More than 1 in 8 Android devices run 'Jelly Bean'

More than 1 in 8 Android devices run 'Jelly Bean'

Summary: While it's good news for Google, with at least five different flavors of Android still in use, the problem of fragmentation isn't going to go away any time soon.

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Google's latest Android release, "Jelly Bean" continues to gain market share and is now powering more than one out of every eight devices.

Data collected by the search giant for devices accessing the Google Play store during the 14-day period ending on February 4, shows that usage share for Android 4.1 and Android 4.2—collectively dubbed "Jelly Bean"—has once again risen compared to the same period last month, rising from 10.2 percent to 13.6 percent.

(Credit: Google Developer Dashboard)

Android is seeing spectacular growth, especially in China where two out of every three mobile phones sold were powered by Android, making it the single largest market for the platform. 

"Jelly Bean" has been around since July 2012, when it was first offered on the Nexus 7 tablet. Since then, many popular devices running the operating system have been released, including the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10.

Overall, it is estimated that around 786 million Android smartphone devices were sold worldwide in 2012.

The slow adoption of new versions of Android affects everyone in the ecosystem. While it is good for developers and consumers alike that the latest Android release is gaining traction, the fact that so many old Android versions are still being used presents a problem for the ecosystem. Not only does it force developers to support an ever-increasing array of aging versions, preventing them from making full use of new features, it also means that consumers are denied new features, and not getting security updates that help keep their handsets and tablets safe from hackers and malware.

It's also bad for enterprises that have embraced bring-your-own-device (BYOD), since in means having to put policies in place for a wide number of platforms, many of which are now unsupported. Keeping the workforce on the latest version—or even the on one of the last few releases—is difficult.

The Android fragmentation problem is going to get worse before it gets better, and everyone who has an interest in the operating system—consumers developers, enterprise—needs to be aware of this. Millions of devices running old, outdated versions of Android aren't going to go away any time soon. 

(Credit: Google Developer Dashboard)

The most popular version of Android continues to be Android 2.3 "Gingerbread." This version hasn't seen an update from Google since September 2011.

Topics: Android, Google, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

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45 comments
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  • Seven months to get to 13.5%

    is a cause for celebration? For a free operating system?
    baggins_z
    • Okay

      Here is what AKH and the other iTards don't get.

      This pattern will follow the upgrade cycle and Jellybean will take over the top spot within 6 months.

      Gingerbread pretty much did 99% of what iOS 6.1 did so, the upgrades are not essential.

      If a user deems an upgrade as essential then they should buy a Nexus 4, they are in stock right now.
      slickjim
      • And yet

        People still slag wp for fragmentation... wow....
        Skunkwurx
        • Fragmentation prevents malware explosion from happening on Android

          In a bizarre twist it turns out the epic fragmentation keeps the malware situation on Android from turning into a disaster. Imagine how difficult it is to write one virus and then try to infect 10000 different Android distributions out there with it. It'd frustrate the best malware writers out there.
          LBiege
      • So

        By the time that Jelly Bean is the top OS... Key Lime Pie will already be out?
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Are you sure?

          Are you sure Key Lime Pie is the latest version...

          Honestly, All Google has to do is make the next 6 releases point releases and call them all Jellybean then it will be the same situation as iOS.

          People are too stuck on a name.
          slickjim
          • Nope

            Not at all... Some vendors don't provide more than a few updates. Buy a Nexus and you will always have the latest.

            Bottom line, doesn't matter because even my friends with iPhones had no idea what version their phone was running and many admitted they never updated before apple started doing the OTA thing.
            slickjim
          • Citations please.

            Care to offer some data to back that up? Things have improved for Android app developers, but 50/50 or even 60/40 would be surprising. BGR says that despite 100% growth for Android "app revenue from the iOS camp is still nearly four times the amount of revenue that Google Play generates (cf http://bgr.com/2013/02/04/android-app-revenue-growth-315774). Even assuming skewed methodologies and reporting, it's hard to get from 80/20 to 50/50. Even a 60/40 split would mean than AppAnnie is off by 100%. It's certainly possible, but let's see some recent numbers.
            matthew_maurice
          • Yes, I'm sure

            There were leaked roadmaps from qualcomm (quickly taken down) that said "Key Lime Pie" coming up soon. Then we have the set of "Evolution of Android" images that end with the eating of... Key Lime Pie. This was made by a Google Employee.

            They also give one major update a year.
            Michael Alan Goff
      • So, what you are saying is that Android is locked to

        the hardware and the only way to upgrade the OS is to upgrade the hardware. And you tout this as a good thing?
        baggins_z
        • Don't try and be tb3

          n/t
          Little Old Man
    • Food for thought

      "Overall, it is estimated that around 786 million Android smartphone devices were sold worldwide in 2012"
      AleMartin
    • Yes a celebration of money!

      Growth of 13% wahhahah that is a great trip to the bank! Yeeehaw! You don't understand its OK.
      Altotus
  • I don't get it

    Can't they click on the "update" button and upgrade?
    D.J. 43
    • That's funny

      You're funny.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Well,

      Yes and no. Many devices are controlled by the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc) rather than Google and the carriers publish OS updates about as fast as an arthritic tortoise runs a 400 meter dash.
      benched42
      • And this is the elephant in the room

        One of THE revolutionary things about the iPhone and iOS was that it broke the stranglehold the carriers had on your phone hardware. Prior to the iPhone, you had to put up with carriers deciding what was installed on your phone, what you could install on your phone and what you couldn't. Heck, Verizon even had the nerve to RENT you ring tones. The iPhone broke that. Android gleefully returned you all back into the servitude. In the name of freedom. Orwell would be proud.
        baggins_z
        • Absurd

          "android" didn't do anything. It sat there on a server free for anyone to download, modify and build. And that's what happened - big time. Its not "android's" responsibility what any particular mfr or carrier does. If its a concern, then choose nexus devices and you are all set. Or pick from unlocked phones from mfrs with good track records. There are lots of choices and that's what its about.
          drwong
          • Thanks for proving my

            point. Fandroids will happily proclaim that slavery is freedom as carriers use their beloved OS to lock them back into carrier controlled models.
            baggins_z
          • Careful you don't drown in your vat of koolaid.

            Don't talk about freedom and slavery when discussing mobile phones, it makes you sound emotionally stunted.
            Little Old Man