Google continues to release its OS distribution numbers regarding the world’s most adopted platform, and there’s some good news on the horizon: Android 4.4 KitKat has now grown to 17.9% and is showing some signs of growing. Google’s latest major update (not counting the imminent Android L) grew 4.3 percentage points within the last seven days. Considering that Android KitKat has been around since last October when the Nexus 5 was unveiled, it’s good news.
Jelly Bean has lost some percentage points but still remains strong: 27.8% of Android users are still on Android 4.1, 19.7% are on Android 4.2.x, and 9% of Android users are rocking the latest Jelly Bean update, Android 4.3. Overall, Jelly Bean combines for a whopping 56.5% of all Android users. Half of all Android users, according to Google’s distribution numbers, are rocking Jelly Bean.
Ice Cream Sandwich, an update that came part and parcel with the Galaxy S3 experience back in 2012 (two years ago), still has 11.4% of Google’s user base. This means that more users are still on Android 4.0 than are on Android 4.3. Multiple studies have shown that a large number of Android users purchased the Galaxy S3. Many of these same users are still serving out their two-year contracts, so this may explain the double-digit presence of ICS two years later. Apart from the Galaxy S3, a number of smartphone users own older smartphones that updated to Android 4.0 ICS right as manufacturers decided to halt additional updates – which means that these devices will be on Android 4.0 forever.
If Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is startling, imagine how surprised we are to learn that more users are still on Android 2.3.x Gingerbread? Google’s numbers show that 13.5% of all Android users are still on a pre-Ice Cream Sandwich update, meaning that most users are surviving on smartphones with an outdated OS that goes as far back as 4 years ago. There are no Android Honeycomb stats to report, but this may change if Android Gingerbread users upgrade to a more recent (but outdated) device anytime soon.
Android 2.2 Froyo is still around too, unfortunately. While the number of users has dropped to 0.7%, a testimony to the dying OS update in Google’s distribution numbers, the obsolete update is still rearing its head. Froyo is under 1%, and it’s likely that a few months (or the next year) could eliminate Froyo completely.
The fragmentation of Android is, in some sense, the weakness of Google’s OS which is why the Android Silver plan for 2015 is such a big deal to the Mountain View, California company. Still, it isn’t necessarily the case that consumers care about upgrades to the latest and greatest of their respective platforms. Sometimes, consumers are happy with their pre-installed experience and don’t desire the best.