Google is learning the hard way something Microsoft has already experienced with Internet Explorer: nobody ever updates their software.
Android 4.0, which we refuse to call “Ice Cream Sandwich” because it’s cloying, has been out for eight months and it has achieved a grand total of 10% market penetration. The vast majority of Android devices, 64%, are still using version 2.3.
Why? Because people don’t update their software. This is for various reasons, but mainly because software updates still terrify the crap out of people, first of all, so they’re likely to hit “Ignore.”
Secondly, they may not be getting an update anyway — companies love Android because they can just find a version, break it to their will, and then refuse to update it until the user tosses out their phone in two years to get a new one.
Android is likely stuck on this two-year cycle. It won’t surprise us if sometime around next year Android 4.x sees a sudden huge bump while 2.3 sees a sudden huge drop. The fact of the matter is people view phone software as a permanent part of the system. This is largely because, well, it was, and still is for any platform other than Android.
Combine that with update fear and, well, Google had better get used to people clinging to the obsolete.
(Image courtesy Google)