KitKat's share of Android-powered devices is steadily climbing and, at 13.6 percent, it's now surpassed the ageing Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) that Google released in 2011.
A combination of the launch of new devices running KitKat; rollouts of the OS from Samsung, HTC, and LG; and consumers ditching older phones is slowly but steadily seeing KitKat's growth accelerate.
KitKat (versions of Android 4.4 and over) ran on 13.6 percent of devices that connected to the Google Play app store in the seven days to 4 June. This month's figures show KitKat eclipsing ICS (Android 4.0.3 — 4.0.4) for the first time, with the older OS falling from 13.4 percent in April to 12.3 percent in May. Google updates the figures each month to help app developers determine which versions of Android to target.
KitKat is now just a whisker behind Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3 to 2.3.7), which continued its decline from 16.2 percent in April to 14.9 percent in May.
It would appear Samsung's and HTC's recent KitKat updates for last year’s flagship devices are having an effect on its growth, with KitKat increasing its share by five points (from 8.5 percent in April), compared with the 3.2 percentage point rise that occurred in March.
Meanwhile, with a 58.4 percent share, Jelly Bean (Android 4.1x to 4.3) still accounts for the bulk of Android devices out there, which was slightly down on last month’s figure of 60.8 percent. Jelly Bean 4.4.1x is remains the largest version, accounting for 29 percent of all Android devices.
The May figures also saw Honeycomb drop off the chart, since Google doesn't show versions with a distribution below 0.1 percent. Last month it was 0.1 percent. Froyo, which is at 0.8 percent now, will probably go the same way very soon.
Of course, Google's Android distribution looks like a complication mess compared with Apple’s figures for iOS distribution. In the seven days to 1 June, iOS 7 accounted for 89 percent of devices connecting to the Apple App Store, while nine percent ran iOS 6.
Google has long vowed to deal with Android fragmentation, back in 2011 promising the latest software update for up to 18 months after a device's first release. While by and large Android OEMs have towed the line, there are numerous examples where they haven't.
Still, with Google Play Edition devices and Nexus devices, Google has achieved faster growth with KitKat than it did with Jelly Bean 4.3, which six months after its release was running 7.8 percent of Android devices.