03
Jun
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Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, and they show a nice uptick for Google's latest and greatest. Jelly Bean (versions 4.1 and 4.2) have reached 33% of active Android devices, or roughly one-third of the market. Gingerbread, however, continues its slow slide downward while remaining stubbornly high.

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Last month Gingerbread was chugging along at 38.5%, so the last 30-days saw a 2% drop. That's actually a slight acceleration in the rate of decline. Jelly Bean rose 3.4% in last months update, compared to a healthy increase of about 4.6% this time.

Other versions of Android continue to shift. ICS is down a fraction, as are Froyo, Éclair, and Donut. Honeycomb continues to be used by essentially no one. Remember these numbers are now based on devices that have checked into the Play Store in the last 2-weeks, but it's a fair measure of phones and tablets that are being used on a regular basis.

[Android Developer Dashboard]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Michael Lee

    Gingerbread should begin to diminish as soon as people's contracts are up. :)

    • quiro91

      nope: people buy phones with contracts just in the US, the rest of the world usually buys them unlocked; so Gingerbread is gonna disappear very slowly

      • http://www.facebook.com/duckofdeath Hans Pedersen

        Contracts a pretty common in Europe too.

        • Matt

          Canada and Australia as well.

          • Metallinatus

            In Brazil too, but most people buy low-end phones with Gingerbread or even Froyo (I am looking at you, Galaxy 5) here, and that won't gonna change soon....

          • Floss

            Most developers (ie: the only people who really care what % of people are using what OS) don't really care about the people who are buying GB devices still.

        • quiro91

          maybe 5%

          • adi19956

            You ever been to Europe? The vast majority of western Europeans (that's all the Europe I know) buy phones on contract to avoid high one off fees.
            I don't, I'm sensible as SIM only is cheaper, but still.

          • Floflo

            It's just starting to change in France. But yes most people still buy their phones with contracts.

          • quiro91

            I live in Europe

          • CJ Holder

            Err what... Can't speak for other European countries but in the UK we get phones free (Even brand-new top of the range ones) if you sign an 18 +month contract. On O2 the phones are unlocked and come with zero bloat-ware too. You speak as if the US is the only developed country... When in fact it's under-developed in a lot of things. Contracts being one of them. Having to pay $200 for a phone then shell out monthly doesn't seem fair to me, especially since they're all pretty much locked and full of bloat.

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        Very true, my sis is still using the Galaxy Ace here in India, though she never visits the Play Store so I don't think her device counts now. :P

      • kaiz

        I have lived in UK, Spain and The netherlands. On these countries the 90% of the people get their devices with a telecom contract.

      • 윌 스튜어트

        Contracts are very common in most of (Western) Europe. And in the UK if you buy a phone on a contract or SIM free (which means outright) from retailers like Carphone Warehouse & Phones4U the phone is usually unlocked and can be used on any network.

    • tylerbrainerd

      not really. I still use my old htc desire as an ipod. I'm not just going to throw it away and pay money to replace it.

      • adi19956

        The key question here though is whether or not you go on the Play Store, do you?

        • Simon Belmont

          I still go into the Google Play Store on my old HTC Hero. It's running Android 2.3.7 (CM7.2).

          It basically gets used as an alarm clock and music streamer and occasional web browser if my other devices are charging. It's still quite good for those functions.

          • spacemonkey82

            why dont you upgrade to 4.x and earn karma points :)

          • Simon Belmont

            Haha. My current daily driver is actually an EVO 3D running CM10.1, so I'm on the latest and greatest.

            I just tend to find uses for my older devices. I figure no sense in throwing him out if I can use them for something.

        • tylerbrainerd

          Yes I do

  • Anthony Restaino

    Die gingerbread, Die.

    • james kendall

      Gingerbread needs to die. Thank god both of my devices are running Jelly bean.

    • Tee

      Not possible because the likes of Samsung. Cheap and relatively new devices (lots of them!) are never likely to be upgraded to ICS.

      • Daniel DS

        False. Since a few months ago, Samsung has been releasing only devices with ICS and above, that I'm aware of.

  • Sean Lumly

    Android seriously requires a better update system. When Canonical issues a Ubuntu update, I get it on my PC within minutes. It's a shame that Gingerbread still commands 36% of the active installs out there, despite being over 2.5 years old! Perhaps with a more modular system, tight minimum requirements for specifications, a thorough driver compliance test suite, and a strategy to handle bad or buggy updates, every device, regardless of skin, carrier, or hardware, could receive the latest feature pushed directly from Google.

    • http://twitter.com/zackeryfretty Zackery Fretty

      Yeah that's pretty much a broken record for ages now. It's getting better. Blame the carriers. Google releases updates for Android right away. That doesn't mean that HTC is going to have Sense ready for the update day or that Samsung will have TouchWiz ready on day one. Also Verizon/AT&T might not ever approve any updates at all.

      This is why Nexus devices exist and why Nexus Experience devices are now a thing.

      • Sean Lumly

        With a more modular system, HTC wouldn't have to get Sense ready to receive libraries or apps. A skin doesn't need to be more than software running on top of the OS and/or replacing some stock graphical assets. So long as the versioned APIs maintain their contracts with OS updates, the software layer on top should function normally.

        This would not be trivial, but certainly is possible.

        I personally think that the manufacturer/carrier skinning and/or custom apps are partially responsible for getting Android where it is today. It gives manufacturers the ability to differentiate and compete on more than just specs alone. I just think that manufacturers/carriers can still differentiate with skins and apps and get updates pushed directly from Google with smarter OS design.

    • tylerbrainerd

      As always, the thing is there are a lot of outdated devices out there built with crap specs that simply cannot run anything more than 2.3. I have a nice gnexus that is all up to date, but I still use my old HTC Desire as an mp3 player, and it's just fine on 2.3. It's not going anywhere.

      • Sean Lumly

        I would actually like to challenge that assertion. Take a look at the ancient Nexus One (circa the Froyo era) running Jellybean (link below). While features have increased with new versions of Android, it has likely gotten more efficient with future versions, and is running on this older hardware reasonably well. I would expect that this wouldn't prevent users from upgrading to newer devices for better specs, nicer form factions, added manufacturer features, etc.

        JB on N1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLzkbt_H5MM

        Now, I'm not suggesting that Google keep these old devices alive -- there can be a 3-year support limit or something -- but I am suggesting that updating is likely more a software problem than a hardware problem.

        • Matthew Fry

          Regardless of whether JB runs on <1GB phones, Google changed the hardware requirements not the manufacturers. They are likely putting on the highest version of Android Google recommends based on their target price point hardware.

          • Guest

            Read the post I was replying to. I was challenging the idea that older hardware was incapable of running the latest version of Android.

          • Matthew Fry

            Your point is understood. My point is that Google is the reason for the fragmentation. They are more interested in overall handsets running Android (thus the budget GB phones) instead of version cohesion.

          • Sean Lumly

            Thanks for the correction. Following up on your discussion of relevancy:

            I do wonder how older devices in the market translate to revenue loss (or gain) for Google. Since an increasing number of apps and services (eg. play movies) target later versions of Android, there are apps and media that simply will not be purchasable via older devices due to API incompatibility.

            On the other hand, it is within Google's best interest to provide incentive for consumers to purchase newer devices -- eg. licencing fees, competitive market hardware, etc. Slowly eroding software compatibility could provide that incentive to upgrade.

            Still, there are manufacturers that, regardless of hardware, simply do not ever issue an update. I do not see this as being a good thing for Google (as a profit turning entity) or for consumers. I would guess that it would be better for Google (ie. Play) if devices were supported for a specified amount of time (eg. 3 years), and updates were optional and swift.

        • tylerbrainerd

          The Nexus one has been given a whole lot of special attention to run a specially built jellybean. Most devices are not so lucky, particularly with drivers.

    • Nicholas Loomans

      I would like to point out:

      a) Ubuntu has several versions supported at the same time (10.04LTS, 12.04LTS, 12.10, 13.04)

      b) Versions of software on Ubuntu are not the latest stable releases for that software in most cases (e.g. xorg-server v1.14 is the lastest, but Ubuntu 12.10 shipped with v1.13).

      • Sean Lumly

        A fair point. Of course, even when one of these version updates is issued, it takes minutes and not years for systems to receive them.

        I personally would gladly sign up for an Android Beta channel to get access to new features at risk of stability, to be later pushed to the Android Stable releases.

        • Nicholas Loomans

          Not really at the mercy of unless they want to be. You can buy your phone outright and have control. You can also buy from the better manufacturers who don't restrict you as much. It depends on your priorities.

    • Metallinatus

      Ubuntu for desktops are not controlled by carriers nor manufacturers... but believe me.... once the first Ubuntu Phone starts shipping it will be fragmentation chaos again!

  • thistimearound

    Really doesn't matter as much though. Played with the old EVO last night, still on 2.3.5 and it was fine. Features weren't as slick, but the 3rd party apps were easily accessible. And the Google Play store and key apps were just as or almost as good as on ICS/JB. The overall experience upgraded significantly despite the Gingerbread framework being outdated.

    EDIT: I have an EVO on 2.3.5, an EVO on 4.2.1, a Nexus 7, an HP Touchpad on 4.1.2, and an Optimus G on 4.1.2(?). I know it's not as good as JB, but it isn't as critical of a difference as when ICS came out.

    • Mastermind26

      I have the OG EVO as well, but it does NOT feel smooth at all. All the games lag (on the hardware side) and the scroll left/right and time to open apps is slow (on the software side).

      It still gets the job done, but you see notable difference.

      • Simon Belmont

        Yes. It's definitely running JB because it's rooted.

        The OG EVO 4G stopped seeing official updates after GB. Unfortunately, most ICS and JB ROMs break camera (mainly the front facing camera) and video functionality.

        • thistimearound

          Correct. Evervolv rom. Try it. Gives new life to that aging device.

      • thistimearound

        Absolutely agree, it's NOT smooth. But my point wasn't how the aged hardware can keep up (because it can't), it was how the user experience is still improved thanks to Google's app updates and ecosystem upgrades.

  • Phil Oakley

    Hopefully Donut and Honeycomb will disappear altogether soon. And the 0.1% release of Gingerbread.

    • http://www.facebook.com/seangt Sean Thomas

      seriously, that just bugs me every time these get updated!

  • taz89

    Ok I understand people still using gingerbread as that was actually a good version but who are still using things like donut, eclair etc.. Would love to know..I understand developing countries can't get top of the line phones but I would have thought by now that even the cheapest of the cheapest phones would come with minimum 2.3

    • Hugo

      if it still works, I still have my old Desire with CM7 that keeps alive a free phoneline I only use for on-line stuff, calls go to voicemail and I get an email, same thing with sms. And it can be a backup 3G wifi router if my main line goes out. No need to have JB on that and while I do have 2.3 on it even donut or eclair would suffice.

  • littlevince

    Whenever these statistics come out, I feel like I'm following stock prices or something.

  • eilegz

    and here year 2013 fragmenation its stil strong

    • Metallinatus

      And here in 2013 Windows XP is still on more than 30% of the desktops....
      You were talking about fragmentation?

  • Marcos Amano

    I'm using Jelly Bean on my Xperia X8 for a long time. I prefer having some lags ocasionally rather than going back to Gingerbread!

  • Robert1111111

    Does anyone know whether these numbers are just US or world wide? And what is the absolute number that would be the 100%? IE 150,000,000 phones or what?

  • JG

    Dear Googoloa

    Since the last OTA you sent to the Droid X had "Improved stability for future OTA updates" as top billing -- any chance we can test that by sending an update & helping lower Gingerbreads stats even more? I won't be picky... It doesn't have to be 4.2.2 - I'll settle for 4.0.3... Or at least an update that'll unlock the bootloader & decrypt the kernel so we can attempt the update ourselves....

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