Versions

Jelly Bean's install base got a huge boost in the past 30 days, but it still only powers less than 7-percent of all Android devices. Today's version number release from Google sees Jelly Bean with a 4-percent jump from November, while Ice Cream Sandwich sees a smaller increase of 1.8-percent with a total of 27.5-percent of all devices sampled.  We see Gingerbread still holds the lion's share (and likely will for a while), and Jelly Bean growing faster then ICS. This is because many of the phones running Gingerbread aren't going to be supported with an update, and phones that shipped with ICS are getting updated to Jelly Bean.

The sampling process is pretty simple, just keep track of the version on every phone that visits Goggle Play in a 30-day period. This means devices that don't have Google Play services aren't counted, and devices that do have Google Play but weren't designed to are being counted. It's a bit of a mess, but one that we should be used to by now. Next year, ICS will be dominant while we look at the small number of devices running Android 5.0. We don't have to like it (especially when it's one of our phones a version or two behind) but there's not much that can be done about it. We expect a similar picture next month.

Source: Android Developers Dashboard

 

Reader comments

Jelly Bean now on 6.7% of Android devices

31 Comments

Jellybean is actually growing pretty fast compared to older Android OS versions, that's good news.... but it still needs to be quicker and more widely available.

I had a Archos Internet tablet5 that ran Donut, it died 2 years ago. Now i have Gingerbread and i seem to have less capability everyday with it. :(

Shout out to the dude who logs in to Google Play on his Cupcake device every thirty days.

Thinking about it, it's an awesome hipster move. Retro Android.

Im at 100% JB on my 3 devices Note 2 Nexus 7 Asus tf300. Apple who cares they have what 10 different devices its not the same im still on 5.1 on my 3rd gen ipad when its jailbreak ed ill update

Apples & oranges. Apple has no more than 3 or 4 devices to support with OS updates, and have yet to truly make any large changes to it since the early 3.0 days. Same screen size since the very beginning until the iPhone 5. 2 phone resolutions...2 tablet resolutions. Incremental improvements to processors, chipsets, and cameras.

The level of change in Android's APIs alone from Eclair to Gingerbread, and then from GB to ICS is huge...and then consider the UI changes! Android is also running on a MUCH wider variety of devices with varying capabilities. All of that has to be accounted for by the device manufacturers. Apple has the ability to just say "we won't support that phone anymore". Google can't do that; the manufacturers have that say so...with the carriers contributing. If that's what you really want, choice would have to be severely limited in hardware selection, screen size, OS capabilities, etc. Come to think of it, there is an OS ecosystem that makes those tradeoffs: iOS. If you want choice, you chose Android...and the tradeoffs that come with it.

It's obviously not a huge deal for people.

How many people are still on windows xp? yeah people just don't care. Just us technology geeks.

I wonder how many of those are CM10 users. I was impressed how fast they started to roll out stable builds.

That's kind of a depressing graphic. It makes me think that maybe Google should slow down their pace of software updates to allow for some catch-up by the majority of phones on the market, or for there to be more emphasis by carriers to actually get updates in a timely fashion. Every time one of these reports come out it makes me think of the economy with only the "1%" (6.7 in this case) with the newest software lol. Innovation and advancement is good. Vast majority of android users waiting indefinitely is not. Time for occupy Google? Haha. And yes, I am one of the many waiting for Jellybean on my EVO LTE. I'm sure we'll get it by the end of 2013. Let the "root your phone and flash a rom" messages start...now!

Think this through: so Google should slow down innovating because folks want updates faster? Why in the world would you think that would accomplish your goal? That only creates larger differences in hardware, thus ensuring even more devices would never see updates. Lay the blame where it belongs: the hardware manufacturers and carriers. Both have a vested interest in getting you to purchase a new phone, not in updating your existing phone to work like the latest devices. That's why you'll often see them push bug updates instead of OS updates, or delay them until their latest models have been out for a while. As for your statement "or for there to be more emphasis by carriers to actually get updates in a timely fashion", there is an easy way to accomplish this: vote with your dollars. If you aren't willing to change carriers or hardware providers to support the ones that actually do get updates out quickly then what incentive do they have to change? It obviously isn't a big deal to their customers then.

If you really think about it, you bought the phone based on what it was running when you bought it, period. Outside of bug fixes, nobody is "entitled" to OS updates in the first place. They are great to have, but they aren't obligated to provide them.

I agree with most of what you say. I just don't consider OS updates "entitlements." I'm not asking for special treatment. I just think a 6 month old flagship device shouldn't have to wait 4 months or more after a new version of software is available for said said software update. Is that really asking too much? I don't need the newest update overnight, STAT. But asking buyers to accept that their brand new, just released device will be playing from behind from a software perspective within 3 months of purchase, for an indefinite period of time (perhaps for the life of the device in some cases) is becoming a tough pill to swallow. I understand your perspective though.

They have slowed down. As AC has written, 4.2 is mostly an update for Nexus phones (and tinkerers flashing CM 10 and the like), not for skinned phones like the GS3, One X, Optimus G, etc. They wanted to release some new features for the Nexus 4 and 10 (and the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7) while giving manufactures a chance to catch up to Jelly Bean. I wouldn't be surprised if we see 4.3 at Google I/O 2013, depending on the OS version pie chart looks like in the spring. And yes, I'm right there with you, eagerly anticipating Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ on my EVO. I'll be satisfied if we get it by January 9, 6 months after the release of 4.1 Jelly Bean.

that's why you root and unlock i wish i was in the 1% doesn't everyone want to be rich im lazy so im good with what i have but i will not stand for being behind on my phone os

I don't think many folks realize just how many Android devices have been sold over the past few years. Android started to explode when Eclair came out and has only grown since, but even when an OS has been out for 6-12 months that doesn't mean the install base will ever be updated to it. Nearly all devices Gingerbread and below will NEVER be updated to anything higher, so consider just how many of them are out there in the wild in regular use. Some of those users who made purchases under contract are still not even eligible for upgrades yet. It'll take at least another year before ICS and up reduces GB devices to less than 25% of Android devices in use. Gingerbread, AFAIC, was the first version of Android that was really good...and many of those users are still quite satisfied with their devices.

"Android started to explode when Eclair came out"

Eclair: BOOM!
Froyo: BOOOM!!
Gingerbread: KAMOOM!!!!!
ICS: BOOM KABOOM PLOOSH KABOOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JB: BOOMBOOMBOOMKAMOMKABKLOLOBLOMOBOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I'm getting a little carried away here…

Anyways, you're right that GB devices will never be updated. The OEMs have been doing a pretty good job (relatively speaking, of course) with updates on ICS devices as of late.

I strongly believe that every time Google releases a new version of Android, the phones that come out afterward should be using that version. When ICS came out, we still had phones shipping with Gingerbread. And quite a few of the phones shipping with Gingerbread that were "upgradable to ICS" were never actually updated to ICS. If manufacturer skins were less intrusive, and if carriers got their act together on updates, then I would buy a carrier-branded phone in the future. But, until that happens, Nexus phones FTW!!!

Lead time on phone development is such that the only way to do that is to tell Google to not release new OS versions until hardware providers and carriers have a chance to play around with it and develop devices around it. That makes no sense considering the OS is open source. Lead time on new phone development can be 6 months or more, and because even OHA members don't have final code until it is just that, final, they can't plan for every change Google makes in advance. That's before they even work on their custom skins and features for the OS. The best rule of thumb is to expect it to take 6 months or so for new phones to come out with the latest OS version, particularly after major changes like GB to ICS. This will likely be the way Google differentiates their Nexus devices: instead of selling the ability to upgrade, they can always sell the fact that they are released with the latest OS on day one. When KLP is released, for example, I guarantee you within days all Nexus 4s sold via the Play Store will have it preinstalled.

Keep in mind 90 percent of smartphones activated in China are running Android and average device costs just over $200 unsubsidized. This allows emerging markets access to affordable smartphones. The trade off is they are not getting state of the art hardware capable of running most current software. Also many people around the world don't have a computer so their only chance of an update is ota. High end devices need to have a faster update timeframe but if you're buying a QVGA device with 800 MHz processor you probably don't even want Jelly Bean. Giving an affordable option of a Gingerbread deviceto millions of people that otherwise would be stuck with symbian is a huge accomplishment of Android and good for most consumers.

Don't lie to your self, lot GB phones didn't get a chance to get ICS. ICS works fine on 800MHz, there low-end phonesl iek that that gets ICS out of the box. ICS is a barrier that Google need to cross as fast as possible or else any feather API changes will be useless as developers will concetraite to keep app compatible with GB that lacks new Android's modern UI elements.

That 5% does not matter as long that 50% of user space is still stuck in 2.3.... after year of being outdated :> This is probably being beyond repairing (or manufactures will go back to older models and update them 4.0 for them?), which means this might be pain in back parts for another year (if we look on Froyo and Ecler too). But yea, post-Honeycomb versions migrate a lot better, which is a good sign and both Google and OEMs learning the lesson :)

The less of pre-Honeycamb users then more modern apps we will get ;]

I think the reason is simple, Gingerbread was released around 2-ish years ago if im right, That means many folks who bought a Gingerbread device are still in contract and that wont change for a few months...

Give it 6 months and as those contracts expire I suspect there will be a huge decrease in Gingerbread devices....

But I suspect KLP will be the one to do it