Android Now Runs 8 Out Of 10 Mobile Devices

Android Smart Phone
An Android Smart Phone

What runs the Smart Phone is in your pocket? – chances are its either Google or Apple – but is it up to date?

If you carry a smartphone the math says it will either be an Android or iPhone.  In fact, 8 out of 10 smart phones today are powered by Android.

Android isn’t just limited to phones – you can find it in cars, wearable devices, televisions and many other electronics.

Yet, Google, the manufacture of Android, is concerned.

Just last week the newest version of Android operating system was released.  Named Nouget it is being called the sweetest version yet.  (Google names each version after a kind of candy).  The problem – very few people are using it.

How do I upgrade my phone?

Unlike other operating systems like Windows or OSX it is much more difficult to upgrade Android devices.  The main reason for this is because of the process that Android has to go through to get from Google to you.

When an update to Windows or Apple OS is released it’s designed to run on basically any computer capable of it.  If you have a PC with the right processor and memory you just install the upgrade.  The same thing goes for Apple Computers – and the iPhone as well.

Android is different.  There are many different manufactures of Android devices, each with their own specific requirements.  This is an issue called “fragmentation”.   Let’s say, for example, you have a Samsung Galaxy S6 phone – a product that now would be 2-3 years old.  Let’s also assume that you are using one of the major mobile providers, Verizon.  For the new version of Android to get to your device, it first goes to Samsung, who makes adjustments.  Then it goes to Verizon, who makes more adjustments.  It is then up to Verizon to send it to your device when they deem it ready.

What does this mean for you?   First, there is no way you can directly update because of this process.  Second, if either of the intermediary companies (Samsung/Verizon) does anything wrong or simply decides they no longer want to support your device you have no control over that either.

Google is working to eliminate, or at least reduce, this barrier to entry.  They must consider all the risks because there is an upside to the multiple levels of review.  That is that when you finally do get an upgrade you know it has been tested for your specific phone, not just for a generic smartphone.  This should mean that it will work without a lot of bugs and problems.

What about security?

The other big issue with running older software in general is security.  We have just seen a major cyber-attack and these type of events will keep happening.  Since a smart phone is a hand held computer it is no exception to security issues and flaws.

We all know about running antivirus software for our PC or Mac but these same programs exist for your smart phone.  They install and setup like any app – just search on Play Store for Android or the Apple Store of iPhone and you will get a list.

I use Avast Antivirus and Security myself.  It is a free app and covers all the bases.  Another app called “Sophos” has tested very high in security your device.   If you don’t mind dropping a few dollars all the big names (McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky) offer a version for smart phones.  They usually sell a suite that includes a license for your laptop/desktop and mobile device at the same price.

Is it only an Android or Apple World?

Android and Apple together hold 99.6% of the smart phone market.  There are two other types that are worth mentioning.  First is Windows Mobile.   Microsoft has had a very difficult time getting into the mobile market but their devices do exist.  Second is an offering by Samsung called Tizen OS.  Both offerings are solid and work well.  The biggest issue is the lack of apps and third party software.  To combat this Microsoft is working to bring iTunes to their platform and Tizen should have combability with Android apps.  The initial focus with Tizen seems to be geared towards wearables and appliances.   Only time will tell if either of these systems become successful.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2015.  With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology.  Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.

Got a technology question or comment for Bill?  Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw

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