​Marshmallow on just 0.3 percent of Android phones - but still rolls out faster than Lollipop

Unless you spot a Google Nexus smartphone, you probably won't have seen Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the wild. Yet it's still spreading faster than Lollipop did.

KitKat still leads but Marshmallow is now on 0.3 percent of Android handsets. Image: Google

A month after Google unleashed Marshmallow, the newest version of its mobile operating system is running on just 0.3 percent of Android handsets.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow, shipping with the new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, has just scraped into Google's November distribution chart, which excludes versions with less than a 0.1 percent share.

As for the rest of the more than one billion Android devices -- besides Nexus and Android One handsets -- the figures mark the beginning of Marshmallow's gradual rise, as new handsets ship with the OS and OEMs roll out updates.

The question is when Samsung, Sony, HTC and others will deliver the update and to which devices. That's historically happened no earlier than three months after Google releases a new version of Android, which means a January timeframe for most of last year's flagships and even longer for non-flagships and never for older models. Here's a list of devices that most likely will receive the update.

One positive sign for Marshmallow is that it's shown up on the radar this early. Android 5.0 Lollipop still hadn't passed the 0.1 percent threshold two months after it's early November release last year and it took six months to nudge 10 percent.

As usual, Google's monthly Android version figures highlight a stark contrast with Apple's swift rollout for iOS, which currently stands at 66 percent for iOS 9, one and half months after its release. Currently, 25 percent remain on iOS 8 while nine percent are on older versions.

Google hoped to regain some control of its software updates with the Android One program offering Nexus-like updates.

However, as Ars Technica pointed out yesterday, Google has stepped back from its original promise to deliver updates directly itself, a move reflected in a recent posting on the Android One support page.

"Android One phones receive the latest version of Android from Google's hardware partners. Google's partners send updates based on their schedule -- trying to get them to you as soon as possible. All partners have committed to provide software updates for at least 18 months after the phone's initial public launch. This means that all phones will receive at least one major software update and several smaller security updates," the page states.

Turning to earlier versions of Android, last year's Lollipop is now on 25.6 percent of handsets, while KitKat from 2013 has the largest share at 37.8 percent.

Meanwhile three versions of Jelly Bean collectively run on 30 percent of Android handsets, while seven percent of devices run older versions of Android.

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