By Faisal Kawoosa, General Manager, Research & Consulting, CMR
In a recent report released by CMR, one of the correlations we were able to conclude was that users received the latest versions of OS quicker and faster in a tightly controlled and narrow ecosystem.
So where, 96% of the iOS users were enjoying the latest version of the OS, in case of Android it was only 38%.
When we looked into the reasons of it, among many, it appeared that the OEMs/Vendors have an influential role in deciding what the users should get. Somehow, what I should get on my Android Smartphone is highly dependent on the vendor I have it from.
Here, I feel Microsoft has something to teach Google. The disintegrated model that Microsoft uses makes it totally upto the users, depending on the hardware specifications, to decide what their devices should be running on.
A user like you and me can decide whether we need the latest version on the laptop/desktop and the OEM from whom we had bought them have no role to play. This is what Google needs to replicate with Android.
With Smartphones running very high on hardware configurations, majority of these are already capable of having the latest OS versions. It is only the lengthy value chain that disturbs it affecting the user experiences. I am sure if Google resorts to this model, several users would be willing to pay to buy a latest version of the OS.
This is not beneficial for a user only; it also gives ease of managing fewer OS versions to Google as well as other eco-system players like vendors and app developers. This way we should be able to increase the percentage of devices loaded with the latest version of Android and also reduce the cycle of availability of latest versions on the devices.
The intent, however, should not be to reduce the relevance of OEMs / Vendors, but to enable latest in the entire eco-system. This becomes even important for a market like India which is very price sensitive and usually vendors go with an earlier version of OS available to price the devices in the desired low to entry level price bands.
And we know that most of emerging Smartphone markets are going to be these price sensitive markets. This means that the picture is only going to be further complex and fragmented.
This will also open up security and performance issues as along with an update there are generally several security and performance fixes addressed.
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