Danny Sullivan makes several good points about the average end user not caring so much about Google’s inability to get carriers/OEMs to push the latest Android updates. But it’s about more than just the obvious “people are still buying a lot of Android devices” aspect of the argument.
When the ecosystem is so fragmented, developers have a hard time doing their best work because the APIs are also fragmented. That is part of what leads to iOS getting the best apps first. And while I agree that no one is buying a device just to get one great app, the effects of this, while perhaps not so obvious on the surface, will continue to compound over time.
And while Google obviously doesn’t want this situation they’re just as much to blame as anyone else:
After taking a look at that inventory, it’s clear the state of Android updates is pretty pathetic. There’s an excellent chance the Galaxy S III will arrive before my Galaxy S II gets updated to Android 4. The Droid Bionic is not likely to get Android 4 before Apple ships iOS 6 and perhaps an entirely new iPhone. My Nexus S — a Google-branded phone — took four months to get the latest version of Android, which was insane.
That is insane and inexcusable.