Fragmentation has always been one of the biggest concerns of Android developers. Android fans have always feared that Android has too many versions running on too many phones with varying hardware specifications. Due to this, despite Google’s best efforts, developing an iPhone app was considered much easier than developing an Android app. The user experience on the iPhone is also much more consistent than on Android devices, each with its own custom UI and quirks.
Because each manufacturer plastered its own custom UI shell on top of the Android OS, it was very difficult to push timely updates to users. Every update was delayed as the manufacturer needed to integrate its own UI with the OS.
Many phones were still using prehistoric versions of Android like 1.5 and 1.6 months after Android 2.1 Eclair and Android 2.2 Froyo had released.
However, things are now looking good. The official statistics of Android users are now out and they say that 28.7% of Android users are now on Android 2.2 Froyo, the latest version of Android OS while 41.7% are on Android 2.1 Eclair.
Those on Android 1.6 and 1.5 are only 17.5% and 12% respectively. This sudden gain in the user numbers of the latest OS versions can be attributed to the recent Android 2.2 upgrade releases for the Nexus One, HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid X, the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire, the most popular Android smartphones.
Android 3.0 Gingerbread is going to launch soon, and Google has stated that it will obviate the need for custom UIs, thus speeding up further upgrades for all users.
Source: Android Developers