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Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop is the most loved flavor of Android with Marshmallow just starting off, according to March 2016 stats. Besides, it's still projected to grow to more than 80 percent market share by next year.

Google has come up with fresh user statistics which provides an interesting insight into the usage pattern of its various Android versions. Moreover, what comes to the fore right away is the dominance of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which has now emerged as the most widely used version of Android on the planet.

To make things even clearer, Android 5.0 and 5.1 have a market share of 16.9 percent and 19.2 percent respectively. Together, this makes for a 36.1 percent share of the market in March, bypassing Android 4.4 KitKat on 34.3 percent of devices. Lollipop’s share has grown by 2 percent while KitKat’s share is down by 1.2 percent since the last finding.

Further, things might not seem too rosy with Android 6.0 Marshmallow that has been found running on just 2.3 percent devices even after six months of its launch in September 2015. That still makes for a more than 100 percent jump in its market spread considering that it was powering 1 percent devices last month. However, Lollipop had fared far better in that the version was seen running on 5.4 percent devices in just 5 months after the arrival.

Android Fragmentation Chart March 2016

The recent spate of several flagship launches which includes the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7, the LG G5 or the HTC 10 is only expected to provide further impetus to the Marshmallow’s growth in the coming months.

So far, Marshmallow has been benefitting largely from upgrades for existing handsets. Sony too has announced it has begun rolling out Marshmallow updates while the same is also arriving on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge handsets as well.

In contrast, Apple’s latest iOS 9 can already be seen running on more than 77 percent of iPhone and iPad collectively, which makes software fragmentation seem to be a genuine cause of concern for Google, but more on that later.

Coming to other versions, Jelly Bean share has gone down to 22.3 percent while Ice Cream Sandwich continues to power 2.3 percent devices. Gingerbread has 2.6 percent of the market while Froyo too is seen maintaining a feeble presence with just 0.1 percent of the devices.

The above data has been compiled based on visits to the Google Play store. Considering that the minimum requirement for installing the Play Store app is Android 2.2, there still could be an older version in use that goes unreported. Further, devices such as the Fire tablets that don’t have the Play store too are excluded from the list.

As for Android and its fragmentation issues, having so many versions out in vogue no doubt makes for a nightmarish situation for app developers. Adding to the mess is the fact that any major Android update launched by Google is passed to manufacturers to further customise it to suit their devices. After that, it often depends on the carriers as well to push the release. Eventually, it is the more recent devices that benefit from the updates more often than not while older devices remain in the lurch.

The above notwithstanding, the Android growth story is projected to remain intact. IDC has even predicted a 7.6 percent growth for Android so that it could have 82.6 percent of the global market share within the next 12 months.

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