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When it comes to OS adoption rate, Android has historically trailed behind iOS and continues to do so now. As of October 2016, 60 percent of iOS users have updated their devices to iOS 10 (which was released to the public on September 13), while only 32 percent remain on iOS 9. In contrast, Android 7.0 Nougat (which was rolled out to certain Google devices on August) is present in only 0.3 percent of Android devices as of November 2016. Android 6.0 Marshmallow, meanwhile, has finally reached a 24 percent adoption rate — 13 months after it was released.

Android’s slow adoption rate is a worrisome issue for many tech experts, particularly because new updates don’t only bring new features but also fixes for critical bugs and vulnerabilities that threaten users’ safety. Below, we take a look into the reasons why Android users don’t — or can’t — update their devices to the latest firmware:

Slow rollout by OEMs and carriers

One of the biggest reasons behind iOS’s fast adoption rate is that Apple manufactures its own devices. Because of this, the company has full control over the whole software update process, from the development of the update’s source code to its release to individual iDevices. This makes it easy for Apple device owners to get their hands on the latest firmware version.



The process isn’t that simple with Android since there are many players involved. Google has to develop the source code, forward it to phone and tablet OEMs for evaluation, and check with chipset manufacturers if their chips can support the new firmware. If all goes well, OEMs will integrate their individual UI into the source code and coordinate with carriers to implement the modifications they want into the update. Of course, they have to run various tests to locate and fix bugs. This entire process takes a long time, causing Android users to wait for months on end for the latest update to be released to their devices.

Ineligibility of devices

Many Android users don’t update their devices simply because they can’t. Android updates are mostly available to smartphones and tablets that are less than two years old. So, in the case of Android Nougat, it won’t be available to devices that were released in 2014 and earlier, mostly because they don’t have the right hardware to support the latest firmware version.

However, ineligibility isn’t limited to older gadgets. Many relatively new smartphones and tablets won’t receive Android Nougat because part of their hardware isn’t compatible with the update. Some prominent examples are devices that are built with the Snapdragon 800 and 801 chipsets.

Users’ refusal to let go of old habits

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is the mantra of Android users who don’t update their devices simply because they don’t want to or they don’t see any reason to. A lot of them are satisfied with how their phones and tablets work, while others don’t want to go through the process of adjusting to the new features that Android updates bring. What they don’t realize, though, is that they’re exposing themselves to security risks that could have been easily fixed by downloading the latest firmware version.

These are some of the reasons why Android users don’t or can’t update their devices. You can check out this page to learn more about the Android adoption rate.

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