Android updates are painfully slow, almost glacial, in making their way to user's devices. However, it seems that the latest Android 4.1 release, codenamed 'Jelly Bean,' is seeing quite rapid, albeit overall modest, adoption rates.
According to data collected by Google, based on devices accessing the Google Play store within a 14-day period up to August 1, the new Android version is already installed on 0.8 percent of devices.
Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' was officially unveiled at Google's I/O conference on June 27th, and was released as an over-the-air (OTA) update for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on July 11, and was preinstalled on the Nexus 7 tablet which has been making its way to enthusiastic consumers since mid-July.
While Google doesn't break down the data based on devices, it is likely that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the Nexus 7 tablet make up the bulk of these devices running 'Jelly Bean.'
Comparing this latest data to that collected in the 14 days up to June 1st we find that apart from 'Jelly Bean,' only Android 3.2 'Honeycomb' and Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' have gained ground, up 0.2 and 9.1 percentage points respectively.
The most popular Android version continues to be Android 2.3 'Gingerbread' with a 60.3 percent market share on Google's app store. This version was first released December 2010 and last updated September 2011.
If you currently own an Android smartphone or tablet, then history shows that you're unlikely to see this latest update delivered to your device. Many of the major players appear to have little to no interest in delivering the update to their users.
Google is primarily interested in new handset activation and increased market share above all else, not in creating a unified ecosystem. The handset makers have sold you a phone and hope to never hear from you again until it's time to buy again. And, not to mention, the carriers already have you hooked up to a multi-year contract and don't care a jot about what operating system your smartphone or tablet runs.
The problem is that while Android updates have to go from Google to the phone manufacturers, then to the carriers before being sent to devices, iOS updates go from Apple directly to devices. Aftermarket firmware projects such as CyanogenMod work to bypass this lengthy and laborious chain and deliver updates for hardware direct.
This lack of Android updates not only denies users access to new features, but is also means that security vulnerabilities are not patched, leaving both devices and the data they contain open to hackers.
Image source: Google Developer Dashboard.