Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' reaches 1.8 percent market share

Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' reaches 1.8 percent market share

Summary: While the aging Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system continues to be the most popular version, Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" finally has the 2 percent market share milestone in its sights.


With Google now seeing some 1.3 million new Android device activations every day, there's no shortage of hardware out there running the mobile operating system, but it seems that the bulk of these devices are running older versions of the operating system.

Data based on devices accessing the Google Play store over a 14-day period up to October 1 shows that Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" is installed on 1.8 percent of devices accessing the application store.

The problems facing Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" are two-fold. First, "Jelly Bean" has so far only been made available on a limited number of devices, such as the Nexus 7 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphone -- neither of which seem to be mass-market devices. Most of the major OEMs are still pushing out hardware running older versions. Even new smartphones such as Motorola's DROID RAZR M still ship with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".

To make matters worse, hardware OEMs and carriers have been dragging their heels when it comes to making "Jelly Bean" available as an update for existing hardware. Both would rather consumers just bought a new smartphone or tablet than give them a new operating system for their old hardware for nothing. There's just no incentive for any of the players -- even Google -- to push updates to older hardware.

The slow adoption of new versions of Android affects everyone in the ecosystem. It forces developers to support an ever-increasing array of aging versions, while at the same time preventing them from making full use of new features. For consumers, it means that they are denied new features and not getting security updates that help keep their handsets and tablets safe from hackers and malware. 

As the chart above shows, Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" is the fastest-growing platform, now running almost a quarter of the hardware accessing Google Play. 

By far the most popular version of Android continues to be the now aged Android 2.3 "Gingerbread". This is Google's mobile version of Windows XP, an old version of a platform that both hardware makers and consumers are clinging onto for dear life. It was the platform that was around when Android went mainstream, and as such there are a lot of devices out there running it. You can still find handsets for sale that still "Gingerbread," even though the platform hasn't seen an update since September 2011.

Image source: Google Developer Dashboard.

Topics: Android, Google, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • Windows 2000

    LOL, I'm on Froyo, which must be like pre-XP windows.

    The only thing stopping me is probably the keyboard not very usable for me on the newer droids. Also I don't like bloatware that cannot be uninstalled without hacking up the phone.
    I hate hacking a phone by some third-party half-azzed distributions. So Android is more like Linux.
  • I Remember Criticisms Of The "Slow" Rollout Of Ice Cream Sandwich

    ICS took 6 months to reach "only" 10% of the installed base. But that 10% was bigger than 100% of the Windows Phone installed base. And I see it's now up to 25%, so it's already the second-most popular version of Android.
  • No incentive?

    "There's just no incentive for any of the players -- even Google -- to push updates to older hardware."

    Really, then why does Apple bother? Just so they can get criticism for new features like Siri not being available on older iPhones?

    There's certainly incentive, it's called "customer loyalty". They're all envious of Apple in that regard, but none are willing to do what it takes to achieve it. They'd rather just forget about you for about 20 months the moment you walk out the door with your shiny new phone and then try to win you back when you're upgrade eligible again by dangling another shiny new phone in your face.

    While Apple isn't perfect, when you buy the latest iPhone or iPad, you can pretty much be assured that you'll get at least one OS upgrade (and most likely more) before your contract's up, and you won't be a hostage to the cycle of broken promises and delays to which many of the Android OEMs seem to subscribe (if they even address it at all).
  • Popular?

    Why do people call something thats most used as "popular?"

    In some areas of the world it must be popular to not have enough food to eat and be malnourished too...

    I'd say using the word popular fits if the users actually had a choice or a say in using it... they use it because thats what they have.
    • +1

      Absolutely! The ONLY reason GB is so "popular" is because Google, the phone manufacturers, and the cell companies can't get their collective act together to get ICS rolled out to the owners of phones who were PROMISED ICS a long time ago.

      I have a VZW Motorola Droid Bionic, and the circus surrounding THAT phone's getting ICS...FOR THE PAST not amusing. And we are STILL waiting.

      If I didn't need the e-mail capabilities of a smartphone for my work, I would go back to my "stupidphone" immediately.
  • what devices are counted?

    When someone switch to a new phone, if they keep their old phone but just to use it as a wifi device, is it still counted?
    • yes

      if it accesses Google Play, it is counted. doesn't matter if it has a cellular connection or just wifi.
  • A whole 2 percent

    Many of us are still waiting to see ICS on our devices. But ICS is a year old. It's not exciting nor is it competitive. Jellybean with project butter is the new standard, but how many of us will ever see it on our existing phones?

    While the hardware OEMs might think it's a good idea to delay rolling out new android versions in order to push people to buy a new handset, it will backfire on them in the long run. If people see that company X does not support the new android updates, then people will likely steer away from that company in the future. It becomes part of the spec, a bit like length of warranty and customer support. Brand reputation and trust is a very hard thing to rebuild.
  • Sure there are incentives

    The incentives for product updates are the same as any other kind of support: brand loyalty. Consumers want to run the new OS... though in truth, the importance is a bit overblown, since typical Android applications interrogate the OS level anyway, and so maintain compatibility with recent releases (some new apps even support back to 1.6).

    Google understands this -- this is why they ported ICS all the way back to the Galaxy S. It's true that handhelds are evolving fast, and many produced only a few years ago may not run the new OS that well. But the problem on the phones is a combination of carriers imposing their own control (despite my Galaxy Nexus being a Google device, I only got the Jellybean update through Verizon last week), and many of these companies not thinking in "application processor" terms... they're CE companies, and used to shoving a product out the door and being done with it.

    A case when that's not true -- the Jellybean update for my Asus Transformer Infinity tablet appeared yesterday. It's likely, though not guaranteed, that a computer company, such as Asus or Apple for that matter, would have different ideas about device support in the longer term.

    Apple's not perfect in this, either, and we may be seeing the limits of their support strategy. They did not support the original 2010 iPad in their iOS 5 update. They did, however, support the much lower powered iPhone 3GS and the similarly powered iPhone 4. Why? Well, the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 had been selling as new on the cellular carriers, while the iPad 1 was sold alongside the iPad 2, but phased out in 2011 or early 2012. Given that, though, it's still the case that people who bough the iPad 1 new within the last year aren't getting the update. It's pretty likely that the iPhone 3GS and perhaps iPad 2 won' t be seeing the iOS 7 update, either.
  • Technology still moving too fast

    OEMs and carriers have little incentive to spend money on SW upgrades after a sale.

    If you are the type of consumer who wants the latest and greatest HW, upgrades do not matter much to you.

    If you keep HW for the duration of the contract, the OEM and the carrier already have your money. Why would they spend more? When it's time to renew, you will buy the shiny toy that excites you the most.

    The OEMs and carriers figured out the fickle consumer a long time ago. If you want the OEMs and carriers to chance, you the consumer has to change first, which is a highly unlikely occurrence.

    Next time you are wondering why the OEMs and the carriers do what they do, take a look in the mirror.

    Oh, and as far a Apple and their customers go, Apple already has the customers in chains. They will do just enough to keep them, which includes upgrades for a short while.
  • iOS6

    What is iOS6 marketshare? Already over 18%? It most really suck to be dependent on all 3 of Google, OEM and mobile carrier all doing the correct thing for you to get update.
  • Jelly Bean

    Ice Cream Sandwich had some issues on my Galaxy Nexus, but Jelly Bean fixed everything!!
  • I would love to have JB on my HTC Vision

    I have tried both JB and ICS CyanogenMod-based custom ROMs on my HTC Vision for some time yet due to lack of working drivers for video I have had to stick with GB.

    Although I miss the 4.0+ experience (no Apollo music app or Trebushet home launcher), CM7 GB still gives me decent apps ported from ICS such as Camera and Gallery which do most things I require on a day to day basis.

    The Nexus 7 is cheap enough to be classed as a mass product, being only £180 for the 16GB with the most up to date OS.