04
Mar
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Google has posted its monthly snapshot of the Android Platform Versions distribution, and things are, unsurprisingly, inching forward for KitKat and Jelly Bean. KitKat is up from a share of 1.9% last month to 2.5% this go around, likely owed to the widening rollout of Android 4.4 to the Galaxy S4 and a number of other devices.

march

Jelly Bean continued to gain ground, too, up slightly this month at 62% as compared to 60.7% in February, with the individual breakdown still heavily favoring Android 4.1 as opposed to 4.2 or 4.3.

Gingerbread's steady decline is ongoing, losing another percentage point in the March 2014 distribution, down to 19%, while Froyo has basically held steady, at 1.2% versus the 1.3% reported last month. As always, the dashboard has other useful info like screen size and Open GL version distributions, so hit up the link below.

Android Developers

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • DoubleP90

    The numbers of devices running gingerbread is too damn high

    • KingofPing

      .....why? (Serious question...)

      I have 3 GB devices at home. All being used as alarm-clocks.

      I also have 4 KK and 2 JB devices that are used as phones/tablets.

      I highly doubt I am even remotely the only one using these GB devices after upgrading to newer ones when they function perfectly well as media players, clocks, and so on. GB is not going anywhere so long as these devices continue to function.

      (...and I do not see why that would be considered a problem.)

      What are we supposed to do with them? Throw them away??

      • gargamel

        True. Also as phones and communication devices they do a perfect job- gmail, whatsapp, viber, skype, AOSP browser.... all just work perfectly fine.
        I recently downgraded my old SGS back to GB. It's great.
        To all those who complain- enjoy your KK devices and leave us GB users alone.

      • someone755

        You're supposed to not buy them once a month. You have like 9 Android devices.
        (And yes it is a problem because it has a bad design and, more importantly, newer apps aren't compatible or have to leave TONS of features out to be compatible (in the end hurting us running 4.4 or leaving you with 5% of all apps available).)

        • KingofPing

          You've made some incorrect assumptions. Go figure...

          We have a large family. One phone each and two tablets total is not what I think anyone would consider "a problem".

          The three GB device are well over 5 years old.

          Apparently, that 5% is exactly what I use unless the problem you point out exists entirely in your head.

          • someone755

            Quoting you:
            "I have /.../. I also have /.../."
            Based on that little piece I assume you're the owner and user of all of those devices (since that's really what you said).
            You asked what the problem is, I told you about compatibility issues and how in the end everyone loses (I'm assuming that we're staying at the topic of GB still being here and being a real issue).

            I meant no disrespect with my original comment. Part one was sort of sarcasm/joke. The thing in brackets was an answer to your question on why GB would be an issue.

            (Also if you'd be willing to give them away, many charity organizations will buy/take the devices and give them to youth who can't afford phones.)

          • KingofPing

            Really? You actually, seriously thought I meant that I personally used 3 alarm clocks?

            Wow...just....I don't even...

            ...back on topic:

            I'd love to see where you got your 5% stat that you are saying was the "serious" bit of your post...and how it could possibly hurt anyone running Kitkat, which I run as well.

          • someone755

            People have various needs. I know a guy with 3 cars, a girl with four radio alarm clocks. Why would anyone using three phones as alarm clocks be special...?
            The thing is, you don't see that hurt you directly. The developers can only do so much to make an app compatible with several Android versions. They'll either take features away so it fits more OS versions or use the newest apis, resulting in your GB devices not getting any new apps.
            That number 5 you're so desperately holding on to was to give you a picture of what all old devices are missing. The number is, of course, much larger.

          • KingofPing

            "The developers can only do so much to make an app compatible with several Android versions."

            The developers can target multiple API levels.

            "They'll either take features away so it fits more OS versions or use the newest apis, resulting in your GB devices not getting any new apps."

            Some may, some may not. Most will code to the majority - meaning 4.1+. This doesn't hurt me or my devices running GB...as they work just fine as is.

            "The number is, of course, much larger."

            Based on what? I'll ask again: Where are you getting this information?

          • someone755

            Either you're not reading my comments or something's wrong with both of us.
            What you don't seem to be getting is that targeting multiple APIs, they are forced to drop features and functionality (unless it's an old and useless app).
            There's not "some may, some may not". Those are the only paths they can choose. (even coding back to 4.1 allows for less features than for 4.4 alone)
            My "source" isn't all that hard to get (though your obsession with my use of extreme numbers to show something baffles me). Go to the desktop play store, find 100 random apps and see how many of those are available for your GB devices and how many for your kk devices.

            And you asked a question that I answered, why do you want to argue over that? (I'm making another assumption here that you think that I am mistaken. Bottom line: I'm not. This is research and experience, not random bs I'm making up here.)

          • KingofPing

            "What you don't seem to be getting is that targeting multiple APIs, they are forced to drop features and functionality (unless it's an old and useless app). "

            This is untrue and is, I believe, where the issue lies.

            "And you asked a question that I answered, why do you want to argue over that?"

            Because I believe your response to be false. Not intentionally perhaps, but possibly because you have been misinformed. I do not believe it is your intent to mislead so I am trying to clear up any misconceptions you may have that lead to this.

            The Play store is far more elegant than you give it credit for. You can easily code to multiple API levels and fully utilize the entire feature set of each regardless of the lowest API level you choose to support. Supporting GB in no way means they must deny features or functionality to their KK userbase.

            http://developer.android.com/training/multiple-apks/api.html

            This means that any developer supporting GB can easily continue to support the latest and greatest API levels without dropping support for GB and without limiting the features/functionality available to higher API levels. This information, from Google, directly contradicts the information you've been supplied.

            Whomever has been giving you this information should from this point on be viewed as suspect, at least in this regard.

          • Anon

            A developer spending time to support GB on their app (which is a total bitch seeing how many support libraries there are..) means time is taken away from developing features supported after 4.0+.

          • KingofPing

            A dev spending time on more than one app takes time away from their other apps. (it just as ridiculous a concept as you posited)

            Also of note: Gingerbread on up fully supports the Google Play Services. This means that the APIs are consistent for almots all Android devices, GB and higher.

            Most apps written for Google Play Services should run on those devices just fine.

          • someone755

            Then I guess Google's own staff doesn't know what they're talking about...
            Also from that very page you linked:

            Support different OpenGL texture compression formats with each APK.
            Support different screen sizes and densities with each APK.
            Support different device feature sets with each APK.
            Support different platform versions with each APK.^These are the reasons people use multiple APKs. Now notice how most devs will never go into more than one APK. The issue here is that different OS versions also bring different hardware (and thus there are big hardware limits) as well as the OS itself that is a limitation.

            I get people may not see my explanation as alright, but you really should reconsider the tone the reader will receive the text.

          • KingofPing

            *shakes head*

            "most devs will never go into more than one APK"

            Just as you "knew" you couldn't fully support KK and GB, you now claim "know" the coding habits of "most devs". Unbelievable....

            "The issue here is that different OS versions also bring different hardware.."

            No. Just....no. Stop it. You really need to stop. You obviously do not know what you are talking about and it's getting worse with every post. Different OS versions bring different hardware?? On what bizarro planet does that even make sense? Phones bring different hardware. Os versions bring different APIs.

            I get it. You really, really, really want the existence of GB to be a Bad Thing™. Have fun with that. This has gone well beyond the ridiculous....I'm done.

            Have a great day.

          • someone755

            Okay, so my expression was not fully correct. To make it shorter;
            Old phones have different hardware than new phones. Old phones = old OS, new phones = new OS. New API = more features, old API = less features. Use old API = less features possible because of both old hardware and old OS. If you're still not seeing the issue, I don't know when you will...

            I really don't get what you want to achieve with all this...

          • jeff

            Remember what assume means !

          • someone755

            assume (verb) - to think that something is true, although you do not have definite proof.
            I'll assume you didn't read my comment there. Or you did but didn't understand something.

        • Fatty Bunter

          The power drain on your smartphone clocks has definitely cost you more than if you had just bought stand-alone alarm clocks.

          • someone755

            Batteries are a hassle for some people. Then again, those same people buy phones with user-replaceable batteries.
            :/

      • AGWednesday

        IIRC, these numbers only include devices that have connected to the Play Store over the last month. Your three alarm clocks might not count.

        But if you're using them to play music off the Play Store, that's a different story, I'm sure.

        • KingofPing

          Wi-Fi connected, play-store active.

          Weather alerts, headlines, etc...

          Seemed a waste to get rid of 'em and they wouldn't have sold for much. Can't really beat the use I've gotten out of them.

      • Randroid

        If you're not accessing the Play Store (which it sounds like you aren't - you are mostly using apps that are already installed) then your GB devices aren't being counted in this figure.

        That being said, they are actually still selling devices with GB on them... my step dad just got one. It's one of the rugged phones (which he does not in any way need) and it probably never got/gets any updates to the OS because it's not even close to being a mainstream phone.
        (I was seriously taken back when I turned it on and kinda thought "what the heck is this?" then answered my own question when I realized it was GB.)

        • Imparus

          actually if the apps still are being automatic checked for new updates, which they are unless he disabled the play store, he will be affecting the data.

        • KingofPing

          They are all connected.

      • re

        If its only used as an alarm. Then it wont connect to the Play Store and wont be counted in these stats. Unless, of course, you dont use it only as an alarm clock.

        • KingofPing

          ...

  • remister

    I wanted to be part of the 1% of something, so I joined the Froyo crew.

    • someone755

      I'm booting my tablet up, doing a full system reinstall. Maybe we can keep it there, eh?

    • Somedude

      Pfff this fragmentation is pathetic. Apple for example will release iOS 7.1 this week or the next, and I know I will have the new update available since the first day. That's how things should be.

  • Brett

    Gingerbread needs to die already.

    • Raytracer

      It has but any device running TouchWiz automatically gets counted as Gingerbread.

      • adi19956

        I know people still running GB. I keep telling them, but they won't flush their phones down the loo. I can't understand why.

        • KingofPing

          ...because that's incredibly wasteful?

          • adi19956

            /s (thought that was implied)

          • KingofPing

            Heh...

            Gotta read some of the other comments on here. Apparently the second your device is 2 generations past current, it's garbage and you are ruining the entire Android ecosystem by hanging on to it.

            It's utterly ridiculous of course....but that seems to be the consensus at least around these parts.

          • Brad

            it's way past 2 generations... major releases are counted at a .x level...

          • KingofPing

            Where's my "Can't tell if serious" .gif, dangit?!?!

          • Brad

            I'm serious... look at some of the differences in JB... notifications etc. I know it's not traditional, but when is Google ever traditional?

          • KingofPing

            Ah. Got it.

            The number of generations wasn't the point of my comment - change that bit to whatever you want it to be. It could be a point release or a full-on traditional main version release, and any number of them.

            The point, of course, was the hive-mind "it's garbage - you're hurting the platform" BS being tossed around here by some individuals.

          • someone755

            Ah, so this is your issue with me, I see now.
            So you really do not get what I tried to tell you.

            Good day, have fun thinking about whatever you'd like to. I'm out.

          • Brad

            Ah, yeah... truth be told, devs aren't really going for the GB devices any more than web designers were designing for ie6 for the 40 years that clung around... I'll say good riddance to GB, but it's not ruining anything by any stretch. Apps'll have basic function, but it's not hindering the 4.x+ apps that are coming out.

          • KingofPing

            Truth. In fact, there will undoubtedly be fewer and fewer 4.x+ apps since Google Play Services APIs tossed in support going all the way back to GB. Write to these APIs and you can fully support nearly every device thrown at the Play Store....new featuresfunctionality and all.

            Obviously, NDK-related development and apps will still have their own specific hardware requirements, but that's well outside the API/OS level related issue. Anything suffering from "older OS" or "older hardware" in these cases is just the march of time and progress. It happens in the PC world just the same.

            All said, it's a good time for Android. Looks like they finally got some of the kinks worked out regarding compatibility and non-hardware related fragmentation.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      As much as 4.x became an enormous upgrade to Android itself (if counting 2.3 -> 4.0 transition, without 3.x), Gingerbread it still quited good to this day.
      I liked CM7.0 with 2.3.5 when I first tried it on my HTC Desire S, and official Sense ROMs with Sense 3.0 on top of 2.3.5 were delivering a pretty good usage experience

    • gargamel

      Why? Can you pls explain what's wrong with it? Unless you're a little kid playing games, GB is just fine.
      And BTW, do you want to test how fast the AOSP browser runs on My SGS vs chrome on your N5? It id going to be very embarrassing for the N5... Believe me I tried...

    • KingofPing

      No. No, it doesn't.

      People need to stop assuming GB = useless. We don't throw away our old devices. We re-purpose them.

      • Brett

        I repurposed my SGS by putting CM 10.1 on it. Way better.

        • KingofPing

          I could put KK on my GB devices. Really don't see the need. They work great as alarms running the OS they EOL'd with.

          I have nothing against ROMs. Used the heck out of 'em myself up until xposed became huge. My One, for example, runs stock but with Google Now Launcher and a few xposed mods. Both of my tablets are stock Nexus devices with xposed mods.

          What I really want now is an xposed-mod to give Sense 5.5 Quick Settings tiles to AOSP. (Then my One will be converted to GPe...stock)

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Okay, I gotta ask: why does Google still provide stats for Honeycomb? It's not like it's gonna get a "sequel release", and the HC devices users have probably long ago switched to AT LEAST something with 4.0.x. Besides, those 0.1% mean aboslutely nothing :/

    • Stanley Stanleyson

      These stats are targeted mainly at app developers, to help them choose the minimum API level (and Android version) to target.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        But don't Android 2.3 and below (if there is support for 2.2 and 2.1) have a lower API level than newer Honeycomb has?

    • axel

      Actually I have a honeycomb device. Its my Google TV top box. When we bought the TV the Google TV/Bluray was included. But unfortunately it was never updated, and never will. But I'm still happy with it. It can do most things that the Chromecast can. So I was enjoying those things way before, and its also why I don't see the need for a Chromecast. I have the PlayMusic app and since my music is on the cloud I can just play it from there, no need to stream. Although I can if I want control from my phone. I can also use the AllCast app and cast my photos and videos.

      • Brad

        Chromecast was the best impulse buy I've ever made... Believe me.

  • Harsha

    Now I fairly do not understand whats wrong with gingerbread going down at a slower pace. I do not find any more devices which are being shipped with gingerbread these days. So those 19% of devices are relatively very old users who really don't care about what android version they are running. Why bother about those 19% of devices? Eventually all new apps will stop working in them and they will buy new phones.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Some people still enjoy their 2.3.x devices because they suit their needs and they don't feel any urgency to upgrade to newer devices that come with 4.0 and above

      I know my former co-ed still uses her Galaxy Ace with 2.3 and it's fine for her

    • guyfromtrinidad

      I can assure you the GB devices are still being sold in developing countries. Its going to be around for a while

      • kabloink

        In the U.S., Tracfone and Net10 still sell GB phones.

      • Casin

        Not for long. Google is stopping licensing of G Apps to GB devices and soon JB devices.

  • supremekizzle

    Gingerbread is like Richard Yarrell: Won't just die already.

  • varagor

    Will Jelly Bean end up becoming the new Gingerbread? How many of these phones are going to get updates to a newer version of Android?

    • Thomas’

      Jelly Bean 4.1 is already declining since a few months. So no, it's not a ~60% sink as Gingerbread was.

    • someone755

      Every version will once be forced to shrink and disappear.
      About JB staying there as long as GB did, yes, absolutely it will. There's so many low-end devices from god knows who and where that won't ever see 4.2 (Archos, tons of Sammy phones, Prestigio, tons of small Asian OEMs)(not only are OEMs too lazy to update the phones to at least 4.3, most of the phones can't even handle 4.3 anyways (can barely live with the lag of 4.1)).

      • SSDROiD

        Starting a new bracket in an existing bracket? I also like to live dangerously.

        • someone755

          I have things to say, and I need a bracket. But I also need brackets inside brackets (yo dawg... :P).
          I'm mostly used of this from my TI-89 calculator. Damn thing can't do a square root of 4 if there's not enough brackets. xD

      • Crispin Swickard

        Other than possible driver issues fro some 90% of it is probably laziness. There is no reason a device running 4.0 could not be updated to 4.4, and run just as well if not better than it had w/ 4.0. Especially with the improvements implemented since 4.1.

        • someone755

          Not in all cases tho. A single core A5 chip is better off with GB.

    • Asphyx

      Yes JB will be the next GB because of Google's Decision to stop supporting non-neon devices.
      So all those Non-Neon Devices will be stuck on Jelly Bean until their users retire them which is just about any device that originally shipped with Honeycomb, late versions of GB or ICS.

  • Brett

    I found gingerbread to have far more glitches and force closes then JB or KitKat. I had an SGS as well and found it to be incredibly laggy. No comparison between the N4 and the SGS. Do miss having an SD card slot though.

  • Uncle_Rico

    who the hell is using Honeycomb for God's sake...?!?! are there ACTUALLY XOOM platforms still in existence...?! skewing the numbers man!?! :)

    • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

      I am, on my GoogleTV... Unfortunately, it will never see the JB update for GoogleTV...

  • Severo Rivera

    Damn, jelly bean is the new gingerbread.

    • Chris Martinelli

      You have to consider how many phones are out there. It's over 1 billion Androids out there now, and alot of them are older or low end. http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/03/android-kit-kat/

      Its going to take alot of time to move those #'s, and it shouldnt matter to you. If you are concerned with having the latest OS, then either get a high end phone, get a NExus, or take control of it yourself and use a custom ROM.

  • Brad

    RE: Using GB devices as alarms/game stations... if you're not accessing the play store, you're not skewing the numbers anyway. No worries.

  • agl82

    I'm contributing to the Honeycomb number. My Sony NSX-32GT1 (Google TV) still uses Honeycomb and works quite well I must say. I'll probably use it for several years to come.

  • vincent

    I'm in the honeycomb crew :-)

  • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

    Honeycomb looks like it's holding on to dear life. I wonder how much .1% of all android devices makes up...

  • Blab Blab

    Developers should stop developing for pre-4.0 versions of android and move on. They will eventually fade away. But I have a feeling JB would probably stick around longer than GB or Froyo

  • stefnagel

    Unacceptable.

  • Alvaro

    I think maybe the solution would be not te release a new android version every 5 minutes, i know they have improvements, but slowing down with the release of new versions would help developers with the problem of making the apps compatible for so many different versions of android. I got a galaxy glide (dual core, 1gb ram, 4" screen, decent resolution, nice cam, and a full QWERTY fiscal keyboard) the device its just one year and a half old, and its fast, and has everything i need, but I'm stuck on ICS, so far every app i need its working great but i hate to think that some may stop working because of my android version. The people of Google should remember that not everyone lives in the first world, and for some of us is not that easy to change the phone every year, but even if we could, why should we if the device we are using works great. Just slow down.....