SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google is celebrating today after the Android Jelly Bean releases of its mobile operating system reached more than 50 percent penetration.
Android 4.1 through 4.3 represented 52.1 percent of users registered with the Google Play store during the last week of October. Its predecessor Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich dropped below 20 percent representation for the first time at 19.7 percent.
However, the thorn in Android's side remains Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which, despite being three and a half years old, still accounts for a substantial 26.3 percent of the market, remaining the second most popular variant.
Android 2.2 Froyo still appears on 1.7 percent of devices, with earlier versions on "less than [one percent]", though accurate measurement of these early versions is no longer possible. Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the ginger stepchild of the mobile OS, has declined to a 0.1 percent fraction of the market, and is set to decline even further as the sickly Google TV finally gets upgraded to Jelly Bean.
This is the last set of statistics prior to the release of Android 4.4 Kitkat, and therefore we are likely to see the fragmentation issue get worse again before it gets better. However, the low memory footprint of Android 4.4 Kitkat is likely to lead to modders from XDA Developers and similar efforts bringing devices perennially stuck on Android 2.2 Froyo and Android 2.3 Gingerbread bang up to date, so we could actually see an adoption rate far higher once figures settle in a few months.
One of Google's hopes for Android 4.4 Kitkat has been to try to bring as many devices into line as possible, to allow developers to focus on compatibility for fewer Android versions. However, while Android 4.4 Kitkat will do wonders for that, it won't bring any sense of order to the many screen sizes and shapes in the Android ecosystem. µ