KitKat claws 1.8 percent Android market share

KitKat claws 1.8 percent Android market share

Summary: The data released by Google shows that while Jelly Bean now powers over half of all Android devices, KitKat adoption is slow.


According to stats published by Google, the newest Android release, codenamed KitKat, is powering under two percent of Android devices accessing the Google Play store.

The data, which is based on smartphones and tablets accessing the Google Play store over a 7-day period ending on February 4, 2014, shows that Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat, is installed on 1.8 percent of devices.

This time last month KitKat market share was at 1.4 percent.

Android market share
(Source: Google)

Android 4.4 was release on 31 October, 2013, and first made its public appearance on the Nexus 5.

This latest version has a long way to go to catch up with the previous release, codenamed Jelly Bean. This release, which includes versions 4.1.x, 4.2.x and 4.3, power 60.7 percent of Android devices and makes it the single most popular version. However, Android version 4.1.x is the single most popular release, installed on 35.5 percent of devices.

This means that there's considerable fragmentation among devices running Jelly Bean, with the majority unable to benefit from features introduced in versions 4.2.x, 4.3, and now 4.4 as KitKat is rolled out to handsets.

However, Jelly Bean's nearest rival continues to be Android 2.3.x Gingerbread, a version first released back in February 2011, and this version continues to power 20.0 percent of the devices accessing the Google Play store. However, the good news is that this version's dominance is eroding slowly as the months progress, but it is likely to remain significant for at least another year.

The problem with getting users up to the latest version is not down to a lack of interest. Indeed, the speed and ferocity with which iOS users upgrade to the latest version shows that users clearly are interested in new versions of operating systems. The problem is that Google is the beginning of a long system that updates have to go through.

Whenever Google releases a new version of Android, device OEMs have to then customize the release, add their own tweaks and personalizations. Then, for smartphones and tablets that are hooked to a carrier contract, the carriers have to add their own branding. The problem is made worse by the fact that neither the OEMs of the carriers feel there's much of a benefit in pushing free software updates to customers, and would rather focus on selling owners a new device. 

Beginning in April 2013, Google started delivering data collected from each device when the user visited the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked in to Google servers. Google believes that the new data "more accurately reflects those users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem."

Topics: Mobility, Android, Hardware

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  • Android is good

    But isn't getting very much better.

    This isn't a knock on Android, it's just that mature platforms don't *need* to change that much (although MS might beg to differ :)). Thus, there just isn't that much incentive to get the latest-and-greatest, since even an OS version from a couple of years ago pretty much covers all the bases.
    x I'm tc
    • Under the hood

      a lot is changing under the hood.

      With 4.1 on my GS3 getting back to the home screen from Mail would take up to 10 seconds! (Just an example, all apps were slow.) When it was new, it was nearly instant, but it got progressively slower. With 4.3 Google introduced TRIM support. I upgraded to Cyanogen Mod and after a couple of months it hasn't slowed down again.
  • Wow, could you make any more excuses?

    Android is so perfect it doesn't require updates!

    LMAO, did you inherit Jobs' reality distortion field?

    Google me this batman: Android ART (no it's not meant to hang on your wall) - It's Google's attempt to fix the fact that a quad core 2.2Ghz Android phone gets it's lunch eaten by a dual core 1.3Ghz iOS phone... Dalvik is a POS and everyone knows it...

    Google this if you fancy: Android API 19...

    You see, NO OS is perfect or near perfection, there are always holes, exploits and potential for improvement.

    What was that, all Android apps (that are no longer open sourced) are updated independently? Gmail, Google Store, etc? Yes, but the exploits that make older versions of Android swiss cheese need to be plugged. Even though Google is moving away from open sourced apps (yeah, shocked me as well but you can Google it to verify) they need to fix the horrible update structure for Android.
    It's like Dell or Lenovo saying sorry, you can't have Windows 8 (which may be a blessing) on your year old laptop because we haven't released our bloat/skin for it...

    Yeah, that doesn't seem right because Linux (Android's daddy), Windows, Mac OS, iOS all update regularly... WOW, such a novel idea!!!!
    So novel, that our military pans Android for security purposes... I WONDER WHY? Hmmm....
    • What virus/drive by is known?

      None? hm.

      Trojans yes, but users have to manually install them, and get them from unsecured locations.

      The military doesn't pan Android...:

      So you need to get a bit more up to date.
      • Navy scientist friend who works at NRL...

        Pretty much states it fails to the degree they have to rewrite/re-engineer a lot of the OS...
        P.S. I'm not talking about Secret level classification, TS and up.

        I've asked him to give me a link to the white paper (if it's not classified).

        ALL OS's need to be secured but having an OS that almost never gets updates pushed to 90%+ of it's user base is shameful. If this was Windows, you'd be burning a MS flag
    • FUD

      ART is basically pre-compiled vs just-in-time. It's not really that important since most performance based apps like games are using the NDK and executing in native code and thus the Dalvik performance issues are irrelevant.
      on iOS, there is ONLY native coding and no scalable high level coding option like the Dalvik VM.
      as for security and swisscheese-ness, CVE lists a total of 308 vulnerabilities for iOS vs a total of 30 for Android.
      The real proof is that the HIGHEST levels of secret services throughout the world uses Android over iOS or any other mobile OS simply because it is more secure when you want it to be secure.
      Lastly, iOS is so far behind, getting the latest updates is like "welcome to 2 years ago"
      • "Sensors indicate Android Reality Distortion Field, Captain..."

        LMAO, you're downplaying ART as not really important... Really?

        That's why Google is replacing Dalvik with it?

        Not important, nope... So what you're saying is that running EVERYTHING in VM is as efficient as running it native? Makes absolutely no sense.

        Running everything in VM including the UI is why the lame 1.3Ghz dual core iPhone 5S can run circles around the S4 and Nexus 5...

        Dalvik was necessary when Android was young and resources were tight, now it's hampering the performance.

        "The real proof is that the HIGHEST levels of secret services throughout the world uses Android over iOS" - please link to this :)

        "Lastly, iOS is so far behind, getting the latest updates is like "welcome to 2 years ago""???
        Please explain the logic of Android updates not hitting any Android handset (unless it's Google or Samsung) and the lame iPhone 4 gets iOS 7? Before you state it runs like crap, the point is that they are releasing updates for security... Name ONE Android handset 4 years old that has it?


        The whole argument that updates aren't necessary is illogical...
        • error 404: truth not found

          "Not important, nope... So what you're saying is that running EVERYTHING in VM is as efficient as running it native? Makes absolutely no sense.
          Running everything in VM including the UI is why the lame 1.3Ghz dual core iPhone 5S can run circles around the S4 and Nexus 5"

          Not everything runs bytecode. You can have native coded apps in Android for performance. The choice is up to the developer.
          What ART does is pre-compiles the Dalvik bytecode at install, but that doesn't make it as fast as natively coded apps since Dalvik is a register based VM and may not be the best way to run execute certain algorithms.
          ART is just like taking interpreted Basic and pre-compiling it using Turbo Basic.
          It won't run as efficiently as native compiled C.

          The Android UI is natively coded so stop talking rubbish and get off your high horse.
  • Yes, but 1. Kitkat has issues and 2. It doesn't matter as much

    1. KitKat's major changes are, well, not too major. "hangouts" is the new default SMS app; other areas of "Googlification" are also front-and-center. Since most of the major changes are in the Google Apps, and how they interact with user's existing data (and, obviously, pushing user data as much into the Google ecosystem as possible), most changes to the OS as a whole are becoming progressively less important.

    According to Wiki, the new KitKat features are relatively minor, a few highlights are:
    -Wireless printing capability
    -NFC host card emulation, enabling a device to replace smart cards
    -Disabled access to battery statistics by third-party applications
    -Native infrared blaster API
    -Public API for developing and managing text messaging clients.
    -The Camera application now loads Google+ Photos instead of Gallery when swiping away from the camera view
    -Refreshed interface with white elements instead of blue

    ...not much earth-shattering stuff there. Meanwhile...

    2. The bigger thing to eyeball is the version of "Play Store Services". As far as a platform for running apps, that's basically what gets coded to at this point. If you're still running 4.0 with the current version of PSS, it really doesn't matter what the badge on the front says, because developers aren't coding to it anymore. For all this "fragmentation" discussion and how it's tearing Android apart, the real consideration as far as app compatibility doesn't seem to have a pie chart shown here. Show me THAT graph as being a mess, and then we can talk. Until then, there's no reason to get your socks in a bunch, because all your apps will still work just fine...

  • Google made a decision on KitKat ...

    to know include the update for Google Galaxy Nexus phones ( which came out in the Fall of 2011 so we at about the 2 year old design age when KitKat was released, even though MANY were sold in 2012). This means that there is a gap in phones of that age (in addition to Google Galaxy Nexus which is an Android design phone so Google could have easily done the work to make sure it would work on GGNexus). As a result, KitKat adoption is going to be SLOW compare with various Jelly Bean versions because there is going to be BIG gap in slightly older phones that won't get KitKat. My GGNexus still does 95% of stuff that KitKat can do and I don't plan on buying a new phone for at a year or more.
  • Slow as molasses...

    OMG! That's just freaking pathetic. How many years will it take for KitKat to get where Gingerbread is? Four years? Google needs to slow down with upgrades and let the rest of the Android world catch up.
    • No, Samsung needs to pull their finger out of their arse

      and make upgrades available quicker!
  • Re: KitKat claws 1.8 percent Android market share....

    Which confirms what I have said all along. Too many releases. Android is becoming too fragmented and with this approach eventually the platform will suffer because of it.

    It would be better to standardise with Jelly Bean which is clearly the most widely used.
    • myth about fragmentation problems in Android

      What this clearly demonstrates is that fragmentation is not hampering the use of Android at large. Apps work with 2.3 just like it works with 4.1 and 4.4
      If fragmentation was a problem, there wouldn't be a healthy spread of versions in use.
      Unlike iOS, where you can't even download garageband now unless you are running ios7. If your device can't get ios7, like an ipod touch 4, or you don't want to use ios7, you are now affected by fragmentation. And that's just one example where obsolescence hits hard with iOS.
      Android doesn't have that kind of problem with fragmentation and the usage numbers in the table proves it.
  • The worst thing about Android is not getting updates

    Having to rely on the phone manufacture to supply updates is the worst thing about Android. You pretty much have to buy a new device to get the latest version, some times the phone manufacture, I have a Samsung phone and tablet, will update. I think I had a minor update for my phone a little after I got it but nothing for my tablet. I don't know about anyone else but I'm not interested in forking out $500 plus on a new phone every couple years just to get the new OS. Probably use my phone till it dies and have to get a new phone. Having crapware loaded by the phone companies is the second worst thing I think of. You should be able to uninstall anything you want unless it is a part of the actual OS.

    Other than that I'm mostly happy with Android but I think there are a lot of little things that can be improved that are totally stupid. For one, the older version I had on my phone had a check box on weather I wanted to use this app for opening certain things all the time. If I wasn't concerned about that I would just hit the app I wanted to use. Now I have to select the app. Select the yes use it all the time or only one time, then it always tells me that I can change it in the apps then when I select use it all the time for this. What a waste of time. I know it doesn't sound like much but bugs the heck out of me. Why they thought this new way was better is beyond me. There are some things in contacts, I can't remember now that was stupid as well as the Google mail app. Things that would just make the useability of Android better.

    But it's pretty much the way all the big software companies are. They tell us what we want instead of listening to what we want. They say they listen but they don't. Once in a great while they might.

    • option to select default apps

      Wow, iOS users are crying out to have that option and you complain that it's a waste of time in Android.