Android 'Jelly Bean' usage share more than doubles in a month

Android 'Jelly Bean' usage share more than doubles in a month

Summary: While the aging Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system continues to be the most popular version, Android 4.1 and 4.2 "Jelly Bean" has received a massive jump in usage share over the past month.


Over the past month Google has seen a massive increase in traffic to its Google Play app store from devices running the latest Android 4.1 and 4.2 "Jelly Bean" mobile operating system.

The data, collected during the 14-day period ending on December 3, 2012, shows that "Jelly Bean" usage share has more than doubled compared to the same period last month, rising from 2.7 percent to 6.7 percent.

Traffic from devices running Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" has also increased by 1.7 percentage points.

This is the largest shift in usage share seen in a long time, and suggests that adoption -- either driven through the sale of new devices, or because of existing devices being upgraded to the new operating system -- is accelerating.


One of the problems plaguing Android has been getting the latest version of the operating system installed onto older hardware.

See alsoBest Android-powered smartphones (November 2012 edition)

Most of the major OEMs are still pushing out hardware running older versions of the platform. Even new smartphones such as Motorola's DROID RAZR MAXX HD still ship with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".

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. 

The most popular version of Android continues to be Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," a version that hasn't seen an update since September 2011.

While Google has taken over four-and-a-half months to break 6 percent, data published by research firm Chitika Insights showed that Apple saw over 60 percent of iPhones and iPads upgraded to iOS 6.0 in under four weeks.

Image source: Google Developer Dashboard.

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • Contracts...

    It's no surprise Gingerbread is at the top of the heap. After all, in many ways it was Google's first truly polished, full featured smartphone OS.

    That said, I'd expect to see a precipitous decline in Gingerbread before too long. The nature of the cell phone business is inextricably tied to the subsidized phone and the two-year contract cycle. And a new phone generally means a newer OS. As a result, its is unlikely that any given phone OS will have anything like the actual shelf life of a Windows XP.
    • You've nailed one of the biggest problems I have with Android

      "I'd expect to see a precipitous decline in Gingerbread before too long. The nature of the cell phone business is inextricably tied to the subsidized phone and the two-year contract cycle."

      The fact is that the vast majority of Android handset users are stuck with the OS version that shipped with their device. While the more technical-savy have been able to update their phones, the average consumer isn't going to root their device, so they'll never get more functionality than they day they bought their device. That's bad for consumers and developers, but very convenient for carriers. Funny how that works, huh?
      • OS upgrades overrated

        OS upgrades are overrated anyway. It's the app ecosystem that determines how useful the phone is, not the UI.

        I'm still running an Android 2.2 based HTC Evo 4G. My problem with this phone isn't the OS. There's a Gingerbread update that I could apply if I wanted to, but that would involve flashing a new ROM on my rooted device and honestly, I can't really be bothered because 2.2 runs everything I've thrown at it.

        My problem with this phone is limited internal storage and a slowish single core processor. And those are two shortcomings that an OS update simply wouldn't fix.

        My contract's up in a few months, and I'm looking at an embarrasment of riches, salivating as I think of my next device. Do I go with a two year contract with T-mobile and a Samsung Galaxy SIII (removable battery, 16Gb internal memory and microSD card slot for adding loads of cheap additional storage)? Do I go with the Samsung galxy Note II and it's massive 5.5" screen and travel around with a mini tablet everywhere I go? Do I dispense with the two year contract altogether and buy a $99.00 HTC Evo V 4G and enjoy unlimited 4G WiMax data on Virgin Mobile's/Sprint network?

        Yeah, the iPhone is an amazing device, but there are tons of thinsg I love about Android.
        • the average consumer doesn't care about OS updates

          the average consumer doesn't care about OS updates and the Android enthusiast/geek who does, has Jelly Bean.

          geek buy Nexus

          Henrique Dourado
      • So what?

        Rather than throwing it out there, hoping that some FUD sticks in reader's minds, can you point to any specific issues with that model? If a user is happy with their phone, it doesn't matter, if they're not, like you said, they can find out how to upgrade.
  • This is going to happen

    You're going to see this stuff happening because a lot of the older phones are coming off contract and as people upgrade they will get more and more Jellybean.

    On top of that, the Nexus 7 and 10 are currently at the top or tied for the top of the market in terms of performance and value.

    Bottom line, it is an Android World! Apple and MS just don't know it yet.

    Oh and Google Fiber has some options that give away a Nexus 7 with each plan.
    • Google Fiber

      You mentioned Google Fiber. As far as I can tell, it is only available in the "Twin Cities", of Kansas City, KS and MO. It's good to see that more options for media, communication and internet providers are becoming available. However, saying that a Nexus 7 came free with your plan is not useful to those outside that market. I do appreciate learning of Google's new ventures, thanks.
  • Android Jelly Bean!!!

    I have a Nexus 10 with Jelly Bean, and it is continually getting updated to the latest version. One good thing about the Nexus 10 is that whenever the Android O/S gets updated, my product will too. I like the fact that the Windows computers that I have get the latest versions direct from Microsoft. I can't imagine having fragmented version of W7 running around like you currently have with Android. ALL Manufacturers using Android in the future should make their machines so that the latest Android release will bring all of their products up to date. This is likely the reason that Google has released Nexus 4, 7 and 10 to show customers how convenient it is to have all their devices updated to the last release. By buying Nexus 10, I am skirting the issue of obsolescence when a manufacturer doesn't provide the latest versions of an O/Ss. My Nexus 10 32G for $499 is a bargain since It works so good and looks so great. The screen resolution is to die for. I have Windows 7 computers, but didn't want to have such a complicated operating systems with my Tablet.
  • This is how the chart will look for years

    The percentages might change slightly, but the only major change will be that Ice Cream Sandwich will displace Gingerbread and the latest version of Android will hover around 5% adoption rate.

    The problem with Android is that it isn't in the best financial interest of OEMs to update their older devices. Until that problem is resolved any android device will be lucky to see 1 upgrade between major releases.
  • Oh, Wow

    Except for a couple of Nexus's, if you don't get it from XDA, forget it.
  • Less people care than we think

    If it wasn't for me, my sister would have never updated her android phone, even though it continued to prompt her in the notifications. My niece would have never updated her iPhone 4 to iOS 6 and my Mom wouldn't have done the same with her iPad. I updated them... The Geek in the Family.

    The only people who bring up Android fragmentation are Apple fanboys, and we all know the motivation for that.

    Lets face it, the average consumer doesn't care about OS updates and the Android enthusiast/geek who does, has Jelly Bean. My two year old Samsung Epic 4G has it.

    So is Fragmentation REALLY a problem? Sorry, I just don't see it. People who were satisfied with their phones when they bought them, are still satisfied, or they would have replaced them by now.

    My sister has been eligible for an upgrade for months. She says she's happy with her Epic 4g... and so am I.
    • I disagree

      I own/use an Asus Transformer and a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I think fragmentation is a problem. The transformer will never see 4.1, because Asus has already replaced the transformer tablet twice. The S3 may see 4.1, but doubtful beyond that.

      OEMs use lack of updates to older phones as some backhanded way to encourage users to upgrade to new phones with the shiny new version of Android running on them. That is the reality of it.

      I agree that to some extent people don't really care about updates, but Google will keep putting out new versions of Android that users will never see on their former top of the line devices and that will eventually turn into backlash. Especially if they watch other phones getting regular updates (Nexus lines, iOS, etc).

      I've actually sold android devices to average consumers and they most certainly do want whatever is the latest version of android, even if they don't know what it does or I told them it was a buggy mess. They still wanted it.
    • Except there are these things called numbers...

      and those numbers tell us a vastly higher percentage of iDevice users ~ARE~ using iOS 6 if their device is capable of running it.

      Beyond the whiz bang new features there are other reasons to update you device. Think security.

      I appreciate your anecdote. It just doesn't come close to the whole truth...
      • So what security problems does Gingerbread have?

        I've never heard if any individual getting malware from OS problems with 2.3.
        If I need to update for security reasons, be specific as to why.millions of Gingerbread users are waiting to hear.
  • Jelly bean Developers

    It is also frustrating for some of us Tablet users when some companies are REAL SLOW about updating their OS (if ever). Toshiba just pushed out ICS this fall, for some of its tablets, just as jelly bean was released. At this rate we MIGHT see Jelly bean for tablets like the THRIVE just before Android pushes out the next version. Users aren't sure what the hold up is, and the companies are very user friendly in letting them know what is in the works.
    I guess if they told that they can't and will not be updating certain tablets..NO one is going to buy them and there current user base will just dump them as a product..and just slit their Google wrist and go over to Apple.
  • Popular?!? Nope...

    "While the aging Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system continues to be the most popular version..."

    "Most popular", or the version many users are still stuck using? Just spin and spin to avoid the horrid truth...

    I'm glad people are able to finally enjoy the latest version of Android, but it was horrible for the user for Google to hand all of the power to the carriers. They have no - reason - whatsoever to crush their data networks pushing updates out to "old" devices. Anyone who didn't see this coming chose to be blind...
  • Gingerbread popular ? - no way

    Jelly Bean usage will increase if and when phone and tablet manufacturers like Samsung upgrade their OS.

    My Nexus 7 has been unpgraded by Google three times since purchase a short time ago whilst my Samsung SII and my wifes Samsung Tablet 8.9 languish on Gingerbread.

    As soon as Nexus 4 becomes available my SII goes out the door and unless Samsung pulls their finger out so will the Tablet 8.9 never to be replaced by a Samsung product again. And that goes for our Samsung television.

  • Smooter the IOS for the first time

    Jellybean is what it promised. Like butter as they where shooting for and achieved. Without any doubt it is faster smoother, and runs on my SIII like IOS runs on iPhone.
    This what Android need so badly. The experience is what make Apple so wonderful for Apple folks and Android always needs to think and react in those terms. Now is not the time to mess up. Like Apple Android needs to keep sending the updates and demand to all carriers and hardware manufactures to not impede updates but to get them out and loaded ASAP (like Apple).
  • Apple updates aren't the resposibility of the carriers

    So your comparison doesn't apply.
    And manufacturers have to actually implement the OS changes as they have "custom" front ends.