Phones

Who's the Smartphone OS Crash Champion?

The argument that iOS is a much more stable operating system than Android has been repeated on the blogs and even in the comment threads of stories about the two operating systems. There’s a problem, though: the data indicates that is untrue.

Mobile app monitoring company Crittercism released data Friday on crash reports from the period December 1 through December 15, and saying iOS has stability issues is putting it nicely. By a 2-to-1 margin, iOS crashes much more frequently than Android, according to Crittercism’s report. The biggest offender is iOS 5.0.1, accounting for 28.64 percent of all crashes.

By comparison, the most crash-prone Android operating system is 2.3.3, accounting for 3.86 percent of reports. That’s a huge difference and is sure to get the Apple blogosphere in an uproar over the survey’s methodology.

Yes, the firm’s work did have a disproportionate number of iOS devices in the test (162 million to 52 million for Android). However, to blunt that criticism, Crittercism split the data into quartiles, and looked at the crashes as a percentage of app launches.

The story is the same. In the top quartile, iOS apps crashed .51 percent of the time versus .15 percent for Android; in the second quartile 1.47 percent to .73 percent; and in the bottom quartile 3.66 percent to 2.97 percent. The data favors Android once again.

What’s causing the instability in iOS? It’s a good question without an easy answer. Apple’s walled garden approach in the App Store could leave a disproportionate number of users with outdated and buggy apps. Developers must wait to get updates approved by Apple just like the first time they submitted their apps; Android developers can choose to allow for auto-updating without any need for the Android market.

Even Apple’s iAd is at fault: Crittercism received reports that the Cupertino, California company’s advertising platform at times does not play nice with developers’ ads, causing instability.

One caveat: Crittercism’s data period is early enough that Ice Cream Sandwich crash data may not be accurately reflected. The firm says it expects the percentages of crashes on the newest version to increase significantly in future data sets.

Either way, the data puts to bed a misconception over the stability of Android, and raises new questions about iOS. Does Android have better quality developers, then? You might be able to argue yes.

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[Hat tip: Forbes]

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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