Apple likes to poke fun at Android by suggesting that the vast majority of iPhone and iPad users are running the latest version of iOS while it can take months or years for popular Android devices to receive the latest version of Android… if they ever get it at all.

But Google has a solution to that. Over the past few years the company has started pushing many of its latest app and service updates through Google Play Services… and Android chief Sundar Pichai says 93 percent of Android users have the latest version of Play Services.

play services

That doesn’t mean users getĀ allĀ of the latest features. As of late June, 2014, only 13.6 percent of Android users have Android 4.4 KitKat, which means that over 85 percent of users don’t have support for features such as immersive mode, the latest phone dialer, and more.

Meanwhile, even folks with older versions of Android have access to some features that are only now being added to iOS. Without mentioning Apple by name, Pichai pointed out some of Android’s innovations… including support for custom keyboards — a feature that was introduced more than 4 years ago with Android 1.5.

android innovation

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6 replies on “Google says 93 percent of users have the latest Google Play Services”

  1. Actually I would like to know all the GOOD alternatives to things such as google maps – something with offline support and google voice with free phone number and text, that is just a start. I wanted to buy a phone which had firefox OS and a kit kat rom but did not have Gapps so I did not get the phone.

    1. You can disable any apps you want – when I get a new Android phone i generally disable Google Hangouts, Pinyin Keyboard and various other services that I don’t use or are not suitable for my geographic area.

    2. If you are installing a custom ROM and want Google’s proprietary apps, you can download Gapps for free from lots of sites all over the internet (just make sure you get the right one for your version of Android). You can even go into the folder and remove the apk’s of any of the programs you don’t want to install before installing the package and they won’t get installed. If Google’s competitor’s don’t make as good of apps, I understand your disappointment with that but that doesn’t mean they are obligated to make the open source or anything like that. Maybe you can convince Apple to release some of their core apps for the Android OS, I hear some of them are pretty nice (just not maps I hear).

  2. Yes. Pitch the growing dependency on Google Play services. The part that is 100% closed source, locked down black hole. Then out of the other side of their mouths the ‘do no evil’ company talks about how wonderful open source is…. as they accept zero outside patches and have a totally opaque development process.

    Feh, a pox on all their houses. All this phone and tablet stuff is rubbish. Ain’t a hundred actual (non-trivial) apps available unless you start counting the mountains of shareware, demoware, adware, trialware, inapp purchase platforms and other crud littering the ‘app stores.’ So 1980s if you ask me.

    1. Growing dependency? Google Play and all of it’s related apps are purely optional. Without rooting their phone, one can quickly and easily install alternatives to every app that Google offers. Perhaps you could suggest a more open alternative mobile OS with a decent selection of apps? Maybe iOS?

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