Skip to main content

Just 0.3% of Android devices are running Nougat, 25% still on KitKat

As of the start of this month, Android Nougat represents just 0.3% of active Android devices, following a common trend we see each time a new version is released. Android 7.0 Nougat has been out in the wild for Nexus owners for a couple of months now, but these numbers remind us all that Nexuses are not only a tiny fraction of phones sold in 2016 ... they're an even tinier fraction of active Android phones in the world. At the same time phones like the LG V20 haven't had enough time to influence these numbers.

You'll also notice that in the chart above Android 7.1 hasn't even been broken out into its own category, which is due to the fact that it has less than 0.1% of the Android market — Pixel phones have only been on sale for a couple of weeks at this point.

One-fourth of active Android devices are running Android 4.4 KitKat.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which represents the largest chunk of mid- to high-end phones sold in the past two years, is at a respectable but still annoyingly low 24% of the Android market. The combination of Android 5.0 and 5.1 Lollipop come out to 34.1%, while Android 4.4 KitKat is still powering over one-fourth of active Androids. Thankfully things drop off sharply after that, with super-old Jelly Bean devices at 13.7%.

Those legacy KitKat devices are likely to hold on a bit longer as they won't be updated past Android 4.4 at this point in their lives yet are likely living on as super budget phones that aren't going to be replaced as quickly. From this point of view the Lollipop phones and tablets are the most concerning, as they're likely more modern hardware that often could take a jump to Marshmallow, but likely won't as they land outside of many manufacturers' update windows.

With updates to Nougat starting to be tested and arriving for some modern Android phones at the end of the year we could be in for a notable jump in these numbers by January or February 2017, but the situation will still seem rather depressing when you consider the hundreds of millions of devices that will never see the latest software.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

67 Comments
  • Wow
  • Which to me is proof that people in general aren't upgrading devices every two years, they are using them until they feel it needs to be replaced.
  • Which is why Google and Device Manufacturers should be updating the devices much longer than the current 2 year policy. 4-5 years should be the norm.
  • Unfortunately, that's not going to happen any time soon... Beyond Google and Samsung, no other Android OEM is making any money so they are not about to take on longer support time frames for their devices.
  • Why continue to make phones if you can't make money?
  • What else is a phone manufacturer going to make?!
  • Current 2 year policy? Most device manufacturers have a Zero-year policy! Everyone SHOULD follow Apple's lead and offer 4-5 years of updates... but If Google won't do it (and they won't), then no one will.
  • Google needs to make their own SOC. This is entirely a Qualcomm issue.
  • It's not ENTIRELY an Qualcomm issue but yes you are right and everyone forgets about that. Google can't guarantee updates even on their own phones for four years when they don't control driver updates for the chipset in them. Google is working there way to becoming more of a hardware company and maybe/probably the 2018 Pixel phones will have a custom chipset by them.
  • I don't see it as a Qualcomm issue at all. Sure, when Google creates a newer OS that requires newer drivers, then Qualcomm (and other component makers) need to be on board to supply those drivers. But, what if Google just didn't break driver compatibility? Windows 7 works with Vista drivers, and Windows 10 works with Windows 8 drivers. There's no reason that Nougat can't work with Marshmallow drivers. Now, there's certain kernel-level things that you might not get by doing it this way, but you could certainly support a lot more devices.
  • No... You want to to take advantage of the new features/functionality of the the new OS one needs the drivers updated. I did say it's not ENTIRELY on Qualcomm but it is the major stumbling block.
  • Not at all. Apple does benefit from developing their own SoC, but there's nothing stopping Google from supporting older SoC's with newer Android versions.
  • Yes, there is. If a newer version requires a specific feature of OpenGL that a phone's SoC does not support it won't run. Phones don't use an intermediate like Direct X (from your example above) because Direct X needs about 50GB of disk space for updates or installs and uses 23GB of space once installed. It's up to the chipmaker to provide OpenGL for the GPU they are using. Samsung and Apple make their own SoC and have full control as long as the GPU can support the newer features. Everyone else depends on another company (Qualcomm, MediaTek, etc) and they won't do it because there's no profit in it. The alternative is that Google not ever use new software features so that old phones can be supported. Making your own SoC is the only solution.
  • I'm writing this comment on a 32 GB Windows 10 tablet. The Windows folder itself (where all the drivers and run-times are) only takes up only 6.1 GB. For what it's worth, the OS on my Galaxy S6 takes up more space than Windows 10 does. I'm not saying that there aren't some architectural impediments to supporting newer versions of Android, but if OpenGL is one then it is only because Google has made it one. 99% of the new features in any given version of Android are not dependent on OpenGL. Features like Doze-on-the-go, the new expandable notifications and other things could easily be backported to run on a phone like the Nexus 5 without changing the OpenGL version. Google has simply chosen not to do so.
  • That is going to make the fragmentation problem 2x worse.
    Android Nougat 7.0 with all new features and Android Nougat 7.0 Special Edition with only some of the newer things.
  • I wish I got two years for my Droid Turbo! I can't even remember my last update, rocking 5.1 to the bitter end!
  • Maybe they did upgrade and are just using their old phone as a dedicated alarm clock and the old tablet as a photo frame? The fact is most people who don't upgrade their phones in 2-3 years probably don't care about OS/security updates.
  • That's right. People tend to forget about that. I have old phones and tablets set up as home security cameras. They range from gingerbread right through lollipop. My daily phone runs marshmallow. But that is 7 devices just from me that are running old versions of Android.
  • Android oems are still making phones with MM.
  • Well yeah...Nougat just debuted on the Pixel phones like a couple of weeks ago. #facepalm
  • #facepalm 7.1 debuted a couple of weeks ago with Pixel, Nougat has been out for a couple of months. If you gona be a smart ass, at least try to be right.
  • Samsung is still selling phones with KitKat out of the box.
  • Still use my 2009 Droid 1 with Froyo as an Alarm clock Music player, it connects with the Play store so it gets registered
  • Generally only people who use carrier contracts upgrade every two years. Which means mainly only Americans do that since in Europe we but the phones at full price outside carriers for example. And here in Europe the general rule is that you only exchange your phone when you need to do it. Only those of us really into smartphones upgrade phones regularly, really.
    (Well, and some iSheep because Apple commands them to).
  • Whats sad is those on older devices, could upgrade to a newer budget device < $50 and at least get on Kit Kat or hopefully Lollipop and it would most likely be several times faster.
  • well in many places in the world 50$ is what people make in a month, so a new smartphone is probably not a priority for them.
  • Seems a dumb thing to have just now when everyone is still waiting for nougat to be made available for their phones, unless you own a google phone or the one other phone that has it.
  • More concerned with the security patches than the new OS version. M on my S7 Edge is just fine.
  • I would LOVE to see a brand by brand graph of this for security patches.
  • You and me both. The companies making the phones are very reluctant to give me the numbers. Some refused, some ignored me and some said they "didn't have that information"
  • I think that itself is extremely telling. Thanks for your efforts Jerry.
  • Same old, same old. Until Google somehow modifies the current Android update cycle (Google->OEMs->Carriers) we'll be having this type of graphs every year.
  • Most phones outside the US don't have carrier interference in the process. Yet it doesn't change a thing.
  • That's the problem with Android, there are a lot of different devices with a bunch of manufactures, is difficult to focus in totally different hardware, is not the same case in another OS ecosystem with just a few devices with the almost the same hardware. I have a moto x pure edition and I don't know when I'm going to have an update, I believe, may be than the next time will be the latest update.
  • While I (and presumably we) care about updates, most people do not. WE are not typical users. Every time my wife gets an OS update on her iPhone, she starts cursing -- and i leave the room.
  • Guess this will be the same with some android phones too. I bought an original Moto E to see how good a budget phone could be. It came with KitKat I think and then I made the mistake of updating it to lollipop. On KitKat I had several apps installed and they ran fine. Now I have gradually had to delete each app and am left with just the AC app and the installed Google apps. Even though I have disabled several apps I still do not have enough memory to apply any updates to these apps. Wish I had kept it on KitKat. On the other hand my Nexus 5 performs well on marshmallow and my Nexus 5X seems OK on Nougat, just a problem with Word crashing. My HTC works well on marshmallow too.
  • Represents a development issue with Google that's been around for a while. They need to work with their users, especially Samsung and Motorola, to get their skins developed for the new update while it is being prepared, not after it is on the market. Nobody would say a thing if the TouchWhiz version was ready 2 months after the rollout of a new android version. Motorola could possibly be ready to go at roll-out time given their light touch.
  • Google should push out an Universal Nexus like update for all phones, regardless of make, when approved by phones owner.
  • +1 frickin million.
  • Nexus isn't getting much more support than anything else on the market tbh,
  • This is why Google is going to Hardware, Google cannot depend on the OEMs to provide timely upgrade and thus makes Google look bad.
  • So you really expect pixel to challenge Samsung and the top three Chinese brands enough in sells to make a difference....ok??
  • Except Google is no different, and is only giving two os updates. Samsung gives 2 os updates too, so do most oems.
  • More users on ginger bread than nougat. Crazy
  • by next year, nougat will be on 25%! that's an achievement
  • Being that only the pixel and the v20 came with 7.0 this is about what pixel market share is ..not surprised. Why is everyone shocked
  • As someone who has worked in wireless for 3 years now, I have found that most people do not care if their phone is updated or not as long as it works and they can get on Facebook or check their emails or whatever else they want to do, I never get any complaints that a phone is not up to date, many couldn't even tell me what OS they're running nor do they know that it has a dessert name because if I ask a customer for example if they are running on Lollipop or whatever they look at me like I'm crazy.
  • Nail on the head. Actually, I bet most people only care about updates because they are pissed off that the apps look different and the settings are in different places
  • F-en normies. They don't care about the good stuff.
  • I for one am getting tired of a new OS every year. They finally get most of the bugs worked out, finally get a fairly stable base, and "hey, it's been year. Throw it all away and let's start over with new bugs! Screw the user base and their needs. We need to sell more devices."
  • Agreed. In fact, I would like to roll my 6p back to MM if it could still get the monthly security updates. The battery drain bug with nougat is just way too annoying. ...and yes, I have wiped my phone several times, cleared cache, tried running with bluetooth disabled, clean install with just the core google apps... ...and yes, I'm very happy nougat is working amazing for <fill in your username> and it is the best thing of all time. Nougat is making me bitter :(
  • This is interesting and kinda cool too since my Galaxy S3 still runs like a champ and is part of the 25% running 4.4.2. With the cost of new phones and mine doing everything it needs to do, I feel comfortable. Would I like a new phone? Sure. Do I need one though when mine does the same stuff new ones do? Not sure.
  • Kitkat is a very reliable version of Android, or at least it has been in my experience, when lollipop came out I was part of the chunk of readers here that criticized it, it wasn't until marshmallow that I really accepted material design and all the other stuff UI fancy animations that Google gave with it.
  • Who cares. If you use a Samsung device you've already had the good android N features and more for years already.
  • Couldn't have said it better myself
  • Only one device in my house is running Nougat. And no, it's not my Moto Z.
  • It's almost pointless to announce new features in updates. This is just announce it as features for the Nexus. No one ever gets updates.
  • Is gingerbread finally gone XD?
  • Nope. I'm the last one. Holding on for dear life :)
  • Such perseverance! Such passion!
  • I just got the Lollipop update on my Samsung Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Tablet yesterday.
  • Isn't this a strategic failure for Google? They will never get most Android devices on the latest because even now most cheap Android phones are pre-loaded with 5.1.1 or 6.0 and will never get upgraded. So 7.0/8.0/9.0 will always be doomed to <1 % market share. Why does Google even bother?
  • It's not Google's fault. Other than designing the underlying operating system, Google has nothing to do with the vast majority of Android phones on the market. It doesn't say it here, but I'm sure the vast majority of Nexus devices are on the latest available version, if not maybe the one before. Also, many, many people buy Android devices simply because they can't afford an Apple one, and so they don't upgrade to a newer phone and get stuck with an older version of Android once the carrier/OEM stop supporting it.
  • Google is a data tracking company, and it doesn't matter to them what version you have. As long as you have Play Services installed, they get unlimited spying privileges, regardless of which version you have. Sure, they would get a little more benefit if everyone were on 7.1 and talking to the Google spybot, er, "Assistant" all the time. Then again, there's nothing stopping them releasing it for all phones, and they chose not to, so maybe they really don't care either way.
  • I'm one of (probably) few people who went backwards from Nougat to Marshmallow, when I sold my N5X and bought a GS7. That was a bummer, but then again, Samsung adds a lot of features to Android on Marshmallow that came with Nougat, so I'm not missing too much.
  • Well, the moment Google prevented phones with the SD801 from updating to 7.0, my Z3C went back to KitKat and it will stay there.
    So as far as I'm concerned, there will also be phones on KitKat that can upgrade to the worse versions of Android that followed, but won't.
  • I thought it was Qualcomm who did not release the updated drivers for SD800/801 and not Google.