The latest versions of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 4.1 and 4.2 (Jelly Bean) are running on more than 10 percent of Android devices, chipping away at the Gingerbread version’s dominant share, according to Google.
Android 4.1 is running on 9 percent of devices running the OS, while 1.2 percent of them are operating on Android 4.2, as shown by data collected by Google from its Google Play store for a two-week period ending January 3.
That 10.2 percent share compares to the previous period when Jelly Bean’s adoption was 6.7 percent, according to ElectronicsWeekly. The bump up is likely due to new owners accessing Google Play after receiving their Android device as a holiday gift.
Google also reports that the version of Android running on most devices remains Gingerbread, although its share continues to decline. Although Gingerbread was introduced two years ago, it remains the most used version of Android.
A substantial number (29.1 percent) of devices are also operating with Android 4.0.3 through 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). That’s a slight increase (1.6 percent) over the prior period, when it was 27.5 percent.
Seven shades of Android
Android 4.1 was introduced in July 2012 and 4.2 arrived in November, along with a new lineup of Nexus devices. Nexus is Google’s Android brand, although devices bearing the name are produced by a variety of hardware makers.
As Google’s share data shows, seven versions of Android are running on devices in the market, although the first version of the OS, Donut, is close to extinction (0.2 percent) and adoption of a new version of the operating system can be very slow.
That contrasts starkly with Apple’s iOS operating system. For example, within a month of its introduction in October 2012, iOS 6 was on 60 percent of the iPhones in users’ hands.
Of course, Apple doesn’t have to deal with the myriad of device makers that an open system like Android has to juggle.
However, that could change in the coming months, as more hardware makers start to use the Platform Development Kit (PDK) Google introduced for them last year. Consumers, though, aren’t likely to see any speed up in the adoption process from the PDK until Android 5.0 or later.
John Mello writes on technology and cyber security for a number of online publications and is former managing editor of the Boston Business Journal and Boston Phoenix. Disclosure: He also writes for Hewlett-Packad's marketing website TechBeacon.