'Ice Cream Sandwich' powers 1.6 percent of Android devices

'Ice Cream Sandwich' powers 1.6 percent of Android devices

Summary: Android is horribly fragmented, with most devices stuck several versions behind the latest release.


Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' was publicly released on 19 October 2011. But nearly five months down the line, this operating system powers only 1.6 percent of Android devices, according to data collected by Google.

The data only covers up to March 5, so it doesn't cover the entire five-month period of the release yet. This figure is up from 0.6 percent back in January.

The data also shows how fragmented Android is, and how far in the past some of the users are stuck. 62 percent of Android devices are running Android 2.3--2.3.7 'Gingerbread' that released in December 2010, while another 25 percent are running Android 2.2 'Froyo' which was released in May 2010.

Android 2.1 'Eclair,' released October 2009, still powers 6.6 percent of devices, which is more than run Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' and Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' combined.

The historical data chart shows just how bad Google's problem with fragmentation has become.

Google may be seeing 850,000 new Android device activations per day but it seems that these are primarily devices running older releases of the Android platform. It's also likely that adoption of Android 4.0 is being slowed because handset makers and carriers are painfully slow getting the update out to customers with handsets that can run it.

Image credit: Google.


Topics: Android, Google, Operating Systems, Software

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  • do we have those stats for iOS?

    It's hard to see how bad it is without comparing to iOS. what's the % of iOS devices still using 3.0/4.0/5.0/5.01 Are those stats available somewhere?
    • Yes, those stats are available, if you know how to use a search engine.

      Here's a report from before the release of iOS5: http://www.cocoanetics.com/2011/08/ios-versions-in-the-wild/

      from after iOS5 release: http://www.marco.org/2011/11/30/more-ios-device-and-os-version-stats-from-instapaper
      • hmm

        So you still have to write for iOS 4 to get the majority... Or at least you did 2 months after iOS 5 launched...

        My family and friends never know the updates are there unless I tell them so that is an issue with iOS as well.

        Another funny thing, my wife bought a USD iPad 2 for $300 after the new version was announced. The iPad was still running the OS it shipped with a year ago and only updated to 5.1 when I set it up for her using her iTunes.

        Basically, it looks like many of the Android Devices will be getting the updates around the same time frame that it takes Apple to get to 90%.
      • Yes, it did take all of two months.

        for iOS5 to reach 45% share.
      • How about 75% now...


        iOS5 has about a 75% adoption rate. Look at the curve! Android OEM support SUCKS! I have an Android phone, 2 Android tablets, and the reality is that the OEM are dropping the ball in a massive way...

        Whereas my iPad's and iPhones are all upgraded... Sorta says it all IMO...
  • Kindle

    Does this include Kindles? They run a customized version of Gingerbread, so until Amazon updates them, there'll be a heavy base of Gingerbread that Google pretty much can't make to go away. The larger/more powerful that group becomes, the more it'll force the Android platform (what people code for) to be stuck in 2010, OS-wise.
  • 'Ice Cream Sandwich' powers 1.6 percent of Android devices

    I bet development on android is a real pain and non-profitable. You either have to support every version of android, all 11 of them, which is expensive in maintenance costs or you select just one version which limits your revenue. Google never really thinks things through when they come out with a new product, the highly fragmented android is a great example of this.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Math / graph reading not your strong suites...

      Um, looks like ~91% devices can be supported based on using 3 API levels (7,8,10)...Much smaller number of branches than your distorted 11.

      Honeycomb was essentially a development branch. There will be convergence in installed base as more and more ICS devices are sold as contracts expire.
      • Convergence

        Just that what you want them to converge on is not part of those 93.4% (might as well call it 93.9% and count it as 4 of them). I think the problem is less fragmentation than that 93.9% are stuck on Android 2.X. Getting them to 4.X and beyond is likely to be the challenge, or even more so, getting developers to create apps for 4.X when 90%+ are on 2.X
      • Honeycomb

        Every Honeycomb Tablet has announced the device is getting ICS in the near future so I don't have an issue with that.
      • RIGHT all honey comb tablets will get ICS...

        Yeah RIGHT honey comb tablets with ICS... How about Acer Iconia 500? Oops... sorry not going to happen, or will happen some time in the future. Acer is downright horrible with the upgrades. I know I went through it and hatted it...
  • Bah

    I remember when this same thig was being said about the percentage of Android users running Froyo vs. Gingerbread. Six months from now 50% of all new Android handsets will be running ICS. A year from now it will be 80 to 90%. And two years from that date, because of 2-year standard carrier contracts, there will be almost no pre-ICS phones in the wild.
    • And yet...

      new devices are announced all the time, and many come with 2.3.X, released in 2010.

      At this rate ICS will be showing up regularly in 2014, which, by then, will have been superseded by at least 1, possibly 2 new versions.
      • Wow, that is dishonest...

        @msalzberg There was no new phone OS until late 2011 and all the phones released in the last year have announced the update to ICS in Q2... Way to try to skew the numbers though in typical fashion.

        Shouldn't you be practicing Apple apologetics for the New iPad or something?
      • Wow, are you uninformed...

        @Peter Perry


        Coming 3/26. Android version 2.3.5.

        There's only one Android phone on Verizon with v4.0.

        As we've seen, announced updates don't actually mean much.

        EDIT: Hey, here's a new phone coming to T Mobile: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225389/Galaxy_S_Blaze_goes_on_sale_exclusively_with_T_Mobile

        and it runs...Android 2.3.
      • 2.3 Is Only One Version Behind Latest Release

        On phones Android 2.3.x is only one version behind the latest release. When Android is released, it's released to the manufacturers/carriers, not to the general public as an installation pack (though the source may be available to them). Because of the way this works, you don't generally see devices for a bit after the initial releases. There is no retail release date as with a computer operating system. There's only the earlier release date, like when hardware manufacturers get a preview release of Windows.

        There are plenty of things I don't like about locked down devices and lack of a generic version of the operating system that you can install on any device. That doesn't mean that it makes sense to pretend that new phones are two years and two releases behind, when in actuality they are one release back while the manufacturers have not quite finished preparing their drivers for the new release.
    • That is the truth right there...

      The saturation of these updates and new devices takes 6 to 8 months to become the majority and that number is actually improving.
  • More FUD

    Android is the only Phone OS to be released without hardware, so your 5 months deal means nothing.
    • WP7

      Windows Phone 7 is also released without hardware. ;-)

      As an Android user, the 5 months does mean something. The handset manufacturers are really dragging their heals - even with new phones, which are being released with Gingerbread and a loose promise of an ICS upgrade someday.

      htc announced the Sensation would get an update to ICS in February, it is now the middle of March and I'm still waiting - and mine is unbranded, so it isn't waiting for the carriers to get their arses in gear either.

      The lack of commitment by handset manufacturers and carriers is a big problem - not just on the big updates like ICS, but they are also slow to address security vulnerabilities as well, if they bother to address them at all.
      • WP 7.5 Sure Wasn't, and WP7 was a new OS

        You can't compare the Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7 transition to Android prior to ICS to ICS. The latter is an upgrade, while the former was a completely new OS. As for the transition from 7 to 7.5, while some carriers drug their feet, WP7 devices were upgradable to 7.5, and therefore you didn't have this issue at all. So your quote that Windows Phone 7 was released without hardware sounds somewhere between ambiguous and outright false to me.