Let’s face it: Android will probably always be fragmented over three or four major versions. Some phone manufacturers are slow to adopt the newer versions of the platform, while some launch their phones with no updating in mind.
Of course, an alarmingly high 18.9% of all Android devices are running the now quite obsolete version 1.5, while Android 2.2 is now showing up on 3.3% of devices, so an average user’s Android experience can still vary a lot, depending on what device/OS version he or she has.
What does this distribution mean for developers? Well, looking at the chart (above), if a developer wants everyone to be able to use their app, he’ll have to develop for Android 1.5 (all Android APIs are forward-compatible). If he or she wants to develop an app with all the latest bells and whistles of Android 2.1, then approximately half of Android users won’t be able to use the app at all. It’s a continuous race against the clock, but no one said that developing apps for smartphone platforms (especially if you want to develop a cross-platform app) would be easy.