Google claims that Android 10 was downloaded faster than any version of its history, hitting 100 million devices in five months.
This makes its adoption rate 28% faster than the previous version.
After 300 days, 400 million users were running the latest version of the software.
However, the adoption speed is still lagging behind Apple’s iOS, which has an adoption rate of 92% for its latest operating system among modern iPhones.
According to ArsTechnica, Google said that last year there were 2.5 billion active devices and 400 million with the latest version representing only 16% of the possible installation base.
However, direct comparisons are not that simple. Apple updates its phones and software and releases the updates themselves. Its adoption rate only counts phones released in the past four years.
Android, by contrast, is an open source operating system used by a wide range of manufacturers who make many different devices.
Those manufacturers have traditionally had to approve the major versions of Android for their devices, often adding long delays.
Some manufacturers have also refused to commit to updates for their phones, even when they are available.
This has frustrated some users who are waiting for new features, but some phones that have never received essential security updates could be compromised by bad actors.
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- “How my photo ended up breaking Android phones”
Google claims to have made changes to the Android update process which allowed it to push essential updates much faster.
One example is the release of its back-end contact tracking system, which is used by coronavirus tracking apps in several countries, such as Germany and Ireland.
The new system allows Google to send updates to parts of the operating system via the Google Play app store.
In a discussion on Reddit, members of the Android development team wrote that the main problems with the phone manufacturers that release updates “are fundamentally about the costs.”
They wrote that since Android is released as open source software, it is then customized by phone manufacturers to work with their cameras, interface and other special considerations.
“When verifying the next version, you need to take the changes you made and move them forward (reset) to the new version,” they added, “This takes time and effort, and time and effort means cost.”
The changes made by the team are designed to allow faster updates on specific parts of the system that need not be approved by each individual manufacturer.