Up until a few weeks ago Android Gingerbread, which was released back in 2010, continued to lead the way, featuring on 45% of Android mobiles and tablet devices.
According to data recently shared by Google on its developer site, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean combined now account for 45.1% of active Android devices, with Gingerbread users falling to 44.2%.
Okay, so it’s not a significant amount, but it’s the first major step for Google as it looks to bringing Android users together to reduce the level of fragmentation across the platform.
Google’s Android operating system is perhaps the most malleable smartphone platform in the world. Its open-source nature means various iterations of the software can be adapted across many different devices.
Its adaptable, customizable nature has been one of the key elements to Google’s success, but one of the main drawbacks is, unlike Apple, Google has no control over the devices manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC and Sony build. The level of hardware will determine which software is needed to run it, but this is problematic because the roll out of new software is often sporadically adapted over long periods of time.
The release of Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2012 marked a turning point for Android, giving users a level of design and functionality that had been absent in Google’s previous operating systems. The software came with onscreen navigational keys and a mobile version of Google’s Chrome browser. Android Jelly Bean was next on the agenda to refine the software, making it even faster and easier to use.
With Key Lime Pie (5.0) rumored to be unveiled during Google’s I/O developer conference this summer, the company is bound to try and wean users off Gingerbread completely to avoid any further fragmentation.
Since the figures were unveiled hardware makers have now confirmed that they will abandon Android Gingerbread to focus on optimizing the more recent versions of the software. Apps will also no longer be made to work on handsets running older versions of Android as Google attempts to bring users together.
What will this mean?
There is no denying that closing the gap between its various platforms will be a big task for Google but these latest figures show the company is finally starting to move in the right direction.
The uptake of Jelly Bean has also been positive thanks to premium handsets including the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One, and at present 16.5% of Android users own a Jelly Bean laden device. Following the recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 this figure only looks set to rise, to further dwarf the proportion of users on older versions of Android.
There is still a long way to go before any one version of Android 4.0 and above surpasses Android Gingerbread completely, although it remains to be seen whether Jelly Bean will completely steal the limelight before the next iteration of Google’s software lands later this year.
About the Author:
Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, the home of all the latest mobile phone deals.