A good story needs to have an epic villain. And this story has one, its name — Android Fragmentation. Google has struggled with it since the early days of Android OS. It has changed tactics and tools, declared victory over it a few times but it still persists. So please let me entertain you with a history of Android Updates.
I think the good place to start explaining Android Fragmentation is this picture that is familiar to every Android developer:
Android Platform Developer. Working for Orion Innovations (previously called MERA).