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I was recently researching an issue with Android phones – the oft-requested ability to record a phone call – and found that this has been an issue in Android since March of 2009 and remains classified as “New.” In fact, most of the issues in the top 1000 (according to users) remains classified as new and has not been allocated to any developers.

Thus, I started wondering about the various Android issues and their relative importance to users and developers. I downloaded the list of the top 1000 issues (in CSV format) – according to the number of stars – and analyzed these results.

Here is what I found out:

  • 63% of issues are more than one year old (12% of issues are over two years old!)
  • 86% of issues are listed as “new” (instead of “assigned” or “needsinfo” or others)
  • 10% of issues are assigned to a person
  • Average age of issues is 431 days (1 year, 2 months)
  • Average defect age is 457 days (1 year, 3 months)
  • Average enhancement request age is 543 days (1 year, 6 months)
  • Reviewed items were the oldest on average, with reviewed defects at 550 days and reviewed enhancements at 749 days.

When you rank the items by the number of stars (user importance) per day (age) some very interesting things come out. The most important issues in this ranking are the following:

  1. Change refund time in Android Market (issue #13116) – 32 days old
  2. Arabic Language Support (issue #5597) – 386 days old
  3. Nexus S reboots during an active call (issue #13674) – 8 days old
  4. Ability to limit Internet access (issue #10481) – 149 days old
  5. IPSEC VPN compatible with Cisco VPNs (issue #3902) – 484 days old
  6. Poor browser performance (issue #13404) – 19 days old
  7. Google Docs support on Android (issue #1865) – 714 days old

These items show one of two things – probably both – that either what users think is important is irrelevant to Google, or alternately, that the items are acted on and the issues tracking list ignored. People commenting on the issues are routinely asking where the Google responses are.

Another interesting item came up during statistical analysis: not one item (in the top 1000) which was listed as requested by a user or by a developer was listed with a status of Assigned or with a status of Reviewed. There were other items, but these were not listed as requested by either a user or a developer – and many of these were assigned or reviewed (or, indeed, Unassigned). I can only guess at the true meaning of this; it suggests that Google only acts when an issue comes from within Google.

In all, this statistical exercise would have been much more exciting if it weren’t for the disappointing results. I did check the main page to see if Google’s main page for Android in Google Code was obsolete; no such statement was anywhere to be found.