The collection method has changed, but the results surprise nobody -- new versions climb while legacy versions fall

Every month Google releases a handy chart telling us what version of the operating system folks are using out there. This month, they did things a little differently and now collect data only from devices that have visited the Google Play store in the past month, versus all phones that checked into Google's servers as done in he past.

It didn't make much of a difference. Jelly Bean continues to climb and is now at 25-percent, Gingerbread is down 5-percent, and lower version are clinging to life support. The one change we didn't expect is Ice Cream Sandwich to actually climb while devices were getting update to Jelly Bean. We'll write that off to the new collection method.

If you're a developer, this will help you decide which devices to target. If you're just an interested fan, the data sure is fun to talk about. 

Source: Android developer site. More: +Android Developers


Reader comments

Android platform numbers for March are in, come from a new collection method


The good old G1. Loved that phone. Built like a tank, all phones should be at least as durable as that phone was. Never broke the screen and dropped it at least 50 times on all surfaces.

Gingerbread is like the Windows XP of Android, still going after all these years and taking a while to fade away.

more than half (54.3%) are on 4.0+ and almost half of those are Jelly Bean! that's actually pretty good to see.

"The one change we didn't expect is Ice Cream Sandwich to actually climb while devices were getting update to Jelly Bean."

I just want to point out that an increase in the proportion of users on ICS does not necessarily mean that there are more phones out there that are running it. It might, but it doesn't have to.

If the ICS proportion increased but the number of phones running it didn't, that means people running 2.3- and 4.1+ sold their devices and didn't buy new ones.

There are a few phones that have only "recently" gotten an ICS update, even when the manufacturer will not bring JB to that device. As a result, and a lack of over the air updates, people slowly are moving up as they find out they CAN update their older devices.

I know a few people with a Verizon Galaxy S3 that have not moved to Jelly Bean yet because the update fails on them due to Verizon 3G being so slow, there are problems.

0.1% is a hell of a lot of devices. There are close to 1 billion Android devices sold, even if only half are still in use that puts the number of donut users at 500,000.

You can't compare to total number of devices. You need to compare to just the total number accessing the Play store which is less. For example, Amazon's Kindle Fire is running Gingerbread, there's been megatons of them sold, but they're not in the stats for this new collection method since they don't have access to the Play store (unless you 'hack' it a bit which most ppl don't).

lol i remember when everyone was so excited about honeycomb sayin this is a true tablet OS. honeycomb and donut are neck and neck i wanna see who wins this battle. is there no more cupcake users? ice cream sandwich has climbed because i think the thunderbolt just got ICS, and i think there were alot of suckers who bought that phone.

Ha! I'm one of those suckers. :p But mine isn't on ICS (still Gingerbread) because it's been relegated to the sock drawer as a backup phone. But you're probably right, the uptick in ICS could very well be those who still have the Thunderbolt.

Still no Jelly Bean on my HTC One S on T-Mobile. I am now officially switching over to an iPhone now. I am done waiting for updates. This is just ridiculous! Almost all other carriers around the world have Jelly Bean except T-Mobile USA. Updates sucks on Android.

Hmm, but your posting history shows you running CM9 in 2012 so, you wouldn't be limited to only looking for updates from T-Mo. In fact, CM10 is available for the HTC One S and that brings you to Jelly Bean.

Your reason for leaving Android is more of a love of all things Apple and, that's okay. Just don't troll on your way out the door.

I thought these charts were always derived from the number of devices that contacted the Play store?

It is good to see 4.0+ take up the majority of the pie finally. Although everything will be turned upside down again when Key lime pie comes out.

I'm toying with the idea of keeping a Nexus tablet to follow all the latest android goodness (and early adopter not so goodness) while being a little more flexible with my phone choice, (because being limited to a single Nexus phone a year isn't much more fun than that other company...). Of course this could be the year that Google finally wows me (not saying I don't appreciate my GNex).

Every time your Android device "phones home" (pun intended) to check for app updates or uses some Play Store-related service, it's contacting the Play Store. That used to be the number they counted. From the official blog post, it seems that they are now only counting devices that actually opened the Play Store App on their phones or tablets.

If I had known that with the ICS update to my HTC Thundercrap about a month or two ago. That FLASH would no longer be available once i commenced the update to ICS from Gingerbread, I would've happily stayed with Gingerbread. I feel it was more stable than this buggy ICS update. When will we get html on our phones. Or at least bring Flash back. Why was it taken away? b.s

Still lots of people stuck with Gingerbread phones on contract.

And still to many carriers offering Gingerbread phones as their low-cost phone choice.

The true shame is those people in Gingerbread are going to be 5-6 Android OS Outdated! with Klp, I love what you can do with Android in your phone, but we hate as well android Bugs and his infinite updates after updates to fix the always broken OS S** even in the Nexus brand. Tired

yes but what people often forget is that 90% of people really dont care, by that i mean that they dotn care enough to check for an update, or connect the phone to kies or however you have to update the phone.

I went out for dinner for a friend on friday who was complianing about their HTC wildfire and was so glad she was due an upgrade ad the phone was rubbish... i had a quick look at the phone, and the phone still had the android market logo? i was like this is google play now, have you never updated any apps? she didnt have a clue what i was on about, and because it didnt have an app that said "app store" she didnt think she could get apps.

neway her contract was up so i said id go with her to get a new phone, walked out with a HTC one, because she loves her music and i was like "beats" lol, spent n hour showing her how to do stuff on it, like you know download apps etc and now she loves it.

Totally agree, I bet that if you investigated all the pre-ICS devices you will find that many are owned by people who just want a phone who either don't know or care what OS they are running, or are not technically minded enough to do anything about it (yes, pressing "update" can be challenging to some) and will probably upgrade their phone at contract renewal.

The problem of manufacturers & carriers not updating their handsets and/or making it hard to do so is a problem that does not have any easy solution. People buying premium handsets can rightly expect better support & longer support but can we expect the same for low to mid range handsets that have been built to a budget?

That said, if you are running GB, even if you are out of date, most apps will still work and it is still a very usable OS

Well, looks like my aging Droid Charge isn't yet in the minority, it's running 2.3.6

I do look forward to experience Project Butter, the Chrome Browser, and Google Now, that comes with 4.2+, whenever I get around to upgrading.

I wish I still had my old Eris around and still had doughnut. You could turn Sense off. It was still there but you could go stock. Stock sucked back then. They took away that option after it was upgraded to eclair. Oh the bad old days.

I fully expect next month to be different with JB taking even more lead. Why? At least with my own apps, the most popular devices are the RAZR and the SGS3. I was watching this race between ICS and GB as they were neck and neck for awhile, and I cheered when ICS finally took the lead. But I checked a couple weeks later and suddenly, ICS and JB switched places.

I looked: sure enough, that's when the Droid RAZR got the JB update.

And that was the middle of the month.

GB? Seems to be the Droid X. Die, Droid X! I really can't wait until people finally friggin' upgrade from their Droid Xs.

May & June stats should see a big change with the HTC One, S4 and the rest getting major activations. Just hoping I'll get 4.2.2 on my S3 before the KLP announcement!