP boxes in the wild, but supporting an old OS for over twelve years and then issuing an emergency security patch after more fifteen years puts Microsoft into a completely different league than Google and Apple when it comes to device support.

Another difference between Android and Windows is that Android’s scale is unprecedented in the desktop world. The were roughly 200 million PCs sold in 2017. Samsung alone has been selling that many mobile devices per year since 2008. Of course, those weren’t Android devices in 2008, but Android’s dominance in the non-iOS mobile space means that, overall, those have mostly been Android devices. Today, we still see nearly 50 year old PDP-11 devices in use. There are few enough PDPs around that running into one is a cute, quaint, surprise (0.6 million PDP-11s were sold). Desktops boxes age out of service more quickly than PDPs and mobile devices age out of service even more quickly, but the sheer difference in number of devices caused by the ubiquity of modern computing devices means that we’re going to see many more XP-era PCs in use 50 years after the release of XP and it’s plausible we’ll see even more mobile devices around 50 years from now. Many of these ancient PDP, VAX, DOS, etc. boxes are basically safe because they’re run in non-networked configurations, but it looks like the same thing is not going to be true for many of these old XP and Android boxes that are going to stay in service for decades.

We’ve seen that Android devices appear to be getting more out of date over time. This makes it difficult for developers to target “new” Android API features, where new means anything introduced in the past few years. It also means that there are a lot of Android devices out there that are behind in terms of security. This is true both in absolute terms and also relative to iOS.</p>
security  android  scale 
3 days ago by charlesarthur
We’ve seen that Android devices appear to be getting more out of date over time. This makes it difficult for developers to target “new” Android API features, where new means anything introduced in the past few years. It also means that there are a lot of Android devices out there that are behind in terms of security. This is true both in absolute terms and also relative to iOS.
android  reliability  security 
3 days ago by brandon.w.barry
Until recently, Android was directly tied to the hardware it ran on, making it very painful to keep old devices up to date because that requiring a custom Android build with phone-specific (or at least SoC-specific work). Google claims that this problem is fixed in the latest Android version (8.0, Oreo). People who remember Google’s “Android update alliance” annoucement in 2011 may be a bit skeptical of the more recent annoucement. In 2011, Google and U.S. carries announced that they’d keep devices up to date for 18 months, which mostly didn’t happen. However, even if the current annoucement isn’t smoke and mirrors and the latest version of Android solves the update probem, we’ve seen that it takes years for Android releases to get adopted and we’ve also seen that the last few Android releases have significantly slower uptake than previous releases. Additionally, even though this is supposed to make updates easier, it looks like Android is still likely to stay behind iOS in terms of updates for a while. Google has promised that its latest phone (Pixel 2, 10/2017) will get updates for three years. That seems like a step in the right direction, but as we’ve seen from the graphs above, extending support by a year isn’t nearly enough to keep most Android devices up to date. But if you have an iPhone, the latest version of iOS (released 9/2017) works on devices back to the iPhone 5S (released 9/2013).

If we look at the newest Android release (8.0, 8/2017), it looks like you’re quite lucky if you have a two year old device that will get the latest update. The oldest “Google” phone supported is the Nexus 6P (9/2015), giving it just under two years of support.

If you look back at devices that were released around when the iPhone5S, the situation looks even worse. Back then, I got a free Moto X for working at Google; the Moto X was about as close to an official Google phone as you could get at the time (this was back when Google owned Moto). The Moto X was released on 8/2013 (a month before the iPhone 5S) and the latest version of Android it supports is 5.1, which was released on 2/2015, a little more than a year and a half later. For an Android phone of its era, the Moto X was supported for an unusually long time. It’s actuall a good sign that things look worse as look further back in time, but at the rate things are improving, it will be years before there’s a decently supported Android device released and then years beyond those years before that Android version is in widespread use. It’s possible that Fuchsia will fix this, but Fuchsia is also many years away from widespread use.
android  os  scale 
3 days ago by euler
RT : Un milliard d’Android pas à jour, et plus chaque jour
from twitter
4 days ago by ronnix
How out of date are devices?
from twitter
4 days ago by gpessia
There are over 1 billion outdated Android devices in use
from twitter
4 days ago by ampressman
“There are over a billion outdated Android devices in use”
from twitter
4 days ago by acdha