Google is actively working on increasing Android adoption rate on smartphones for the last few years now. The company introduced Project Treble and Project Mainline to help OEMs roll out the latest Android software easily and quickly. Because of these efforts, Google says the adoption of Android 10 has been faster than any previous versions of Android. The latest software was running on more than 100 million devices within five months of its launch. The tech giant says Android 10 has seen 28 percent faster adoption rate than Android Pie in these five months. Google has also outlined all of the measures it is taking with Android 11, to make adoption rate even faster.
While Android 10 running on 100 million devices in five months is a significant number, given the low adoption rate we saw a few years ago, it still has leaps to cross before it can match iOS-level seamless update adoption rate. The current numbers on Android 10 adoption are not known and Google has also stopped publishing the percentage breakdown of which Android devices are running on what software for a while now. To recall, iOS 13 adoption hit the 50 percent mark within just one month of release.
Google looks to fast-track Android 11 adoption through OEM Developer Previews that it introduced two years ago allowing non-Pixel devices to install beta updates before the commercial rollout. It will also rely on the constantly improving Google Play update system to push faster fixes and rollouts. Google details there are about 21 OS components that are now updatable, including 9 additions in Android 11 focused on improving privacy, security, and developer consistency across devices. The company notes that it was able to deploy the Exposure Notifications API on over two billion devices in the space of just four weeks, using Google Play. This tool looks to help public-health agencies in the fight against COVID-19.
Google has also introduced a new Virtual A/B OTA mechanism that offers seamless installation while requiring less storage. Earlier, Google offered an "A/B OTA" system that enabled seamless updates, but used up double the amount the storage. In its blog, Google details, “We are working closely with our OEM partners to begin implementing Virtual A/B in Android 11 devices, making OTAs as frictionless as possible. Going forward, Virtual A/B will be the only supported OTA mechanism in Android.”
Apple has an upper hand in iOS adoption rate due to complete control over hardware and software operations. While Google releases the latest software on Pixel devices seamlessly, the trouble arises when third-party phones need to adopt to the latest Android software. Device makers, chip makers, and carriers have to give the go-ahead for the rollout, and they usually add skin tweaks, their own apps, and test it all out before the roll out is given the green signal. However, Google has actively been working towards removing these roadblocks and the increase in adoption rate is testimony to its efforts.
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