Android Platform Versions

Another month is upon us (again already?), and that means it's time for another breakdown of Android versions. This is the monthly look at the percentage of the various Android versions that are on active phones. Here's the gist:

  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean): 0.8 percent
  • Android 4.0.3 to 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich): 15.9 percent
  • Android 3.1-3.2 (Honeycomb): 2.3 percent
  • Android 2.3-2.3.7 (Gingerbread): 60.6 percent
  • Android 2.2 (Froyo): 15.5 percent
  • Android 2.1 (Eclair): 4.2 percent
  • Android 1.6 (Donut) 0.5 percent
  • Android 1.5 (Cupcake): 0.2 percent

Our big takeaway from this is that Ice Cream Sandwich has more than doubled, from 7.1 percent at this point last month. And that'll grow again for August, and presumably the rest of the year.

Jelly Bean makes its first appearance at less than 1 percent, and we're not expecting a huge bump until more retails devices (as in, anything not named Nexus) are released, though any increase may be a good indication of how the Nexus 7 tablet is selling.

Source: Android Developers


Reader comments

Ice Cream Sandwich adoption doubles from July to August


htc rezound was supposed to get it first quarter this year. However, that didn't happen. Still no ICS with for one of the best phones out there. N

16% ICS? nearly 9 months after? I was hoping for better, oh well.

JBN is good, but ICS is major. I want to see ICS like GB is right now.

We are the 99.2% (not using Jelly Bean). I personally am part of that 15.9% on ICS, thanks to this amazing EVO LTE.

On a related note, have any OEM's said anything definite about Jelly Bean upgrades, besides HTC giving the thumbs up for the One X and One S?

I've been using Ice Cream Sandwich on my Galaxy Nexus since December of last year.

8 months later and there are still more than 80% of Android devices not updated to ICS?

Guess backward compatibility and speedy updates are not in Google's dictionary.

I know this sounds like a very old kangaroo with the bathroom key, but this is nuts!

I got it by flashing takju. If I hadn't, I'd be on 4.0.1, what was on my Galaxy Nexus when I bought it in February.

Looks like some people (you) still don't understand how things work with Android.

If you want fast updates, buy Nexus devices.
Any other device, you will get upgrades if and when the manufacturor decides.

It has nothing to do with Google.

81% with Gingerbread or worse. That's at least 325 million severely outdated devices. And I'm not even talking about Honeycomb.

Even worse, are all the devices that didn't get the little updates. 4.0 to 4.0.3. It shows how poor small updates are. Even on capable devices. Heck, even the Galaxy Nexus is fragmented. Look at all our GNs here in Canada.

In the long run this will kill android. One bad taste, and the next phone might be an iPhone. Imagine, an unaware person gets a phone,with Gingerbread. Thinks it's crap. How long will Android be ruined for him?

agreed. I have a few friends that hate Android because of a bad phone / experience but then they try my phone and realize it's "not that bad." Problem, they already have an iPhone and are happy with it because "it works." Agreed.

I switched to my first iPhone I think in April or March and after using it Android just feels wrong. Everything is snappy, GUI is easy on they eyes, things are stuck where they should be for the most part. My biggest complaint is not having the freedom to plug the phone in using USB and it not mounting like a thumb drive for manual organization. With iCloud its not that big of a deal and for Pictures you can browse it like a thumb drive on windows or use image capture on OS X so its not too bad and easy to get used to. Can get files on and off using iTunes which isn't bad, some complain, but I don't think its that bad. And you can organize your screens through iTunes, hit sync and your done. Best move I made if you want a stable OS and hardware along with the other things mentioned above.

I don't know if it'll kill Android, but the rest is true. A co-worker had a Droid Eris and hated it, now hates Android, and now has an iPhone. I've used both as there is an iPhone and iPad in my household, and for the life of me will never figure out how anyone that has used both can think iOS is better, but if your experience is a crappy phone it's possible. Luckily, I was about to buy the Eris and he talked me out of it and I bought an OG Droid instead. Great phone and haven't looked back since.

highly agreed!!!

this comes back down to my "conspiracy theory" that when jb goes live for all the newer phones, ics will be pushed out for the older phones making ics the "new" gb/hc :)

I think we might be a bit over dramatic here. Fragmentation is bad, and it should be criminal negligence that so many are still on GB, but Android is still seeing more activations than IOS. Back before we experienced ICS we thought GB was pretty darn good. There is no reason to think there are vast unsatisfied masses waiting to jump from GB to IOS.

Come September, the iPhone 4 is going to be the budget iPhone. Meanwhile, Android OEMs are selling crappy phones with Gingerbread on it. What do you think the average customer is going to pick, if the two are put in front of him/her?

This is not being overly dramatic. The fragmentation will actually start hurting Android in the coming months.

It's already hurting Android on the app side. Developers are forced to use the Gingerbread API levels to target the largest audience. This ensures that apps are perpetually worse than on iOS. Even Windows Phone apps are going to look better soon.

You may think the masses aren't waiting to jump. And that's true. The problem is that phone contracts end. And when they go to get a new handset, they'll already have pre-formed impression of Android in their mind. And that's the Froyo or Gingerbread handset they used. What do you think the reaction will be when they pick up the "cheap" iPhone 4 and try that?

why can you still buy 2.3.3 devices? shame Google can't retire OS versions so they can't be sold like Microsoft does... Wonder if it's because of how long it takes to design a mobile phone\Tablet? if that's the case maybe they should stop having 14 models on the go all at the same time...

It's not the development time. How is it that XDA guys can whip up a ROM in a weekend? And these companies with huge staffs can't do that? Even if they have to put on their bloatware.

They are just lazy and don't want to dedicate resources to devices that they've already sold.

From July to August we saw the completion of the release of the GS3, a sale or price drop for the One X on two cariers, and ICS being pushed out on the Droid RAZR/MAXX. Does this really account for the uptick in growth?

"Jelly Bean makes its first appearance at less than 1 percent, and we're not expecting a huge bump until more retails devices (as in, anything not named Nexus)"

Or Xoom.

People should keep in mind that this fragmentation hurts everybody. To ensure that they can reach a large audience, developers are forced to use significantly lower API levels. That makes for lower quality apps. And it could explain why Android apps are (as a whole) consistently worse than their iOS counterparts.

And this will start hurting Android growth soon enough. Lots of these Gingerbread handset users will be up for renewals soon. And when they go phone shoppping, their impression of Android is going to come from the handset they used. Come September, however, they'll be comparing that crap to the iPhone 4, as the new budget iPhone. The 3GS may have been easy to challenge. But the screen on the iPhone 4 and the design are phenonmenal. And if people are comparing that to their crappy Gingerbread handset or all the other Gingerbread handsets that are on sale as budget phones, Android will be in trouble.

Google needs to start hardballing OEMs. If you don't deliver on at least one major update per device, you will lose access to Google's ecosystem (Play store).

That's the only threat that will force them to update. Right now, an OEM has zero incentive to update a phone they've already sold. If Google can't give them a carrot, it's need to threaten them with the stick.

A whole lot of this fragmentation problem is caused by the fact that OEMs pump out a dozen variations of the same phone. The reason Apple doesn't face fragmetation is not because it doesn't have different resolutions. It's because it puts out one device across all carriers (CDMA being the USA only exception). That makes for easier updates across the board. Why can't OEMs build fewer phones? Why can't they have the same OS builds? Heck, even Google has yakju, takju, yakjuxx, etc. all on the same device. What crap.

Apple is brilliant in execution on this front. Not only do they keep the phone updated. They simply use this year's phone as next year's budget phone. This provides a greater return on investment (ROI) on a given design. Android OEMs foolishly build a dozen different designs every year. They actually spend more to accomplish less. Why for example, can't Samsung keep selling the GSII as a budget phone this year, with OS updates?

I'm mad as heck about this because I've seen the effects first hand. No GN in Canada has seen an update since 4.0.1. So basically since launch. Heaven only knows if we'll ever see Jelly Bean. So, I had to flash my girlfriend's and my phone to takju and then get the update. What a pain. This...on a Nexus device. If I'm this frustrated, why should a regular person not be even more annoyed when OEMs don't pump out updates and they don't know how to flash devices? Why would they not go iPhone or Windows Phone next time around? I'm certainly considering it....

"Regular" people don't know or care. For instance, my wife and daughter have MyTouch 4G's and have no idea which version of Android is running on them. I showed them JB running on my NS and they were unphased.

But I do agree with the sentiment about the proliferation of Android phones by the various manufacturers.