Android Jelly Bean now on 13.6% of Android devices. Gingerbread still leading with 45%

Google has published the latest round of statistics regarding the usage patterns of their Android operating system. The numbers represent a 14 day period in which the company tracks all the devices that access its Play store and crunches out graphs and charts.

These latest stats show that Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android now accounts for 13.6% of the total number of users. The number may sound good, but the picture isn't so rosy when you stop and consider that Jelly Bean has actually been on the market for about 7 months (it was released to AOSP on the 9th of July last year). Not to mention the fact that Google is planning to launch a brand new version of the OS, named Key Lime Pie, in just a few months.

This low percentage point shows that Google still has major issues when it comes to convincing manufacturers and carriers to support their devices with updates. In fact one could argue that most of these Jelly Bean devices are actually newly bought Nexus devices which are supported directly by Google such as the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets that have been selling quite well.

The chart also shows Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the previous version of the operating system to be hovering just under the 30% mark, and that was launched in November of 2011. In fact the biggest swath of Android users are still on Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) which was released in December of 2010 and is still being used on low end cheap phones that have flooded developing markets.

The fact that even older versions of Android such as Froyo, Éclair and Donut still make up a sizable chunk of the Android user base (over 10%) might seem alarming, especially when you compare these stats with those of Apple or even Microsoft that can get a very high adoption rate for their latest update within a couple of days or weeks. However, these stats also show that there is a large number of people on 2 year old devices and if they are still fans of the operating system they might begin purchasing new devices in large numbers when their contracts expire which would definitely end up in Google’s favor.

It remains to be seen if that prediction will pan out but so far one thing’s for sure, the undisputed leader in smartphone operating systems has a major problem when it comes to updating devices.

Source: developer.android.com | Images via developer.android.com

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

HDD market revenue to decline by 12 percent this year

Next Story

Facebook could soon track your every movement

25 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

This is one of the things I hate from Android: Little support.

I hate purchasing an Android Phone without the assurance that it can be updated to run the latest OS (even if it meets the requirements) due to lack of support and astonishing fragmentation.

We need more Jellybean! 13.6% is not good compared to iOS 6.0 being on 60% of all iOS devices (300 million devices)!

Probably a lot of cheap devices but there are many medium to low high as well. But most users I found do not care what OS they have, or even know what OS they have.

It is my understanding that most Android users don't care. Sure, the techies and those in the know will get the latest and greatest. But the majority of user don't are, they just want a cheap semi cute smart phone, and the OEMs will be more than happy with the status quo and continue to churn out cheap crap.

Essentially is it better to sell 10 cheap phone or 1 expensive one? The Android market share answers that question.

And before anyone speaks.. I love my yellow Lumia 920, but that is a conversation for another day.

Cheap phones may be good business but that's not how you get brand loyalty. Even higher -end devices on older version of Android work like crap so "normal" people may see the trouble they have with that particular device and assume all of Android is crap- which it really isn't. Then they try out an iOS device which of course will run the latest version and it will be smooth and shiny and they'll jump the boat. I see that happening all the time.

However, these stats also show that there is a large number of people on 2 year old devices and if they are still fans of the operating system they might begin purchasing new devices in large numbers when their contracts expire which would definitely end up in Google's favor.

Rather than being fans, it's far more likely that these are just people with relatively cheap Android devices that don't really know/care about the OS. Having said that, it's likely that their next device will be an Android too, simply because they want another cheap smartphone.

Ah, fair enough. I took that above quote to mean that those people could be selectively looking for Android devices in the future, whereas I think they'll just be getting a decent cheap smartphone that happens to run Android.

SK[ said,]Indeed. 0% of these users use Gingerbread out of choice IMO.

Shoot I have an old junker tablet I wouldn't mind having Gingerbread on, at least it could be almost usable again... it's stuck forever on Cupcake lol. (Obviously not my primary.. just hate throwing things away.)

Google should create a "Nexus" certification for devices that conform to Google's specification (i.e. pure android, no mods, no crapware, etc)

A certified Nexus device would receive Android updates directly from Google, rather than via the manufacturer and/or carrier, much like the iPhone. It'd solve a lot of Android's fragmentation issues.

HoochieMamma said,
Nice, but companies need to make more Nexus *style* devices with stock android so they will always get updates asap.

But... but... awkward, sluggish, unusable rage-inducing UIs is clearly what customers have been asking for all time along! And phones with 4GB of flash that must be regularly restored to factory every few weeks when the space always ends apparently for no reasons known to mankind.

That still wouldn't actually solve that issue. With each OS update, there's still a fair amount of tinkering that needs to be done per-device (usually at the kernel level). It's certainly a lot easier, but it's not something Google can one-shot. The updates for the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy nexus, for example, are entirely different beasts and neither will run on the other without some hacking - both of those are stock android.

Kushan said,
That still wouldn't actually solve that issue. With each OS update, there's still a fair amount of tinkering that needs to be done per-device (usually at the kernel level). It's certainly a lot easier, but it's not something Google can one-shot. The updates for the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy nexus, for example, are entirely different beasts and neither will run on the other without some hacking - both of those are stock android.

Its the stupid interfaces that OEMs are creating...like Samsungs Touchwiz...that are a big part of hte delays. If everyone would go stock/vanilla Android then I am betting updates would roll out a little faster.

Thats not what Kushan said. And the extra UI not the total problem (partly yes).

The hardware is the main problem. Its like how WinXP or earlier were. You usually HAD to have the correct drivers for each particular machine (like the ethernet, or graphics drivers).
Android now, still in its infancy (maybe jelly bean is like win2000?), needs TLC from each OEM to keep updating those drivers (just like your old laptop, how those windows xp drivers have never been updated to windows vista+). I can only hope Android evolves like Windows did and somehow manages to make universal kernels/drivers for the phones of similar hardware specs. Like how you can have a WinXP machine (bought with xp on it) run Win7 out of the box. That is what android needs to do, to fix this problem.

They need a better compatibility layer or something, because they leave the heavy work to the OEM's (which i'm not saying thats wrong here, just saying as you can see its not working). OEM's care about their bottom line, their money. If they 'help' people stay on a 2 year old phone (GB or worse) and skip buying that 'fancy new jelly bean' phone, because you can get the 'jelly bean phone' for free, who's going to buy that 'fancy' new phone? Not nearly as many people i'm sure (especially if the phone was of great quality from the GB days [ie. like the sensation, but not obv as it was off. updated to ICS), JB would be awesome on, actually breaths life into the 'old' phone which = no need for a new one).

Its a catch 22. Which isn't fair for the consumers. But, if people stopped buying new phones, would we have new phones? Kind of like saying, ill do that tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Like I said, we can hope KLP was thought ahead in development and helps resolve this somewhat.

(Last thing: The other scary part OEM's hate about updates: Frying/bricking phones. They do it to themselves really...1 phone can have 3 variations for internal parts (close enough that it runs fine, but needs good coding (like drivers, again) to support those [3] variations.). Like I have the HTC Vivid, which also goes by the Raider and Velocity, for the different parts of the world. For that, they have slightly different chips, etc. Thats 1 phone. Multiply by say 20 phones HTC support all the time. 3x20=60 different updates basically have to be made. Then to hope it goes smoothly, or their warranty dept is ringing off the hook, and they lose more money.

Its a bad loop.