Study: Most Android smartphones run outdated OS versions

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Close to half of all U.S. smartphones powered by Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system have never run a current version of the platform, and the overwhelming majority will never run the new Android 4.0 (a.k.a. "Ice Cream Sandwich"), according to a report conducted by the blog The Understatement.

android orphans

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Seven out of 18 Android smartphones have never run the most recent version of the platform, and 12 of 18 only ran a current edition of Android for a matter of weeks, the report indicates. Ten of 18 were at least two major Android versions behind within their two-year operator contract period, and 11 of 18 ceased receiving support updates within a year of retail release.

Fifteen of 18 Android devices still don't run version 2.3, a.k.a. "Gingerbread," first released in late 2010. The Understatment adds that when Google issues Android 4.0 during the next several weeks, all 18 devices on the list will fall still another major version behind, and estimates that at least 16 of the devices will never receive the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

"The Samsung Behold II on T-Mobile was the most expensive Android phone ever, and Samsung promoted that it would get a major update to Eclair at least," The Understatement's Michael Degusta writes. "But at launch the phone was already two major versions behind--and then Samsung decided not to do the update after all, and it fell three major OS versions behind. Every one ever sold is still under contract today."

Degusta adds that Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) Motorola Devour launched with a Super Bowl ad but shipped with an OS that was already outdated--by kickoff of the following Super Bowl, the smartphone was three major versions behind.

Google took the wraps off Android 4.0 earlier this month, promising a more sophisticated and unified user experience across smartphones and tablets. Android 4.0 delivers the tablet-optimized innovations introduced in the Android 3.0 Honeycomb update to all devices in an effort to reduce platform fragmentation. Google has promised that moving forward, the same version of Android will run across all devices, regardless of screen size.

For more:
- read this Understatement blog entry

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