Google continues its monthly ritual of posting platform distribution numbers for Android. After getting a fairly late start, KitKat is keeping up its suddenly explosive pace by adding 3.2% to last month's 5.3%. This is largely due to a continual stream of updates to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 4.46.07 PM

The increase in KitKat's presence came at the expense of almost every older version of Android except for Jelly Bean 4.2, which actually rose 0.7%. The combined total of Jelly Bean versions remained fairly steady, only falling 0.6%. Gingerbread continues to make a slow crawl towards obscurity by losing nearly a tenth of its former footprint. If this trend continues, all of the Android versions prior to Ice Cream Sandwich combined should account for less than 10% before Christmas.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 5.16.32 PM

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 5.16.48 PM

For those who might be keeping an eye on it, OpenGL ES 3.0 support is steadily growing, as are the number of devices sporting XHDPI displays. MDPI is still maintaining a surprisingly powerful position, in large part due to the remaining Gingerbread user base. We'll be back next month when Google shares the next set of numbers!

[Android Dashboard]

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • AOSPrevails

    Not surprising as more Carrier 4.4 updates rolls out along with new phones ( GS5, HTC M8) released with 4.4.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psychomaniac189 psychomaniac189

    whenever i see these articles im more interested in which old os is still lingering around.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Not much has changed it seems from the older version other than a slight decrease.

  • saul

    87% of iOS devices are using iOS 7.

    That is impressive. I love Android but the Android OS updates are currently a mess

    • Bruce

      Not worth it IMO , wouldn't sacirifce things like device diversity and the freedom of android just for quicker updates, espically since you can just use custom roms

    • IncCo

      Not that impressive, considering it is ONE company with a handfull of devices.

      • Tíghearnán Carroll

        It's impressive, no matter what way you try to cut it.

        • Marsg

          87% of iOS is equal to like 7% of Android lol, so no its not really that impressive.

          • joser116

            They should instead compare what percentage of Apple made devices and Google made devices (Nexus) are on the latest versions of their respective OS. That would be a much fairer comparison.

          • Marsg

            Much more fair comparison

          • Tíghearnán Carroll

            Wow... What 17 half wits gave this comment an up-vote?

        • joser116

          Apple only has to develop for and support a few devices. Even then, the updates they provide often have bugs, worse performance, and worse battery life, even though they only have to support few devices. I am not saying Android updates don't have similar problems, but still, Google has to develop and account for thousands of phones. And also, when older iDevices are updated, they don't receive all features. I don't think it is that impressive (it is but not much) because it is just easier for them.

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Well, 4.X is on 83% of Android devices. You can argue that's where iOS, has been trying to catch up to.

      - That Guy

    • Stylus_XL

      "87% of iOS devices are using iOS 7."

      ...yes, but what portion of that 87% have access to top level app functionality and the latest core features? "Fragmentation" in iOS is conveniently glossed over by stressing the version number of the OS being run.

    • patrik

      IOS updates are merely updates of looks and useless functions. What people don't seem to know is that ios is more fragmented than what is commonly known. Big selling functions of ios are missing from updates. Such as siri that is missing from iPhone 4 and earlier, and some iPad models aswell.

      Just because it has the same OS number doesn't mean it has the whole package.

      • Crispin Swickard

        And interestingly the iPhone 4 should not have been upgraded as it runs terribly on iOS 7. 7.1 was a slight improvement, but its not a very good user experience unless they continue to work on it. I doubt it at this point.

    • David Peterson

      It's impressive as a stand alone stat, BUT lots of older devices are limited with features AND Apple just had a major bug with iOS 6 users losing ability to face time.

      You know their solution? "The bug fix is out... in iOS 7, upgrade if you want face time to work again"

      A LOT of people felt forced into upgrading ... all to show impressive stats like that one 😉

    • http://techsym.com/ cubanresourceful

      It is impressive. Luckily for Android, Google has been separating main OS apps out of the OS and into the Play Store, so no longer are users dependent on an OS update to have the latest and greatest in terms of OS apps (which is pretty awesome).

      However, APIs are still tied to OS updates (and I doubt it can be separated from the OS), as well as general look and feel (of the OS itself).

      With Apple, OS apps are tied to OS updates, so if you want the latest iOS native Calendar app or Siri, you have to have the latest OS (and even then, some older devices will not have all the improvements tied to said apps).

      Honestly, it's a "you win some, you lose some". Google has already made it clear the version numbers do not matter (this is my objective opinion, based upon the version number Chrome/Chrome OS is on, as well as Google moving core OS apps into the Play Store).

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        Just going to comment on your second paragraph ;)

        Some APIs are tied to the version of the OS. Google made a pretty solid point at I/O 2013 that Google Play Services (GMS) would take on some of those responsibilities. To be fair, most of those APIs are specifically related to Google's services and have less to do with the device itself, but something like activity recognition is an amazing new feature to see appearing on platforms as old as Froyo and Gingerbread. What matters is things like Play Games continues to get updates and improvements, compared to Gamecenter on iOS that is completely version dependent.

        You also mention the look and feel... Yeah, that's tied to the specific firmware, but it's largely a factor of each OEM. Android also naturally has some flexibility in this area that obviously isn't afforded to iOS.

        • http://techsym.com/ cubanresourceful

          Yes, you are completely correct. When I mentioned APIs, I meant the APIs tied to when you build a particular app (and the goodies that come with targeting that API). Of course, Games, Maps, etc., are actually updated separately (which is completely awesome). And of course, allows more flexibility when compared to iOS (again, like the example of Game Center vs Play Games).

          And yeah, I agree, look and feel is tied to the OEM, but I am talking about Android's "core" look and feel (with no modifications). Though, now that I think about it, more and more of the "look and feel" of Android is on the Play Store (like GEL).

          I'm hoping that pretty soon, the only thing needed for the OS is the kernel (and security fixes tied to it), with all the other pieces in the Play Store (and those particular pieces' ability to update separate from the OS, becoming even more similar to how Linux works).

  • Tucker

    I know many people who are satisfied with their gingerbread or ICS phone. As hard as I try to convince them to upgrade, it is the first smartphone that they got and they love it. They do not want it to change. Probably to everyone who reads this site wants the latest and greatest, but to my mother-in-law, she is perfectly happy being able to access Facebook on her phone.

    • Guest123

      I'll be staying on 4.1.2. Not because I necessarily want to.

      First, LG never updated and will skip all the way to 4.4.2 however, since google decided to break text reflow I'll pass until that is worked out as it is a must have feature for me — no, I'm not using Opera because google decided to be a douche nozzle, and no other browser worked on any 4.4 ROM for my device.

      Secondly, there isn't a decent/stable 4.3 ROM for my device. . . the only stable one crashes and has a ton of force closes.

      So, here I'll sit on 4.1.2

    • Lind

      Both my phones are still in Gingerbread and ICS. And they still working just fine.
      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    Honeycomb has been on 0.1% for MONTHS. When will it die already?

    • AbbyZFresh

      Third world countries and China are the problem.

      They're also a large reason why Windows XP still constitute over 30% of desktop usage after 13 years.

      • Gaurav Arora

        Most Chinese phones and tablets are not Google certified, and therefore, are not counted in Google's analysis.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          The measurement specifically comes from devices where the user actively opens the Play Store, either to shop or to update apps. A lot of non-certified devices may ship without the Play Store, but it's not exactly uncommon for people to install it after purchase. However, I haven't got any clue if that accounts for a few million devices, or a tiny, irrelevant sliver of the user base.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      There were a couple of honeycomb tablets from the lesser known OEMs that never sent out updates. Of course, if I were to guess, I bet it has less to do with those and more to do with people that were given tablets as gifts and never bothered to install those updates, or don't even know about them.

  • Crispin Swickard

    The 4.2 increase is probably the most interesting number. The more popular manufactures at least always seemed to mostly avoid 4.2 on device launches, and I don't recall ever seeing info on things getting updated to it. Perhaps its more from the "emerging markets" sector, or less popular manufacturers tossing out things with it. But at this point that's pretty absurd sounding being that version came out a year, and a half ago...

    • knizmi

      Those are MTK devices. MTK has not been able to provide drivers for anything newer than 4.2, so that's why this version is going to be growing for quite a while.

      • Crispin Swickard

        Ah so what I was thinking was pretty much the case. I know a lot of the knock offs, and things tend to use MTK especially in China. After a quick search, and finding this article below that would probably explain the number, and it will probably grow. Sad that they can't take advantage of 4.3, or 4.4 since they run much better on lower specs. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-android-smartphone-market-in-china-2014-3

  • joser116

    Die gingerbread die!

  • Marsg

    Lol the galaxy s3 is getting the KitKat update before the Verizon galaxy note 3. Would like to see them blame Google or Samsung this time like they did with the galaxy nexus, especially since their note 3 is the only one that hasn't received the update.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Still a very small niche though... If you look at older AP articles, I think that Froyo and Gingerbread gained their shares much faster than KK does..

    • ANex

      It was when Android first gained ground, everyone was rushing to buy new Android phones. Now, people who have those phones are reluctant to buy another unless their phones stopped working.

  • Stanley Chan

    I cant remenber how long JB taked to surpass ICS, but I think that will take a long time to KK do the same thing with JB. Maybe never till the next build, KK is been a completely mess ...

  • Sky

    i love going into stores and updating their apps and OS lol.. pet peeve of mine when someone has like a thousand app updates waiting to be updated and/or OS , and they are wondering why they are complaining so much..gah!

  • Sruly J

    If one were to look at it, Google seems to be getting serious about getting everyone on the same version.
    What with all we've been hearing about Android Silver and http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/02/10/rumor-google-to-begin-forcing-oems-to-certify-android-devices-with-a-recent-os-version-if-they-want-google-apps/ , they are most likely trying to get back to taking control of Android.
    And in my not so humble opinion, that's how it should have been from the start, although because it's an open platform, it's hard, especially bec of skinning and such.

  • Ojzor

    Im not leaving 4.3 until they fix the sd card bug.

  • Nathan J

    I'm wondering who's still on Froyo and why? And if there are people still on Froyo, enough to be significant, as ridiculous as it sounds, why isn't anyone on Eclair? Being on Eclair, though, is no more ridiculous than being on Froyo. Gingerbread... I can kinda see. Motorola put out a bunch of devices and then pulled out the promised ICS/JB updates out from under everyone, but on their face, the devices aren't bad. They're Motorolas, so they get great signal. They're dual core with 1GB of RAM, certainly capable smartphones. But nearing the end of their lifecycles.

    Something tells me getting KitKat on as many phones as possible isn't really Google's goal. Why not, then, port Android to every phone that is unlocked? At least if there's demand for it. Make it a Play Edition/Nexus device. For example the American Galaxy S3 has been running KitKat since December, but one carrier (Sprint) has just started offering the official update a few days ago. Six months after it was available to all of us who wanted it. If hobbyists can do it at home, why can't Google do it from the Googleplex in Mountain View?

    • Sruly J

      Here is how the update process works as laid out by HTC: http://www.htc.com/assets-desktop/images/softwareupdates/HTC-Anatomy-of-an-Android.jpg

      Custom roms skip a lot of the steps which is why there are nightly builds of, say, CM. Constantly fixing bugs. The official ota is generally worked on until they are satisfied enough with it, which unfortunately is not what consumers consider satisfactory.

      Like I said yesterday, with all the rumors of Android Silver and Google only willing to allow access to gapps for each Android version until a certain deadline, they seem to be trying to take control of updates.

      Unfortunately, becausE Android is open source, the majority of Android users have to put up with OEMs skinning Android.