SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has announced the latest market shares of the various releases of its Android mobile operating system.
Despite only having a month of shelf life so far, Android 4.4 Kitkat has made an impressive start, grabbing 1.1 percent of the market, driven by the accompanying launch of the well received Nexus 5 handset.
But Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 Jelly Bean continue to dominate with 54.5 percent total market share across its three point versions, a majority that will please Google's desire to get the monkey of fragmentation of its back.
However, the spectre of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the release that refuses to lie down, continues to haunt with 24.1 percent market share. There are signs that this figure is slowly decreasing, but considering that it has been superseded repeatedly over the past three years, the relatively primitive functionality is still a worry for developers who are automatically losing nearly a quarter of users if they want to do something remotely fancy.
Add in the 1.6 percent still sporting Android 2.2 Froyo and the estimated one percent on even older releases, and that cohort crosses the 25 percent threshold. In other words, a quarter of a billion handsets can't run the latest apps.
Finishing the list, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich remains on a surprisingly high 18.6 percent of devices, whilst ginger stepchild Android 3.0 Honeycomb looks to be on the verge of extinction with just 0.1 percent market share following the upgrade of Google TV to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
It's always easy to blame Google for Android fragmentation, but the distribution system for updates relies not only on Google, but also smartphone manufacturers' willingness to upgrade Android releases on devices rather than sell new ones, and also mobile operators that often don't pass on manufacturer updates.
We've seen devices fail to be upgraded from Android 2.3 Gingerbread within the first year of their lives because mobile operators didn't consider Android upgrades cost effective. µ
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