After six months in the wild, Android 5.0 finally seems to be taking off: the proportion of Android devices that run on Lollipop has almost doubled in the past month.
According to Google's latest Android distribution figures for May 4, Lollipop's share of the billion-plus Android devices in circulation reached 9.7 percent - up from just over five percent in April.
Android Lollipop was a major update for Google: it contained not just an overhauled designed scheme, but also battery-saving features, new ways to unlock devices, the promised encryption by default for new handsets -- which has since been postponed -- and the groundwork for its new Android for Work BYOD program. However, Lollipop has been slow to roll out to devices other than Google's own Nexus line, with the OS installed on just 1.6 percent of all Android devices in February.
Since then HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony, and others have released new flagship and mid-range devices running Lollipop. Despite delays, handset makers have also gradually begun pushing out their customised versions of Lollipop to 2014 flagships.
Google's data shows that currently nine percent of devices are running Android 5.0, Lollipop's first iteration, while 0.7 percent are running its subsequent update, Android 5.1.
Not much has changed for the two most widely used versions of Android, KitKat and Jelly Bean. KitKat now powers around 39.8 percent of devices, down from 41.4 percent in April, while Jelly Bean's share has dropped from 40.7 percent to 39.2 percent. Similar declines were seen for even older versions of Android, which collectively account for just over 10 percent of all Google OS handsets.
Google's figures tell just half of the Android story, however, since they only include devices with the Google Play app installed. Google's figures therefore don't count the vast number of Android users in China that rely on locally provided app stores, such as those from Baidu, Qihoo 360, Tencent, and others.
Google publishes its Android distribution data to allow developers to better target their apps to the most widely used versions of Android, but a recent report from Digi-Capital highlighted that when it comes to downloads, data from China's app stores may be equally important.
Notably, according to Digi-Capital, once revenue from the Chinese app stores is combined with those from Google Play, Android made more money than iOS last year.
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