iPhone User? 90% Chance You're On The Latest OS. Android User? 0.4% Chance

As a member of the media, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Nexus S running Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” a few weeks ago. It’s great, easily the best version of Android yet. I hope one day soon you all get to try it out. But the likelihood of that is pathetically small. In fact, don’t be surprised if Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” is out before most of you even get a chance to use Gingerbread — maybe even for phones as well as tablets.

With the iPhone, it’s a much different story. The likelihood that you are already running the latest version of the iOS software is much, much higher. In fact, it’s something around 90 percent, if some numbers shared by the CEO of Bump are to be believed.

David Lieb shared his numbers last week on a Quora thread entitled: What proportion of all iPhone owners use iOS4.* today?

With Bump, our download and usage base is so large that it should be a good statistical sample. Here’s our data from all Bump users between January 7 and January 10, 2011. *Note that this includes all iOS devices, not just iPhone as the question asks,” Lieb writes.

He then gives the following stats:

Binned by major rev:
4.X: 89.73 %
3.X: 10.25 %
2.X: 0.02 %

In other words, just about 90 percent of Bump users are using the latest major update to iOS. He gives some more detailed numbers, indicating individual revision breakdowns, but the above ones are probably best to compare with Android revisions because .X updates in iOS tend to be pretty minor (bug fixes), while .X in Android are usually pretty major (new features).

Further, Ian Peters-Campbell, an engineer at Loopt, confirmed that they’re seeing the same basic breakdown, with perhaps even more iOS 4.X users.

(Oh, and those other 10 percent of iPhone users not on iOS 4? They could certainly upgrade if they wanted to — they’ve probably just cracked and/or jailbroken their phones.)

So, iOS 4 has 90 percent share amongst iOS device owners. What about Android 2.3? 0.4 percent, as of a couple weeks ago. Yes, that’s zero point four percent.

Okay, I realize it’s a little unfair to compare iOS 4 to Android 2.3 since the latter was just released and is only available on one phone (again, the Nexus S). Still, the fact that it’s still only available on one phone weeks after being made public says a lot.

But for the sake of this being slightly more fair, let’s compare iOS 4 to Android 2.2 — an OS which came out well before iOS 4. The adoption rate there? 51.8 percent. That’s still pretty pathetic.

Obviously, this isn’t the Android users’ faults. The problem is that the OEMs and carriers are holding these updates up for a wide variety of reasons, 99 percent of which are undoubtedly bullshit. Here’s a perfect example. Supposedly, the Android 2.2 update is all ready to go for Samsung Android phones on T-Mobile, but Samsung doesn’t want to push it out so that they can entice people to buy the newly announced Vibrant 4G+ instead.


Instead, many Samsung T-mobile Android users are struck with Android 2.1. An OS that while perhaps only a year old, is now two full revisions old in Android land. A dinosaur, in other words. And they’re hardly alone. Some 35.2 percent of all Android users are stuck on this same version of the OS.

Imagine if 35 percent of all iOS users were stuck on iOS 2 (which is so old that it wasn’t even called ‘iOS” at the time), while a few of us had iOS 4 and the majority of us had iOS 3? Yeah…

Even more humorous is the fact that over 12 percent of Android users are still stuck on Android 1.5 and 1.6. I mean, Android 1.5 is nearly two years old now. And again, more importantly, it’s four major revisions ago. iOS hasn’t even gone through four major revisions yet.

So it’s sort of like if a few iPhone users had iOS 4, the majority had iOS 3, a good number had iOS 2, some had iOS 1, and then nearly 5 percent were stuck using MotoROKRs.

Google, meanwhile, keeps promising that this sad trend is going to improve. They’re sure that the carriers are eventually going to see the light and get in line any day now. Those 99.6 percent of Android users who’ve seen Android 2.3 — but can’t use it — are waiting awfully patiently.

Meanwhile, the iPhone will launch on its second U.S. carrier in less than a month. And it will launch with either iOS 4.2.5 or iOS 4.3. The same OS that every single other iOS user will have access to.