Ice Cream Sandwich now on whopping 2.9% of Android devices

Ice Cream Sandwich now on whopping 2.9% of Android devices

Summary: The severe fragmentation of Android is graphically demonstrated in the latest numbers showing OS versions in the installed user base.

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TOPICS: Android, Google
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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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Topics: Android, Google

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30 comments
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  • Suggest you copy-and-paste

    I think you can save everyone some time here and just copy comments from any previous Android fragmentation story! ;)
    bmgoodman
    • Very disappointing for Android

      Shame Shame Shame. 7 months after launch its at 2.9%. Really we should be comparing ICS to Iphone 6.0 because by the time ICS is actually mainstream iOS 6 will probably be as mainstream as well. Whether its Google or the Carrier or the OEM's fault at the end of the day this is poor execution that impacts the end user and makes iOS look really good because at least its a tangible benefit to the Apple user. I just upgraded my Nexus One to a Galaxy Note but I think they all got to get their shit together as not everyone is as compelled to use Android as I am.
      topgun22
      • Go back

        And take a look at how long it took Gingerbread to become adopted. It's common for the newest OS to take an extended period of time to reach the latest handsets. And each manufacturer has a different time table for implementing. The author of the article is talking about this subject like its totally unexpected. Just the opposite, everyone who has any kind of knowledge of Android knows that the latest OS always take a bit of time to reach the handsets, short of flashing custom roms.
        Nubsors
  • So we're not really fragmented then

    We're just all simultaneously way behind on our updates.
    Aerowind
    • I guess it depends...Are all currently selling systems

      selling with ICS installed? If not why not? Are all currently selling phones capable or running ICS? Can previously sold models even be upgraded to ICS? If not what are the percentages and again why not? Android is not that old after all. Is this a hardware thing or a combination of hardware and OS? If I am a developer do I develop for the newish ICS that has what 2.3% market share in the hopes it will over time grow or do I develop for a different OS like Gingerbread and hope it does not shrink? If part of this is hardware specs how do I take the various hardware specs and create a killer product that I hope it will sell in massive volumes if I don't know which target to aim my resources at?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • So how many Android phone will never get an update?

      I'm thinking off all those phones sold via private label wireless companies in grocery stores and such. They are being sold with v2.2.x and v2.3.x (it's on the label) and will likely never get an update.
      raleighthings
      • That's the price you pay

        For purchasing a cheap phone out of a grocery store.
        Nubsors
  • The most ironic...

    Is that Jelly Bean is scheduled for a Q3 2012 release according to what was published.

    Nothing to ease the pain.
    TheCyberKnight
  • There's the problem

    7 major versions in four years, with typical contracts lasting two.
    What will the people getting new phones at the end of their contracts be getting in terms of OS?

    Froyo to Honeycomb or ICS? Gingerbread to Honeycomb or ICS? and what version? 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, or maybe something like 4.0.0, 4.0.1, 4.0.2? and will Honeycomb users upgrade to ICS, or maybe the new one, Jumping Jellybeens or whatever?

    This will be a moot point in about 6 months, as a new version will be here, IMO.
    William Farrel
    • And yet

      As much as it must pain you, you have to admit there are more phones with ICS on them, than there are phones with any flavor of WP 7. :p

      To make matters even worse, There more actively used iPhone 4s' than WP7 phones, in use :)
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • So nothing I said was true? just pointing out that its no big deal

        as with all the revisions, are they really going to upgrade handsets? and with 2 year contracts, are people buying ICS powered phones? No, as they still have time left on their current hanset with it's current OS.

        And no, it doesn't pain me in regards to WP7 - I found it to be superior to Android, and I'm more then happy with my choice. I don't care if more people want what I consider a lesser OS in Android, I'm not the one stuck with the ICS handset, so let them suffer. I'm not.

        I'm not even sorry to find out you're not happy with ICS, either.

        I am sorry to find that people like you still think in such childish ways.
        William Farrel
      • William Farrel

        You need to seriously look in a mirror. You've repeatedly made childish rants about WP 7 that frankly sound like my 8 year old (she's cute as a button though). So how about you take your own advice and grow up.

        In all fairness to everyone else:
        Willy is one of those that claimed that WP 7 would take over in it's first year (under one of his many screen names). He's disparaged iOS and Android at every turn. So in short I get pleasure in reading anything that makes his childish fantasy harder to obtain. His utopian world where Microsoft controls everything...
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • You two need to get a room! Seriously you could cut

        the obvious sexual tension with a knife:). Whew!

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • Really? What childish rants about WP7?

        All I do is point out that much of what you haters say isn't true, or throw the obvious back in your face.

        You claim "WP7 sucks because look at how many sold vs iPhone or android, the proof is in the sales".

        But then you claim OS X and Linux don't suck, as sales figures don't mean anything.

        All I said was that it's no big deal that ICS isn't on alot of phones, and gave a logical reason as to why.

        You're the one that wants to turn this into an anti-MS/hate everything MS rant.

        Oh, and I [b]never[/b] claimed it would take over the world in it's first year. I never said it would even move up to the number one spot. iPhone is popular, and Android is given away on free handsets.

        Don't put words in my mouth, and I only have one screen name, Rick.

        My utopia is where people choose whats works best for them, with out people like you so emotionally attached to a company that you have to lie about anything MS related.

        You do know I bought my wife the iPhone 4 right? Because I felt it would work best for her needs. I've said that a few times.

        just because I din't go with Android shouldn't tick you off as much as it seems to be.
        William Farrel
      • We would James, but he snores too much

        he'd keep me awake all night. ;)
        William Farrel
  • Where's the love

    For the world's most popular mobile operating system?
    symbolset
  • fragmentation...meh

    LOL i love how this is suppose to "prove" that android is severely fragmented. If anything it proves Android is not as fragmented as many believe. Hmmm a total of 86.7% are running either 2.2 or 2.3, which are very similiar. Most are running 2.3. I'd say that's pretty good! 1.5 to 2.1 is legacy. If you still have a phone running either, it's time to root and load a ROM or upgrade. (Compare it to running Win98 to 2000) Honeycomb was an offshoot. A beta. Call it WinME or Vista, whatever.

    I will admit that ICS adoption is very slow, and Sonys statement on why they are not going full speed to ICS on their phones seems to give light to why! Couple that with ICS work seen in XDA, and the general slowness of vendors releasing ICS builds (heck google even botched ICS deployment on their galaxy phones) seems to indicate that Google made some major changes that many didn't expect.

    So now we have some major re-writes to drivers and app/skin code, which is pushing adoption farther. Sucks that we may see Jellybean get released before ICS gets mass adoption. If JB doesn't have as much major changes than ICS that may get adopted faster, since most of the work will have already been done with ICS. ICS may just be a stepping stone to JB, much like Froyo was to GB.

    We're always going to be 1-2 versions behind, unless Google slows down developement. If you want bleeding edge, go to XDA or any other Android developer forum!

    thats my interpretation, and offshoot
    dracodos
  • why should i care?

    I switched to android after my 3gs was "upgraded" to iOS 4 and performance went to down a lot. I would not upgrade to ICS even if i could. Why fix what is not broken?
    Jean-Pierre-
    • Maybe but it did not take Apple long to fix that:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Why wait for Apple to fix it?

        The point is that they never should have sent iOS 4 to the 3g in the first place. The fact that a few months later they 'fixed' what they themselves broke, and what never should have been broken in the first place is not exactly a strong point in Apple's favor.

        Face it, Apple blundered big time on that one.
        Doctor Demento