Ice Cream Sandwich, aka Android 4.x, is the latest and most sophisticated version of the platform. It unifies the code for both smartphones and tablets, making it the version of Android for everything. According to the latest figures from the Android Developers blog, ICS is only running on 2.9 percent of all devices, months after its release.
The breakdown of Android versions in use paints a graphic image of the fragmentation that plagues the platform.
The figures show Gingerbread to be the dominant version of Android in use today, with over 60 percent of devices using it. The two tablet versions of Android, Honeycomb and ICS, together have only 6.2 percent of the installed base. Froyo, the version preceding Gingerbread, has almost four times the installed base as the tablet versions of Android.
The difficulties that Android app developers face with supporting so many versions of the OS is driven home when you look at how many devices still run versions prior to Froyo. A surprising seven percent of all Android devices are still running old versions of the platform. That goes all the way back to the original version 1.5 from the platform launch.
According to these figures there are no fewer than 11 active versions of Android in the installed user base. More importantly, that means 11 levels of API support that developers have to handle in their apps.
We have seen developers drop the Android platform due to this fragmentation, and the support costs it creates. The slow adoption of ICS shows that isn't improving any time soon, so we may see other developers drop the robot.
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