Android versions

Google's just released the latest numbers showing the distribution of the various versions of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich has made the list for the first time, with Android 4.0 totalling 0.6 percent of the devices activated. That's actually split into two versions of ICS -- Android 4.0 through 4.0.2, which comprises the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and Android 4.0.3, which is currently rolling out to the Samsung Nexus S. (The Galaxy Nexus will be updated to 4.0.3 in good time.) 

In other unexpected news, Honeycomb (Android 3.x) has hit a total 3.3 percent, Gingerbread (Android 2.3) is up a bit more, now totalling 55.5 percent, and Froyo (Android 2.2) is down to 30.4 percent. Eclair (Android 2.1) has dropped to 8.5 percent, while Donut (Android 1.6) hit 1.1 percent, and Cupcake (Android 1.5) is at 0.6 percent.

Again, that's the first showing for Ice Cream Sandwich. We'll want to watch how quickly that one grows, whether it's from new devices (which we really hope to see soon), or software updates (which we hope to see just as soon).

Numbers are for the two weeks ending Jan. 3

Source: Android Developer Blog

 

Reader comments

Ice Cream Sandwich enters Android's versioning chart with 0.6 percent

17 Comments

I love android, but I have to point out the inherent sadness of this pie chart. To answer your question, ivalum21, Google chose to lump all versions from 2.3.3 (eleven months old) to 2.3.7 (relatively new) into one slice of the pie marked 2.3.3. It is fortunately the biggest slice, but why hide the sub versions there? Perhaps they don't want it to look like over 75% of Android handsets out there are running an OS version 6 months (or MORE) out of date? Well they are.

I have an android phone, and it's great and all, but this figure betrays a huge flaw in the development process. Things are only going to get worse if Google doesn't start getting their **** together.

First, it's not Google's problem. It's your carrier/manufacturer. Google isn't responsible for the megaload number of phones out there. That's how it's been since day one and that's how the license was crafted. It's only responsible for the Nexus line. If you MUST have updates as they come (as long as it's technically feasible), get a Nexus. Otherwise the whining is useless as you're still doing 95% of the same stuff you were doing before.

I mean that's a serious question. What exactly would you be doing different if you had 2.3.x? Don't get me wrong, I like updates too, but honestly after going through an update process I just go back to doing 99% of the same old shit and forget there was even an update to begin with (Exception: going from 2.1 to 2.2 on my old Evo was seriously noticeable for performance).

Otherwise, I see good news when I see this chart. Some majorly useful additions were made from 2.1 to 2.2 (like being able to use Google's push notifications vs. rolling your own), and so to see that drop below 10% is awesome.

Google might not have caused it, but it most certainly is "their" problem. So long as the "android" brand is what is advertized on a phone (and last I checked, this was very very popular) it will be the brand owner's problem when there is a serious problem with the way the system is maintained. There are a million excuses, like "but no one will know if there aren't updates" and "but you can still use your phone the way you bought it" or "why dont you just blame your carrier?" but in the long run there is still an "android" problem, no matter how you want to spin it.

But it don't change the fact that they could do something about it, OEMs are not gods and they also got rules to use Android. For example nowthey just forced OEM to keep Holo thame on there devices

Ah, yes...the old "fragmentation" argument. (sigh)

Please explain what the differences between any of the versions from 2.3 to 2.3.7 are other than the last digit. It's nothing visually noticeable, is it? Does being on 2.3.3 prevent you from running any apps that someone on 2.3.7 can? No? What is the "huge flaw in the development process" that you are referring to?

In my opinion, the pie should be simplified even further & labled as 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3.x, 3.x, & 4.x since everything else is just security patches anyway.

"...since everything else is just security patches anyway."

That's exactly the point. If your phone is running an older version, even if it's just a few point upgrades, then your phone has numerous, documented and well-published security flaws. Regardless of where you place the blame (I blame the manufacturers and carriers), that's not okay.

And it's not just security, anyway. Some of the Gingerbread point upgrades have been pretty big deals. 2.3.4 brought video chat via Google Talk, which is a pretty big feature. Not to mention the battery life increases, etc. I don't really freak out about this stuff too much because I tend to run custom ROMs, but saying that the upgrades don't matter is dismissive.

"JUST" security patches? Are you serious? Yes, we should overlook the fact that a staggering majority of Android devices are patchless and ultimately un-patchable in the event that the unthinkable occurs and a serious flaw be exploited... /sarcasm

As an IT professional, it really doesn't concern me that my Thunderbolt is running an older version of Gingerbread. It works great! Heck, I'm still using Windows XP on multiple computers at home (by choice, they also work very well) and we're still on it at work (large company in insurance industry) due to compatibility issues! Windows 7 or the previews of Windows 8 so far do nothing for me personally. Niether does ICS or even newer versions of HTC Sense (which I'm a big fan of). Newer is not always better. The ONLY thing of concern can be security patches and when older software is no longer patched. Then I look at options or mitigation techniques. :) Otherwise, your average Joe has absolutely no interest in what Android version or IOS version is on their phone!

This is why I think that even if Google does not want to actively develop the older versions of Android they should back port the security fixes to a version or two back.

I agree. Heck, look at Windows XP, a ten year old OS and it's still slated to get security fixes until 2013 (as long as you have the last service pack: Service Pack 3). Google could do the same, but choose not to.

As a Technical person I do have to agree that endless upgrades without any noticeable difference is rather pointless.. I personally don't give a rat's hind quarters what the carriers release anyway since most of it is useless bloatware. I would much rather see a phone that is designed from the ground up to be completely user customizable, and be able to add the features, apps, and overrides that I want and not have to be content with what ever makes them the most revenue