Recently, the monthly Android distribution figures were updated and for the first time, Jelly Bean came out on top. This is good news and means that a major set of smartphones are having the latest version of Android in them. Finally!
Jelly Bean now has 37.9% share and now holds the first place while displacing Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) which still (nearly after 2 years of launch) has a healthy 34.1% share. Third spot as expected is held by Ice Cream Sandwich (23.3%).
The first one is obviously the high percentage of Gingerbread. It is holding on to its own akin to Windows XP in so many ways. While, its era is most certainly gone, there is a slew of phones that found the last update in Gingerbread and such phones are in wide circulation.
Another observation can be made by this data is that about the rise of cheaper smartphones in countries like India. It began with Gingerbread and as most of these phones were never updated to the next level they are adding to the percentage of the phones still having Android 2.3.
Another interesting thing of note is that while usually (with the exception of Honeycomb), Android updates have been in linear growth. In the sense that when Éclair (2.1) came out it overshadowed Donut (1.6) and when Froyo came out, it became most used OS.
Ice cream sandwich missed that train. It is on the third spot and with Key Lime Pie in sniffing distance, in all probability; it will never see the number 1 spot.
This brings to fore an interesting conclusion…
Companies have improved their updating system. As the requirement for Android 4.1 was same as Android 4.0 most Handsets were eligible for the update. Of course, many of them didn’t get the update or got delayed but the percentage was less than the updates of before.
Also of interest to me is that there are 5% users still using pre-gingerbread phones. This is a shocker even in developing nations. While in percentage, it might not seem much, actual figures will come to few millions of smartphones or users!
The biggest question here is that does it all goes to moot with the release of Key Lime Pie this year?
Google has so far delayed the new version as much as they can. While it may not be ready in all probability, it seems Google wants to add the services without actually adding the version number as can be perceived from this year’s Google I/O.
Even with that, they will have to launch the version this year and as soon as it comes, the biggest share will become of an older Android version and we will be back to square one.
There are rumors that the newer version will be less demanding than even Android 4.1/4.2 (Jelly Bean) so that it is easier to install on older devices. Let’s see if this turns out to be true and more importantly if this persuades the companies towards swifter updates.
Note: This percentage is based on the Android sets accessing the Play Store. The actual number of handsets may be more and might skew the percentage slightly.