The rivalry between Google and Apple in the cut-throat mobile device world took a new turn recently when mobile-app support platform company Crittercism published a study that found iOS apps crash more often than their Android counterparts.
Crittercism analyzed more than 214 million apps launched in November and December that use its service.
The worst offender was iOS 5.01, with nearly 29 percent of overall crashes. iOS 4.2.10 accounted for another nearly 13 percent and iOS 4.4.4 a further nearly 11 percent.
In contrast, Android 2.3.3 was responsible for only about four percent of the crashes and Android 2.3.4 another nearly 3.7 percent.
By the Numbers
About 162 million apps were launched for iOS — more than three times the 52 million Android apps released. However, Crittercism examined app crashes as a percentage of each app launch.
Android apps in the top quartile crashed 0.15 percent of the time at launch, while iOS apps in the top quartile crashed more than half the time at launch.
In the second quartile, Android apps crashed 0.73 percent of the time and iOS apps 1.47 percent of the time. In the third quartile, Android apps crashed 2.97 percent of the time and iOS apps 3.66 percent of the time.
Why the Crashes?
Overall, iOS apps crashed far more often than Android apps.
However, Crittercism CEO Andrew Levy pointed out that the newness of the latest iOS platform at the time the study was conducted could have played a part in this. Apple released iOS 5.01 only in November.
Android might be hit with a surge in crashes when the latest version of the platform, Ice Cream Sandwich, rolls out more widely.
“I think you will see a spike in crashes as you would with all new OS releases, as developers will need to release bug fixes and familiarize themselves with the latest version,” Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, told LinuxInxider.
Other factors also come into play.
“Android devices are just not as susceptible to crashes as iOS, as there are strict standards for Apple’s iAds [mobile ad platform] which appear to be giving developers some issues,” Buckingham pointed out. Further, Android “auto-updates the OS, whereas iOS doesn’t, and most users don’t bother.”
It may also be worth noting that Google Ventures is among Crittercism’s financial backers.
Crittercism did not respond to our request for details.
Comparing Apples to (Ahem!) Apples
On the other hand, perhaps it’s not fair to weigh off Android devices against those running iOS.
“Comparing Android to Apple is like comparing Microsoft to Apple,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst, Enderle Group, told LinuxInsider. “Apple should have only 10 to 15 percent of the market instead of matching Google because Android is on far more phones and carriers than Apple, which has a couple of products and not too many carriers and is higher priced.”
Even if Apple’s mobile devices aren’t as good as those running Android, Cupertino will turn the situation to its advantage, Enderle suggested.
“When you have a breakage on an iOS device, that lets Apple touch you and show you it cares,” Enderle explained. “Over time, you can have more breakage, but, if you have better support, people will like you better.”
Back in the 1990s, Sony “had a great [PC] product but a horrible support structure, but Dell had a good support structure but not so good a product, and Dell had much more customer loyalty,” Enderle pointed out.
“A combination of a less reliable platform with a more powerful support organization can result in more customer loyalty,” Enderle concluded. “Google isn’t touching the customer very much and that leads to less loyalty and lower customer satisfaction.”