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The startling crash rate of Android apps

With MWC 2015 underway in Barcelona, the tech world is laser focused on mobile devices at the moment. Whether your mobile device preference is an iPhone, an Android handset or a Windows Phone device, your decision will have been swayed by a number of things -- price, brand reputation, knowledge of the ecosystem, and range of apps. Android may be the most popular choice at the moment, but this appears to be in spite of problems the platform suffers form.

A new report from Crittercism suggests that Android apps crash more frequently that their iOS counterparts. But this is not the only bad news for Google's mobile operating system; the report also finds that the fragmentation of Android persists.

The report from Crittercism -- a company with services that monitors app performance -- looks at the differences between iOS and Android in terms of fragmentation (Microsoft may be disappointed that Windows Phone is not included but, globally, the platform remains relatively insignificant) and app stability. Android fares worse than iOS here.

If you were wondering which types of app are most prone to crashing, Crittercism reveals that photo, video, games and social networking titles are most likely to fall over for iOS users (2.5, 2.4 and 2.1 percent respectively). The categories, and failure rates, are a little different (and higher) on Android -- entertainment, business, photography, and shopping (5.3, 3.4, 3.3 and 3.3 percent).

Apple is singled out for fixing problems quickly. After launch, iOS 8 suffered an app crash rate of 3.3 percent, but this was quickly addressed with updates both from Apple and app developers. The crash rate is now in line with iOS 6 at 2.2 percent, while iOS 7 sits at 2.1 percent. With each iOS release there is a spike in crashing at launch, followed by an ultimate increase in stability. Interestingly, there has been a jump in app crashes on iPhone 4s as developers concentrate their time and energy on newer devices.

The report makes for interesting reading when it looks at adoption rates for the latest version of mobile operating systems. It will come as little surprise that there are more iOS users running the latest version of iOS than there are Android users running the latest version of Android. This is something we probably already knew, but nearly six months after the release of iOS 8, it's worth another look.

Apple's policy of making new versions of iOS available to supported handsets as soon as possible means that there is a very fast adoption rate. So fast, in fact, that it took just 50 days for iOS 8 to account for half of app traffic. We’ve reach the point now that iOS 7 accounts for just 30 percent of app traffic, and iOS 6 and earlier are all but insignificant. Sales of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus helped to drive this adoption, with the two devices now accounting for 19 percent of app traffic.

It's a very different story for Android. Lollipop may not have been available for as long as iOS 8, but in a little under three months it managed to account for less than 2 percent of app traffic. The bulk of traffic is split between KitKat and Jelly Bean, but Ice Cream Sandwich still features in the charts.

Photo credit: Rashevskyi Viacheslav (opens in new tab) / Shutterstock (opens in new tab)