Google is having a problem of the same order as Microsoft: an operating system version that just won’t go away. You could say that Google has its own Windows XP ! Ars Technica explains: “Android 2.3 Gingerbread—Four years later, the OS just won’t die“. But the situation of both products is different. XP is no longer supported, but Google is still helping those Gingerbread users:
The most important app of any smartphone OS is the app store, and Google has made sure to not leave Gingerbread behind—as you can see in the main article picture, the OS gets the very latest version of the Play Store.
Of course, XP is already a bit older than Android, all versions confounded. The endurance of XP says something about Windows 7 and its successors, doesn’t it?
Concerning Gingerbread: let’s not forget that smartphone producers could have done a lot to help users upgrade to more recent and more capable versions of Android. CyanogenMod and similar projects have proven that it is possible to upgrade many devices, although their makers don’t make the effort.
As proof, I offer my 2011 Galaxy S Plus. It ran Android 2.3 as the (only) official version offered by Samsung – if I recall correctly, 2.3.7 was the latest update. Currently, it’s doing alright with a CyanogenMod version of Android 4.1.2, and I’m planning to upgrade it to 4.4… Samsung won’t even release Android 4.4 for the SGS 3, which was a top smartphone in 2012/2013, with more power and memory than the S Plus.
Then again, if the Samsungs and Huaweis and … (add your own make to the list) of this world were to offer us new smartphones just by upgrading existing software, then they wouldn’t sell that many machines. Which might be better for the environment, but not for their CFO’s!