Android ICS Roll-Out

t’s now over 6 months (OK, 6 months and 1 day) since the #GalaxyNexus was launched in the UK.

Even if the Android release cycle was stretched out to one release every 12 months that means we’re half way through a release cycle and currently the installed base is around 5% of devices.

5%, or 1 in 20 devices, is a small percentage of the market. To put this in context developers could extend the appeal of their apps to more end users by translating English apps into Korean than by adding ICS features.

If we hear about a guaranteed update programme again this year at #io12 I think many will simply not take it seriously because, after seeing a similar promise last year and, a year later, seeing companies like LG not updating their devices and Sony releasing new, high end, phones with an OS which is two major versions behind current, the whole #io11 guarantee has become a bit of a joke.

I hope this year we’ll see some action. Whether it’s smaller updates so OEMs can keep in step more easily, or earlier access for OEMs so we can see a rush of new devices when a new Android version is launched, something needs to happen to get new versions of Android into users hands more quickly.

At the moment the situation makes a mockery of the current practice of keeping new releases under wraps until they’re launched. In the 6 months it takes for just 5% of devices to be upgraded any commercial advantage the new features in a new release may deliver has well and truly gone.

So lets hope there’s a real wake-up call at #io12 and something tangible happens, otherwise any new versions of Android will be unlikely to raise interest with end users because they’ll know they’re unlikely to see many devices with it on any time soon.