Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller must be quaking in his iBoots right about now, knowing that today is the day that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will officially be unveiled. He certainly seems busy trash talking Samsung and Google in the meantime.
Yesterday Schiller was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, where he mentioned fragmentation in Android but largely focused on how the out-of-box experience was supposedly inferior with Android. That same day he also spoke with Reuters, bringing up many of the same points but shifting focus around how most users don’t have the latest Android updates and how the Samsung Galaxy S4 itself will likely be shipping with a ‘year old’ version of Android.
“With their own data, only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system,” Schiller is quoted as saying. “Over 50 percent are still on software that is two years old. A really big difference.”
Then came the direct attack on the Galaxy S4: “And that extends to the news we are hearing this week that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is being rumored to ship with an OS that is nearly a year old,” he said. “Customers will have to wait to get an update.”
Apparently not one to let sleeping dogs lie, Schiller finished up his attack by mentioning research from third parties that supposedly showed people who have iOS devices use them more than people who have Android.
Is there any legitimacy to Schiller’s claims?
I’ll be honest, yes, there is fragmentation with Android.
From carriers to vendors, the process of rolling out updates to Android is somewhat complicated and sometimes it does take a while for a newer version on Android to reach certain devices. This is the price paid for an open system where one brand doesn’t control both the hardware and the software.
That said, just because a user is on an older version of Android doesn’t mean they aren’t happy with their mobile device. It is also worth mentioning that even though upgrade fragmentation might exist, as long as your phone isn’t totally out of date hardware-wise, it should still run the majority of the apps found on Google Play regardless of the version of Android running on it.
As for the claim that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is shipping with a year old version of Android, am I missing something here? As far as I’m aware, the S4 will feature Android Jelly Bean 4.2. Android 4.2 was announced on October 29th. No matter what way I do the math, I don’t reach a year. I clearly don’t know how to do math as well as Apple.
For argument’s sake, let’s say the Galaxy S4 shows up with Jelly Bean 4.1, which was announced on June 27th of 2012 – still not a year.
Of course Schiller was probably pointing out that Key Lime Pie is just around the corner, and that the Samsung Galaxy S4 won’t have it out of the box. While some Key Lime action at launch would have been great, what’s wrong with Jelly Bean? I guess I don’t see this as a huge problem like Schiller seems to suggest.
I will admit that on the matter of iOS users being happier with their devices than Android users, Apple does manage to rank higher in overall customer satisfaction, with about 70% satisfaction compared to Android’s 50%. In regards to the rest of his argument though, it seems that he is basically grasping at straws.
What do you think, is Apple simply scared that the Galaxy S4 will make people turn away from the iPhone for good?