Android OS
android-4-4-KitKat
Why Android 4.4 KitKat Is Google’s Best Attempt At Mobile OS

Google first announced its Android mobile operating system in 2007, to compete with Apple’s much popular iOS platform. Although Android had a slow start in terms of its UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) development, it has become a major competitor to iOS in the past 2-3 years. Unlike the fruit company, Google likes to keep its software as open as possible when it can and Android was no exception. This has allowed for a fast adoption rate from different manufactures who choose to run their hardware on Google’s free mobile OS.

Android’s Problem

According to a study done by Open Signal Maps, there are just under 4000 Android devices out in the wild. With so many devices, software fragmentation starts becoming an issue for developers and even users. With 7 major software releases, each introducing/taking away features it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of everything on almost 4000 devices. This is not to mention the custom skins and adjustments that are done to the phone by the manufacturer/carrier. It would be a nightmare keeping track of all those variable.

So what would happen to a phone that was released 4 months before a major software update? It would be outdated overnight due to it’s redundant hardware that incapable of running and supporting the more power hungry update. That is one of the main reasons why we still see majority (65%) of Android phones still run on 2.3.

Google’s Solution

Just like all other operating systems out there, when there are updates, it automatically means we’re going to need higher end specs inside our smart devices. The same applies to Google’s latest Android 4.4 KitKat release. Right? WRONG!! Google seems to have sat down the engineers and given them a talking to about the fragmentation of their OS.

Google cannot force manufacturers to recall all the phones and upgrade their specs, because that would be impractical and unreasonable! Instead the search giant has decided to fix the problem on their end and write better cleaner code that can run on older hardware. Google’s KitKat 4.4 only requires 512MB of RAM, which means it can run on phones that are a few years old.

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up Just Yet

Google has done their part in making it easier for manufacturers to deliver the latest and greatest to their users. It has now up to the manufacturers to embrace this new powerful and processor friendly OS to deliver a rich and immersive user experience for their customers. But will the phone developers be willing to invest their time and resources in upgrading their old phones to run the latest OS or will they just continue to create a better hardware that’s capable of running the same OS? Bad news is, if manufacturers opt for the former, we will not be moving forward on the fragmentation issue.

Conclusion

Google continues to push the boundaries with their innovating products, but unfortunately it becomes increasingly difficult to control specifics of a product once it is given to manufacturers and developers and open source software. Fragmentation is always going to be an issue for Google until they start enforcing certain policies upon manufacturers regarding their mobile OS update. Until then, we hang loose and enjoy our Gingerbreads.