A smart Android move by Google:

One primary benefit of Android 4.4 KitKat, which was unveiled Thursday, is its ability to run on both low- and high-end hardware. The idea is that manufacturers don’t have to choose between different versions of Android to suit the specifications of their phone, whether it costs $100 or $600.

The move is an attempt by Google to provide a more consistent experience across the universe of Android smartphones. While flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy S4 or HTC One have been able to employ newer versions of Android, more affordable phones running on 1- or 2-year-old processors must make do with an older iteration of the operating system.

Love it or hate it, it’s great for customers and developers alike that Apple’s new iOS 7 will run anything newer than a first-gen 2010 iPad or a 2009 iPhone 3GS. And already something like two-thirds of all eligible devices have been upgraded. Users can use the latest-and-greatest on all but their oldest equipment, and developers know just how big the install base is for the latest features and APIs.

Compare that to the Android world, which is seriously fragmented — and getting worse.


(Click to Embiggen)

Anything Google can do to clean up this mess, shy of threatening carriers with violence, is a good idea.

Actually? I know some Android owners who wouldn’t mind some violence, if it would give them a path to upgrade their OS.