02
Jul
dist070212
Last Updated: August 1st, 2012

Depending on how fanboyish you want to be you want to look at it, things are either getting better by the day, or still dismal as can be. First, the charts:

2012-07-02_22h19_09

Obviously, the good news is that in the past month, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0+) has moved up from 7.1% to 10.9% - and considering there are hundreds of millions of devices running Android, that seemingly meager 3.8% is actually quite a few devices.

And then there's the bad news. First, the fact that ICS is the latest (and by far the best) version of Android and yet we're happy to see it on just under 11% of devices is sad; it's even worse that it's literally 8.5 months old. But hey, Gingerbread (2.3) isn't half bad, and at least 64% of devices are runn- oh, wait... Gingerbread is 19 months old! Take out the few percent running Honeycomb (all tablets) and you're left with a scary fact: 22.7% of all Android devices are running a version of the OS that was originally released in May of 2010.

I don't even have a punch line. The fact that I literally have 8 Android devices (4 tablets, 4 phones) on my desk right now is a testament to how much I love it, but even I have to admit that this shit's just not right.

[Source: Android Developer Dashboard]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Alex

    and that is why we root. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/geoff.baysinger Geoff Baysinger

      Rooters are a VERY tiny fraction of the overall landscape.

      • Sootie

        Then how does the population of earth continue to grow!!! ohh wait I get it....

        • Simon Belmont

          Haha. I see what you did there.

          You from Australia. I know what rooting means there.

    • http://twitter.com/abhayks abhayks

      I have a HTC Desire. HTC did give an official update to Gingerbread but it was like a Dev only update, unlik ethe Froyo OTA update or other OTA updates HTC delivers. Only solution was to Root it. XDA provided many roms for gingerbread and I am happy with them. However no current stable Rom for ICS. 
      HTC Desire was released on 16 February 2010 and even rooted there is no rom for ICS, let alone Jelly Bean. 
      iPhone 3GS was released one year earlier on June 8, 2009 and gets the goodies of latest iOS.
      Iphone 4 which was released on June 7, 2010 ( same year as HTC Desire) is fully compatible with iOS 6. 
      This is the biggest issue with Android. 

      • Mike

        You really should learn about all of the features that Apple strips out of iOS 6 from devices older then the 4S.  By the time that's done, it's not much of an update.

      • NeedName

        ios upgrades are in number only after the first year. . . .

      • Simon Belmont

        It gets iOS 6, but really, it's in name only. It will receive a VERY stripped down version of iOS 6 with virtually none of the headlining features that were mentioned at WWDC.

        The 3GS is getting iOS 6 only to appease people that are still buying them new. Since, for some reason, they are still being sold as the value leader of iPhones.

        • Jasper

          I would've taken a stripped down version of jelly bean instead of Froyo.

          • Parnevik

            If you have an iPhone 4 and not 4S you miss out on these features: 3g Face Time, turn by turn navigation, and the flyover feature which is another feature of Apple's new navigating system on the iPhone. I like using Waze on my droid though.

  • SUB_dawg

    I'd like to know who's on Cupcake.

    • James McMichael

      me too, but someone just can't put down that old G1.

    • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

      It is pretty amazing that one in 142 users has a cupcake or donut phone and still uses it regularly despite it being 2.5 years old at least.

    • pelya

      HTC G1 or ADP1 still has the best keyboard ever in my opinion, and it has Android 1.6. I would use it as a plain cellphone all day long, typing SMS or emails is a snap. Too bad I don't have it anymore.

    • mynameisj

      ...whoever is still on cupcake is also still on crack HA HA

  • Mike

    Be a little more sensational next time.  If someone is running a device that's still on freaking Froyo, maybe they just don't care about upgrading as much as you seem to care.  You can't force people to upgrade their phone to something that would be capable of running the latest release.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Lucavious Christopher Wilmeth

      iOS users seem to be capable of running the latest updates without any issues. I'm running Gingerbread not because I want to, but because my carrier abandoned my phone only six months into its life cycle. If you want to argue Android doesn't have a fragmentation problem I don't think you should be taken seriously.

      • Felix Manuel Cobos Sánchez

        My iPad would not run iOS 6. My iPod Touch runs on 4.x.
        So nope, iOS users doesn't seem to be capable of running the latest updates without any issues.

      • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

        No I don't think so. iPhone 3GS is forgotten already. 

        • krazyfrog

          Last time I checked, the iPhone 3GS was getting the iOS 6 update. 

      • Mike

        What phone do you have, when was it purchased, and why haven't you rooted it if upgrading is such a big deal for you?

        And lol at using iOS as some sort of example.  Apple does the same thing as Google in not porting new features back to prior versions.  Since iOS is virtually identical from version to version except for small updates, that isn't a good comparison for GB to ICS.

      • Daniel McDermott

        They might be capable to do so, but work in a cell phone store for 2 weeks, and count how many people bring in their slow, app crashing, haven't been updated ever or plugged into iTunes, iPhones that are brought in everyday. Most users outside of the tech hobby don't know an update is available even if it slapped them in the face, and many are scared or afraid to update for that chance they could lose all their precious photos and low quality ringtones they wasted $1.99 on.

        My point being most do not have knowledge there are updates for their phone, and even if they do, they won't update unless the nice man/woman at the cell phone store does it for them or insists they do so.  Fragmentation is only a big deal for a small percentage of people, lets be honest here.  The carriers and manufacturers know it, which is why updating all their Android phones to ICS or JB is such low priority to them.  Getting new shiny products out first is far more important to them, since most customers buy based on hardware design, and only get pushed to higher end devices when the retail employee pushes them to it.  Only once or twice I have ever been asked if a phone will be updated to a different version of Windows or Android.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          It made me laugh to read your description, it's spot on.  I have this buddy who works for a Sprint corporate store, he was almost in tears the night before the iPhone was to launch.  Since the launch, the foot traffic in the store has nearly tripled, many of the people are in there just asking for help on how to do very obvious things with their iPhones.  I'm sure that the hike in support probably leveled off pretty quickly, but it is hilarious to hear him talk about it.

          The iPad is famously WAY worse.  Since the iPad is intended to be a bit more standalone than the iPhone was, it is plugged into a computer about 3% as frequently as the iPhone.  People never see or install the updates because there's a fairly bad history of updates being destructive.  When Apple gives the conversion/update statistics during keynotes, they almost always show numbers with the iPhone only, the iPad is rarely included.  To be fair though, the iOS side is still trumping Android in terms of update rates and getting users to install updates when they become available.  I'd still be willing to bet that the most significant portion of people keeping iOS on older versions is made up of jailbreakers/unlockers.

      • http://twitter.com/tweet077 RonaldoVerta

        I'm curious to know if when you say 'abandoned my phone only six months into its life cycle' do you mean that they abandoned it 6 months after its been released or 6 months after you bought it? It's not their fault if you decided to buy the phone 8 months after its been released and you shouldn't expect them to support it longer than 6 months after you've bought it. Manufactures need to cut their losses and buyers shouldn't expect them to support a device more than a year old. Maybe small updates is fine, but not a whole new firmware update.

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    Hopefully once we pass the current "generation" of upgrades things will be a huge amount faster. We will see more when Samsung and HTC release their upgrade plans from 4.0.x to 4.1.x but the big holdback seems to be that 2.3.x to 4.0.x is a huge leap they didnt see being worth upgrading for mid and low end phones and anything still running 2.2.x has long ago been given up on.

    I think the wider issue is that if Android is going to take a huge market share via stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap then you need to expect a lot of phones will receive next to no post production service including upgrades. If you were to only track the top of the market and the expensive phones the problem wouldnt seem to be nearly as bad.

    And then on the other hand there is my friend who wont upgrade his GS2 from 3.3.x to 4.0.x because he is happy with it as it is. Not everyone cares about being on the most up to date software or upgrade their phone often enough to do so by default.

    • AaronGingrich

      A very, very good point.

      Also, I believe you mean 2.3.x :)

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      That's all true, and to a degree I sympathize with your friend because I've been more than a little angry at companies for screwing things up with various updates that ultimately hurt my usage (ex: Sony PS3 was made way worse when they trashed Other OS and scrapped a bunch of backwards compatibility).

      Unfortunately, people who aren't upgrading (when they have an official upgrade path) are actually a problem for everybody else.  When the ICS adoption rate is still so low, many developers are expected to continue supporting old versions of Android (Froyo by most standards, possibly older).  Some developers don't feel compelled to update the interface and features of their apps, even resulting in a lot of apps having major bugs on ICS when they run fine in Froyo/Gingerbread.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending those developers (they are lazy...), but many have gone on record as saying they don't even care about supporting new versions of Android until there is a 15%-20% user base.  That kind of trend is really bad for the rest of us that are eager to get onto ICS, and it ultimately hurts people who buy a new phone that is up-to-date.  I know this argument sounds hyperbolic, but it's a real issue that does hurt fragmentation.

  • James McMichael

    One big chunk of that gingerbread section is from prepaid and it will stay that way for probably another 9 months to a year.  But with the HDK from google for JB i think we may see a surge of handsets for 4.1 in the coming months. 

  • insurgent

    Maybe we should also consider that a large percentage of these devices are low end phones, cheap and mostly forgotten by manufacturers.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      But still in use and accessing the Play Store.

      • insurgent

        I'm not sure what you're getting at. I'm talking about devices that are not feasible to update. The fact that they can still access the Play Store should be a good thing, it would be silly if these old/cheap devices couldn't. It would be silly to expect an ICS update for them too, what with hardware limitations and what-not.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          It would be great if Google released some statistics about what the devices are that happen to be hitting the Play Store. I'd like to see a breakdown of how old the devices are and what percentage aren't even up-to-date with OEM updates (I bet this would be a scary number). Also, it would be great to know how this stacks up by country/language. It might also be interesting to see the frequency with which older devices are hitting the store, after all, there could be millions of older devices still operating, but the users only hit the store once a month (meaning they aren't always counted in the 14-day window).

          I suspect that the majority of devices that are running Eclair and earlier are coming from developing countries. Froyo is probably made up by a lot of people who bought their phone and never bothered to update it; and they are probably still on contract.

          One sad reality, there will be a significant percentage of Gingerbread phones that will stay on that chart for at least another 18 months. There's at least a few phones that came out at the end of 2011 that will never see ICS.

  • cooldoods

    Do the stats show active devices? Perhaps some people who own several devices have stopped using and updating their old Android devices.

    • CrazyRusski

      "The following pie chart and table is based on the number of Android devices that have accessed Google Play within a 14-day period ending on the data collection date noted below." I would say this is pretty active

  • Brianreed2010

    So I guess I'm part of the .0000000000000000001% on Jelly Bean

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1519620310 Zac Rodriguez

      I'm with you there buddy.  Love it to death!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      +2

      • hot_spare

        Not fair.. I can only +1

        This is discrimination between MOD and normal crowd. Somebody open a anti-trust case against Artem!

    • http://wyldtek.com/ wyldtek

      We are the 10,000+. JB tastes so good.

    • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

      Snobs.

    • GBGamer

      I'm proud to be part of the 0.5%. DONUT FOR THE WORLD!

    • m_evans10

      +2 more devices here

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    Do these stats include Custom ROMs? I'd assume so but I'm not sure.

    • AaronGingrich

      It includes every device that accesses the Play store. So yes :)

      • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

        Gotcha, thanks.

  • MacInTexas

    Stop the FUD, please. There are ios devices that aren't current (with some not able to update). There are Windows Phones that are currently being sold as "flagships" that Cannot update to the Newest version already announced. There is also the Fact that new versions of Android are reserved to the New Nexus Device it's released on for a period of at least 3 months. Your Editor should hanger caught this ...

    • AaronGingrich

      I'm not comparing to other OSes. At no point in the post do I mention any other OS that's doing it better. I don't care how well iOS and WinPho are doing on fragmentation, I care about how NOT well Android is doing.

  • Ribbed for her pleasure.

    These numbers make me feel sad.

    • fixxmyhead

      Awesome name

  • cviniciusm

    ICS (Android 4.0+): US+Canada(months ago)+Europe(now)+The REST (waiting or using custom roms).

  • CJ Walker

    Currently on a Gingerbread phone bc I have an ICS tablet but I can't wait to be on Jelly Bean hopefully by the end of the year. My goal is to get a nexus by the end of the summer but ... you know. Bills and shit.

  • freelyn

    My old Samsung Captivate started out on what 2.1 and then got 2.2 and finally 2.3.5. Yes, it is not the latest version but it is stable and runs well with the older hardware of the phone. The idea that every device needs to be on the latest version of Android is unrealistic. Some of them just weren't designed to handle the glory that is ICS and JB. So it will take until people upgrade their phones to see more market share for the newer versions.

    I just received ship notice on my ICS Samsung SIII but I won't be killing my Captivate, it will get passed on to my son as a Galaxy player. So there will still be a 2.3.5 device out there in active duty along with my new phone and you know what? There is ZERO problem with that. As long as the majority are on a stable release. I mean look how old Windows XP Pro is at this point and people are still running it and doing useful work.

    • elias

      Interface is dealed with in a totally different way in outdated versions of Android. You basically have to entirely redesign the entire interface for every major version of Android you support as a developer. It takes time and demand work, which has a cost. Being left with no apps is what will ultimately push people to update, even if it requires root. I'm comfortable with the idea of abandoning everything prior to gingerbread.
      One thing Google could to to drastically improve adoption of newer versions: include in Android the non optional feature of updating directly from Google, which would save those who are held hostages by their carrier/manufacturer poor update policy. Ultimately, it would push carriers out of the equation or force then to improve their crappy offerings. Sure Google would be in trouble of supporting the hardware of every Android existent, but I guess they could deal with it. Maybe force carriers to disclose which are the main differences in their hardware?

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    It's not just a consumer problem. The slowness of OS adoption is hurting Google because it will give ample of times to its competitor to respond to Android's advancement. We can argue all we want whether there's a fragmentation problem, but there's no denial that Google has little control on deploying new features to Android. Google Now is great. But let's guess how long we will see it in non-Nexus phones? A year, may be? By then, Apple, or may be even Microsoft can come up with something to respond to it. The general public won't know Android is the first to bring that kind of technology to its users. Put it this way, the secrecy of developing Android is almost useless because the release of the OS has nothing to do with deployment. Once a new version of Android is out, it will be at least a year (and that's a very optimistic estimate) before some users can put their hands on it.

  • Asphyx

    I'm not sure which is actually more disturbing the fact that ICS is on only 10% of the devices or the fact it got only that far on the day the next OS was released?

    Now I guess it makes some sense that the installed base for ICS is low since the majority of it is installed on Tabs and a Few Samsung phone models,
    And we knew long ago that many Froyo devices were lucky to ever see GB let alone ICS.

    But it seems that the second one OS starts to get out there another one comes out which is great for rom flashing folks but must be horrible for the newbies still running stock.
    They probably won't see jelly Bean until two upgrades from now in many cases.

    Google need to take over the OTA business so when a new OS is rewleased everyone can get on the same page immediatly.

    • Rui Araújo

      That's not technically possible unless they adopt a WP like scheme where they mandate all hardware which it isn't going to happen. The PDK will be the best that they can do, anything else will be out of their control.

  • Guest

    Wow.  A whopping 10% just after a short 9 month delay!  That's amazing!
     

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It hasn't been 9 months.

      • AaronGingrich

        No need to be petty.

  • spamy

    Im still running on Froyo (HTC Desire) and know one who runs Donut on her G1. Its not that bad, phones still work. But if I didnt had a chance to play with some Nexus/S2, I'd already bought a new phone by now

  • FrancescoDondi

    You know, I love Android, but I love eating too: my OS is actually (maybe you'd better have a seat and breath deep first) Froyo. And it does pretty well... of course I'd LOVE to have ICS or JB, but if hardware manufacturers can (and usually do) forget to update, you are with waterver was hip at the moment you bought the device.

    Maybe after the two year mark we will see a major renewment, because most people will buy their second Android handset!

  • warcaster

    Only 17% are Froyo. 5% are Eclair, released in January 2010.

  • József Király

    Sadly the low number of ICS updates aren't just about carrier and manufacturer updates, but the users too: many fear the upgrades, updates, and just rather have them dismissed than to actually do it. Plus, there are a lot of cheap chinese manufacturers who tend to release their tablets with 2.2 (plus their added touch controls for menu, back, search, volume, etc), and while these are kinda popular, they never see any updates than the factory one. And Google counts these into the percentage too.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I agree with you on everything but the last part. If the device doesn't have the Play Store then it can't be counted in the stats. There are a few that get through, but most of the cheap tablets you're talking about are missing Play Store access.

      • József Király

        Actually, many chinese manufacturers loads the Google framework on their devices, though they did not take the CTS test successfully, or at all.

  • TVFWNL

    Honeycomb: poor Samsung Galaxy Tab owners

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Lol, I flashed the CM9 snapshot on my tab as soon as it was released. Aside from the 8 or 9 XOOM owners (wifi only) and the few people who could get Amazon to sell them a Transformer Prime, we were some of the first people to be able to run ICS on a tablet ;) Thankfully, Steve Kondik liked the galaxy tab too, otherwise I think it would have languished in Honeycomb hell indefinitely.

      • TVFWNL

        Glad I decided to buy the o.g. Transformer and not the g-tab, now I only have to wait for Asus if they are or if they are not updating the tf101 to 4.1 If they are don't, well, I'll just flash a (cm10?) rom.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          That's why I want to sell off my GT and switch to Asus (a more current model though). Samsung is decent with phone support, but they are awful with tablets. To be fair, I don't tend to like stock roms very often, so I'll flash CM 9/10 regardless of OEM support. I just care about getting OEM updates so proper hardware support and optimization is there.

  • gladgura

    Not to run too far from subject but, shouldn't the terms be like this... Apple Fans are call: Fanboys and Android fans are called: Fandroids. anyone agree?

    • AaronGingrich

      Since when is "fanboy" exclusive to Apple? It doesn't incorporate the word Apple and it's been around longer than Apple.

      • gladgura

        it's not. I just thought Fandroid sounded cool for android. that was my only point.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      You do know that fanboy is usually used as a derogatory term, right? It really started in sci-fi and comic geek culture. When people talk about Apple fans, unless it's obvious from context, people put the full name in (ie. Apple Fanboy).

      • gladgura

        Well call me foolish then. I guess I was trying to put a positive spin on things. There happens to be to much hatred in this world.

  • Rui Araújo

    ICS was a major upgrade even Google themselves had trouble updating Nexus S. They released a very beta quality upgrade on December 2011 and the final update was on March 2012. This update was very hard, I bet most manufacturers had to something similar to CM, start fresh.

  • nicktastic

    Only a small percentage of those phones running gingerbread are even capable of running ICS in the first place. I fail to see the big deal.

  • tom kington

    ICS is a worse experience for me, I wish I had never upgraded. The lock screen is poor now, and often skips motions, the select/cut/copy/paste text control is a lot worse too. Not noticed any improvements? - I wish I hadn't bothered

  • anon

    8.5 months and under 11% is not on by any standards.. it is disgusting and should be made right.. This news should be in the headlines.. Someone has to step in and fix this garbage now ..PS SAMSUNG fix the problems with the ICS update you have released

  • anon

    for the Galaxy Note that is..

  • Francis Goh

    I am waiting for Motorola to release the ICS for Atrix. They need 1 year to release an update. -_-'

  • mynameisj

    I'm still waiting for Motorola to release 4.0 for my Atrix 4G! So in the mean time I'm stuck with 2.3.7, not a bad release but I can appreciate the fixes that ICS brings, plus take advantage of the apps which I cannot use on Gingerbread.

  • kenjab

    To me, the biggest problem isn't so much older phones that aren't up-to-date. It's the lack of NEW phones with the latest OS. I just toured T-Mobile's (my provider) current Android offerings, only 2 out of 12 models came with ICS, the cheapest of which was $200. The rest had Gingerbread, except one that still had Froyo (!). Maybe it's just T-Mobile's selection, which I concur is behind the others, but that seems really low to me.

    I used to work in computer sales, and I remember that on the day a new version of Windows was released, EVERY computer we sold had that new version pre-installed, from the lowest to highest end. It's inexcusable to me that you can't get a low, or even mid-range Android phone with ICS so long after its release.

  • vhick

    These are depends on the manufacturer, like my Galaxy W that is very capable of ICS and maybe Jellybean,but I think Samsung abandon it early. To sad :(

  • P OBC

    I'm running a HTC Desire HD with ver. 3.12.405.1 and I've been waiting for what seems like forever for Ice Cream Sandwich! And have no idea when or if it's still coming for my handset!! Frustrating although I would not change for any money, well ok we all have our price......

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      HTC says it'll be between July and August. common sense would suggest end of august or beginning of September.

      http://www.htc.com/www/help/android4faq/?cid=android4blog

      For anybody running the AT&T variant, called the Inspire 4g, it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that you aren't getting the update. For this crowd, either start flashing custom ROMs now, or wait until a few weeks after HTC releases ICS for the DHD, then there will almost certainly be a version of CM9 rolling out that makes use of the updated drivers.

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