KitKat hits 13.6 percent of all Android devices, eclipses Ice Cream Sandwich

KitKat hits 13.6 percent of all Android devices, eclipses Ice Cream Sandwich

Summary: KitKat's share of Android devices is accelerating, while Honeycomb has dropped off the charts.

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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.

2014-06-05 10.23.11 am
Image: Google

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.

Read more on Android

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Mobile OS

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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10 comments
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  • Still not good enough.

    Someone needs to devise an "update score" that potential buyers can see; along the lines of:

    *** Updates to revised OS within 3 months of release
    ** Updates to revised OS within 4 months of release
    * Updates to revised OS within 5 months of release
    - Fails to updates to revised OS within 5 months.

    Let's be clear; fragmentation is only really a problem for independent developers; no consumer ever gave a monkeys, and most wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about.

    But the prices people pay for phones means they are entitled to a better service.

    Oh, and it takes a weapon away from the saddoe fanbois ;-)
    Heenan73
    • They'll give a monkey's...

      ...when their out of date OS fails to protect them from Malware threats.
      Englishmole
  • Consumer awareness

    As most people get new phones every couple of years they will, by default, be upgrading their version of Android - so in that user sphere the older versions of the OS will have a limited lifespan anyway.

    How long Froyo, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich hang around in any great numbers will depend on how long people hold onto their tablets for. Is the tablet market yet mature enough to determine how often people hold onto one before buying this year's model?
    Ian Sargent
  • Awesome! NOT

    So got my ATT LG Optimus G Pro upgraded. Now it takes a full second to respond to swipes while browsing heavier websites. Load times are slower in general. The clock randomly glitches and shows a stretched battery icon instead of the time. Facebook wont post anything. My battery life hasnt improved any. KitKat socks cuck. I want my iphone back...
    dialate2
    • Probably not a KitKat problem

      Just a bad upgrade. Try a factory reset, then the KitKat upgrade.

      This is the main reason I run custom ROMs. I want to be in control of my device.
      Economister
  • Kit Kat blocks SD card writes!

    Do not upgrade to Kit Kat if you want apps to write to external SD card and you do not want to root the OS. Kit Kat cripples this very important SD card function!
    If you are willing to root, then you can get SD card writes back.
    warboat
    • I wonder why that happened

      Patent avoidance, perhaps?
      John L. Ries
  • LOL

    Just in time for another version of Android... it appears! How many do we have now? What a joke.
    BruinB88
  • Dear Google,

    You copied many things from Apple a while ago, since we all know that Android was about to be a Blackberry clone before the iPhone. Do us all a favor - copy Apple's support of older devices with newer versions of the OS. Start making it a requirement that manufacturers and carriers push out newer versions of Android for all the supported devices sooner than later.

    Sincerely,

    People that just want things to be more secure on the internet.
    Champ_Kind
    • Dear Champ

      That would be the Apple whose latest OS upgrade isn't available for iPhone 4 then.
      Ian Sargent