The battle between Apples' iOS and Google's Android operating systems saw another development after being found that many of the Android users are still using older versions compared to Apple users.
Search giant Google (GOOG) has released Android 2.3, popularly known as Gingerbread, which is an updated version of Android operating system, in December. However, it seems very few of the Android users have migrated to Gingerbread.
Only 0.4 percent of Android users are using Gingerbread, while 51.8 percent are using Froyo (Android 2.2) and 35.2 percent are using Eclair (Android 2.1), according to figures released in Google's Android Developers Website.
Another interesting fact is that that over 12 percent of Android users are still using Android 1.5 and 1.6.
With respect to Gingerbread, the lower adoption could be related to Google's distribution strategy. Currently, Gingerbread is only available on Google's Nexus S smartphone, which it launched directly to consumers through Best Buy, in early December. In January 2010, Google launched its Nexus One smartphone, but it failed to generate enough sales.
However, the key roadblock in the upgrade rates for Android users is lack of Google' control over carriers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) regarding the usage of operating system as it does not have a say that a specific handset should get new version of Android.
Several OEMs or carriers may block release of newer updates to clear existing inventories. Recently, there were media reports saying that T-Mobile accused Samsung of willfully delaying updated Froyo handsets to sell older version handsets.
This is actually a serious issue with Android, as Google releases frequent updates, but it is not reaching the users.
Since the launch of the original Android platform in September 2008, many versions have followed. Gingerbread (Android 2.3) is already Google's eighth update, with its forthcoming Honeycomb (Android 3.0) pad-focused release set to appear on devices in coming months. Another update Ice Cream rumored to be available in mid 2011.
So, even before a user getting his hands into Froyo or Gingerbread, Google may launch Honeycomb.
This is an area, where Apple scores over Google. Apple sends the software upgrades directly to iPhones or iPads, not the carrier like in the case of Android. This increases the chances of an iOS user getting quicker access to the latest software updates.
Last week, David Lieb, CEO of Bump Technologies said in a Quora post that 89.73 percent of iOS users are using some form of iOS4, with 52.89 percent of them already upgraded to iOS 4.2.1.
Though there were concerns with respect to Apple's procedure of approving apps, its users are assured of getting the latest updates to software as and when it released. Only, time will tell when Google, OEMs and carriers find a solution to this serious Android issue.