Updates have always been the Achilles heel for Android. It has been the stick that usually has been used to beat Android when it comes to inevitable comparisons with iOS. Due to lack of vertical integration, it has been difficult for Android to release the latest updates on all it’s devices and this puts it under massive disadvantage as compared to Apple who control both the software and hardware of their products which makes sure updates are available to pretty much every device within the circumference of three generations.
However, the latest data from Android Developers, who publish a monthly report of the adaptation rates of the different Android versions of all the devices running Android paint a pretty picture.
According to the data till March 3rd, the most popular Android version running as of now is Android JellyBean. This is great news because not so long ago the largest percentages were that of Gingerbread or ICS which was certainly ancient and one could argue, it meant most users were devoid of the smooth and much improved Android experience that say JellyBean or KitKat offered.
A closer look at the percentages tell that Android JellyBean 4.1 is leading the distribution with over 35.3% of devices running it while Android 4.2 JellyBean and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich come second and third in the standing with 17.1% and 15.2% share respectively. The latest Android version which is Android 4.4 KitKat is powering just 2.5% of the devices. In a way, this is justified too given that KitKat is universally out on Nexus devices and GPE devices only. With the exception of Moto G and Moto X, rest of the non Nexus high end devices are either in the process of getting the updates or have been promised them shortly.
The data is gathered from the devices which have access to Google Play Store and that is the reason that percentages of devices which are running anything below Android version 2.2 are not reflected in the distribution chart. Another interesting stat from the dev dashboard is that more than 91% of Android devices are running OpenGL ES version 2.0 with the latest OpenGL ES version 3.0 featuring on 8.8% of the devices.
Although the numbers are promising, it is still rather disappointing that only 2.5% of total Android users have access to the latest version of Android, whereas in comparison, over 82% iOS users are already running the latest version of iOS 7. However, the signs are encouraging and hopefully Android would continue to make similar progress with OEMs now getting more serious than ever for supporting the devices and providing them with timely updates as they realize updates could well be the next big important differentiating factor with hardware spec battle pretty much hitting a point of stagnation.