>Among the problems with this conclusion, the most egregious seems to be: Android is used in a way that Windows and IOS are not. People use it for lower-grade hardware that they are still manufacturing today. Go buy a $39 "unlocked" phone at your local Fry's (search for a brand like Blu). What will it be running? Android 2.3. Which is wonderful. They are calling this "fragmentation," but it's really people who could never spend the money for a $400 dollar phone finally getting access to one to what was a $400 phone 5 years ago. It can't run the latest O/S, but that's fine. The 2.x series phones (like my beloved Motorola Cliq) were really quite functional.
While I agree with what you said about users let me give you a different point of view.
I'm an android developer and I'm sick and tired of all this shit. And many other android developers that I know are too. The only reason why I still do android is that I work for corporation so I don't have to fear google suddenly banning my account or people not using the app.
It's nice people will still use android because it's cheap but when the devs decide that spending a week fixing shit and making it backwards compatible every god damn time an android update comes is not worth their time the android ecosystem will get into a lot of trouble. I mean look at 2.3 - most devs don't support it anymore, not worth our time. If you can't afford a decent phone chances are you are not going to buy apps or use IAPs. On top of that you will probably bitch and rate 1* because the app is slow and has ads...
and on top of all that you can buy an old shitty 2.3 android phone for $40 or $80 for a new unlocked for example lenovo/huawei/whatever phone that will be better in every possible way. Fragmentation is a real problem and it can quite literally destroy the ecosystem.