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Study: Absence of over-the-air updates slows iOS device upgrades

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Almost twice as many Motorola Droid users have upgraded to Android 2.2 than iPhone 3GS users who've evolved to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS 4.0, according to new data issued by mobile app analytics firm Localytics. Over two months after the June 21 release of iOS 4.0, more than 20 percent of iPhone 3GS users still haven't upgraded their phones, Localytics reports--by comparison, 96 percent of Motorola Droid units now run Android 2.2, released on Aug. 12. Localytics credits the discrepancy to Android's over-the-air upgrade approach, which is considerably more consumer friendly than Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS upgrade process, which requires users to connect their mobile devices to their computer.

"Apple's upgrade process is very easy and virtually foolproof," the Localytics Blog notes. "This works well for users who regularly plug-in their iPhone. However, the upgrade numbers suggest that many iPhone users are not regularly plugging-in, instead using their phone more independent of their Mac or PC... At some point, Apple will probably need/want to provide OTA upgrades to both the iPad and iPhone, at least over WiFi." Localytics also offers a word of caution for Android developers: "Be aware that your entire customer base can migrate to a new OS in just days! For Apple developers, be aware that you'll likely have a good mix of current and older versions of iOS running simultaneously. The good news is that mobile apps can already be upgraded OTA and staying under 10 MB means that apps can also be downloaded over mobile networks."

In related news, Android 2.2.--a.k.a. 'Froyo'--now powers 28.7 percent of smartphones running Google's Android operating system, according to new data issued by the digital services giant. In recent weeks, Android 2.2 (which boasts faster browsing and support for Adobe Flash, among other enhancements) has expanded to devices including HTC's Evo and Motorola's Droid and Droid 2; Android 2.1 remains the dominant OS version, powering 41.7 percent of phones. Google adds that 17.5 percent of devices continue to run Android 1.6, with 12.0 percent of units running Android 1.5--just 0.1 percent of Android phones are still running obsolete versions of the OS.

For more on the OS upgrade contrast:
- read this Localytics Blog entry

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