Think about it this way: Over the last month alone, this decentralized system has provided Android users — anyone with a device running software from 2011 or later — with a refreshed Gmail app, a rewritten music app, an on-demand music streaming service, a new universal messaging system, a new series of context-sensitive Google Now commands, a new and improved Google Maps, a new version of Google+ with advanced and automated photo manipulation tools, a new universal gaming center, an updated Calendar app, and an updated system keyboard. That's enough stuff to amount to a major update in Appleland — and with Android, it happened outside of any such parameters.
Google's own unlocked Nexus devices, it's also worth noting — the ones Google actually develops and endorses — do provide a guarantee of timely ongoing full OS upgrades. For users who want to be running the latest full version of Android at all times, that option is there. In both concept and selection, the Nexus devices are actually pretty comparable to Apple's entire product lineup; the difference is that with Android, there's also a huge variety ofother devices from which users can choose.
Here's the bottom line: Apple's iOS and Google's Android take very different approaches to software upgrades, and each setup has its own share of pros and cons. Is running iOS 6 with many of its key features stripped out any better than running Android 4.0 with new standalone updates added in? That's for you to decide.
One thing I can assure you, though, is thatthe mobile upgrade game is evolving. Numbers alone no longer mean everything — and a giant pie chart certainly doesn't tell the whole story.
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