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Android 4.x nears 40 percent share in new Google numbers

updated 07:06 pm EST, Thu January 3, 2013

Android 4.0 now on over one in three Android devices

Google today released the latest figures for install bases of its various Android versions, revealing that devices running Android 4.0 and higher now account for almost 40 percent of all Android devices. The new figures represent a considerable jump for Android 4.x in terms of overall share, as 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and 4.1/4.2 (Jelly Bean) gained 5.1 percentage points over the last month. Much of the gain appears to have come from newer devices, with version 4.1 accounting for 3.1 of those percentage points, while version 4.2 added another 0.4 points.

Android version 2.3 Gingerbread remains the most widely-installed iteration, with 46.6 percent of the roughly 500 million Android devices running version 2.3 through 2.3.7. That figure, though, is down from 50.8 percent just a month ago. These latest numbers mark the first time in years that Gingerbread has accounted for less than 50 percent of the total Android install base. At the same time, just over 60 percent of Android devices are still running a version older than 4.0, largely due to either carrier tardiness with upgrade or planned obsolescence.

Still, the newest numbers, derived from data collected during a 14-day period ending on January 3, 2013, indicate a continuing positive trend in both sales of newer Android devices and OS upgrades for older devices. Having nearly four out of ten Android devices running close to the newest OS may help Google tamp down its persistent fragmentation problem, which has made many developers reluctant to build quality apps for the platform.

by MacNN Staff



  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-10-01

    This still isn't good news for Android. The 40% share simply reflects that newer phones are finally using 4.x. Consumers are still not updating their older devices to the new OS because they can't most of the time.

    The actual problem isn't people running 4.x or 3.x, but the ability of the user to install security patches. It doesn't matter if I get 2.2 4.2 on my phone. If I can't upgrade to 2.2.1 or 4.2.1 to fix that newly discovered security hole, I'm sunk.

    My son got an Android phone in November 2011. He got Android because he lives in the Google service cloud and thought Android would be a better match. The phone was a dude. It had a buggy version of 2.2 on it, but he was unable to upgrade the OS. Of course, he also couldn't upgrade to a new phone until next November. A few days ago, he bought an old iPhone 4 on eBay for about $150. I asked him why he didn't buy an Android phone.

    He said you can't buy an old Android phone. Older phones are simply not supported. However, the iPhone 4, even though it's two years old, still is supported by Apple. He has iOS6 running on it. It doesn't have Siri or Airplay, but he has the latest OS available. Heck, even my original iPad that's unable to upgrade to the latest version of iOS still gets OS patches.

    Google is just going to have to solve the phone update problem.

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