Google Releases September Distribution Chart For Android Version Breakdown

It’s a new month and with the start of every new month comes a fresh new chart from Google showing the version breakdown in the Android world. By this we mean the distribution of Android Versions across the platform, including Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. The good news is that Android 4.0 and above devices now account for 22.1 percent of all Android devices on the market. That number is actually up 5.4% from August, which saw 16.7 percent of all Android devices running Android 4.0 or above.

As expected, Android 2.3 Gingerbread devices still rule the roost with 57.5 percent marketshare, leaving Android versions 2.2 and below to account for just 18.3 percent. Unfortunately, 1/5 of all Android smartphone owners are having a vastly different experience with their devices than most of you and that leaves the potential for users to really miss part of what has made Android so much better in the last two version releases.

We can only hope that Android manufacturers and the carriers alike take these reports to heart and see how many customers are having an arguably sub-par experience. In a bold move during yesterday’s Motorola and Verizon’s new RAZR launch, the manufacturer promised $100 in credits for every customer who recently purchased a Motorola device (since 2011) that won’t receive the Jelly Bean update. That’s a move I can’t imagine seeing across the board from other manufacturers, never mind whether or not carriers would ever consider such a move, but it shows how serious Motorola’s efforts are to give customers the best possible experience.

Hopefully, the numbers available in the beginning of October will tell an even better story.


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  • squiggleslash

    I’m sure the “Fragmentation” trolls will have a field day with this, but it actually looks fairly good:

    – Gingerbread is the last version of Android before ICS raised the bar in terms of hardware requirements. That it has well over 50% of the installed base is very positive. And it has an almost identical API to Froyo, so software developers can breath easy that it and Froyo make up the vast majority of installs.
    – Pre-Froyo is virtually non-existent. Software developers can safely ignore them.
    – ICS is picking up speed, despite the time it’s taken for hardware makers to push out ICS phones, or push out ICS updates to the phones that can run it.

    All in all, I’d say the above chart looks, to me, like Google is getting the so-called fragmentation issue under control.

    Don’t expect to see Gingerbread disappear any time soon FWIW. New budget phones will still be running it for quite a while.

    • Dumbazz

      Fragmentation is REAL. Calling someone a troll because you disagree with them is so 2000.
      In fact you douche nozzles who so easily call everyone you disagree with a troll just illustrates your lack of balls.

      • JBrowne1012

        You are a troll fool! the fact that your username is “dumbazz” is really fitting for you. Its not about disagreeing with people but the crap you say gets you labeled as such.

      • samagon

        What API calls that were documented as usable by developers have been removed from Android?

        from a usability standpoint of software on an OS, API calls are pretty much it, what do the developers have access to? So they have new APIs in the new OS, well guess what, there’s APIs to a barometer that might not exist in some hardware, EVER, does that mean there’s fragmentation? Nope, it means some people buy devices that don’t take full advantage of the OS, or the lifecycle of the OS.

        That’s not fragmentation. What you’re parroting is Apple marketing hype.

    • Dumbazz

      Ya 10 months after it’s release and at only 20% is spectacular.

      Fragmentation is real despite your denial and labeling someone a troll because they disagree with you.

      Are you always this intellectually dishonest? intellectuallydishonest.

      • The real issue though is whether the fragmentation is causing any “significant issues” to users, and I don’t think it is. Sure, developers have to work a little harder, but users having the choice to choose between hundreds of phones with various features at different price points is a positive. 

      • squiggleslash

        I notice that you didn’t address the issues in my post. Complain all you like that I labeled trolls trolls, and that you self-identified as one of the people I was criticizing, but the facts stand and speak for themselves, and are exactly as I described.

        And if you’re going to make trollish comments while simultaneously complaining about being labeled one, here’s something for you to think about: ICS is ICS. Gingerbread is Gingerbread. But IOS 4 is not IOS 4 if it’s on a different model of phone. Ask Siri if you need an explanation – if your iPhone is allowed to run it.

        • Dumbazz

          Look retard 10 months after it’s release and only 20% is HORRIBLE. WOW how original you fall back on the old, “you must be an iphone user” if I disagree with you. 

        • JBrowne1012

          Is it horrible that only 20% adopted ICS when with all UI improvements aside its really substantially a minor update even with Android 4.1? About one of the only apps you don’t get across the board is Google Chrome below 4.0 but thats still in beta as it is so thats no issue. 

        • samagon

          Explain what fragmentation means to a user. Please, I’m dying to hear it.

          I am well aware that in some cases it requires a developer to update his software (app) to utilize different or new API calls so that his software will support newer version of an OS (while in most cases all it means is validating that the same API calls that existed in the previous version still exist in the current version and running the software in the new version to confirm that it works), but PLEASE tell me, what does fragmentation mean to a USER????

          Your name is showing to be descriptive of you…

      • Not all devices can run it smoothly, its not necessarily fragmentation 95% percent of android users have skinned devices of which already has the important updates installed through some means. Nobody needs full on Android 4.0 nor Android 4.1 they are UI redesigns more so than functionality improvements. Tell me since you care so much about this “fragmentation” what are you missing from Android 4.0-> Android 4.1 without googling the change log. Even more so do the same with Gingerbread 2.3 -> Android 4.0 and Android 4.1. 

        all you guys do is whine about version numbers when really not a lot of you know what the differences are between them.
        Maybe Fragmentation is real, maybe its not, the only thing that really matters is can you use your device without frustration? does it work? if so and you still complain you are just trying to find something to whine about.

        He labeled you as a troll because you are after having looked at your comments they can’t really be serious.

    • Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird


      Another issue keeping Ginge up there is length of contract. I have a G2 that I purchased not long out of contract. It was one of the first to ship with Gingerbread. They have done a couple of small updates, but it’s still running 2.3.x. How many other phones were purchased 2 years ago that are still out there waiting for their contract to end so they can get a new phone? In two years, we will probably see a similar chart with ICS or JB replacing Gingerbread. 

      Also, in the first year of Android, there were 5 major releases. In the last two years, only 3 major releases (2 if you don’t count Honeycomb, since it was just for tablets). This is significant as it shows the OS reaching maturity. The longer the version stays stable, the easier for hardware manufactures, the easier for developers, the better for consumers. 

    • NinoBr0wn

      That’s obviously your opinion, but I think the fact that an OS has a regularly released pie chart, showing a number of percentages that the versions of said OS are available across devices, is a clear picture of fragmentation. It is clear as day, and I don’t feel at all that any initiative Google put in place has changed that. Manufacturers are more concerned with pushing out the next hardware, than worrying about supporting existing customers. A lot of people like to say ‘well then get a Nexus. ‘ That’s only ignoring the issue. I love everything Android, but sadly, I don’t think this issue is going to change. Rooting seems to be the only clear way to stay up to date in a timely manner. Of course this doesn’t mean anything to the average consumer, but not only is the average consumer becoming more aware of bleeding edge tech, but newer versions of an OS is going to provide a better experience for them anyway.

      • Buying a Nexus is not ignoring the issue. It shows how much people actually cares about software updates and pure google. If everyone started buy a Nexus over any other Android then manufacturers would take note give in and ditch their UIs. People have learned after extensive use of UIs such as HTC sense that there are just soe things missing from stock android. Like for example Camera Filters when you take pictures, sure add the effects afterwards is an option but people like me have gotten used to it. Google doesn’t have the weather clock widget that HTC does. Buying a Nexus is like buying a barebones computer kit without an OS yes you can do what you want with it but not everyone knows what to do with it of which is why HTC sense and UIs are successful

        • NinoBr0wn

          I didn’t say buying a Nexus is ignoring the issue. Everyone is going to have their own choice for a phone, and some will get a Nexus. Its the people who say oh well get a Nexus if you’re gonna complain about slow updates who are ignoring the issue. Yes, that may be one option to take, but if some people were to just turn their heads, it doesn’t just go away, and you and I both know there will never be a time where “everyone” buys a Nexus. And there is always something you can download from the android market if it is “missing” from stock Android. Google may not have HTC’s weather widget, but Beautiful Widgets, which is pretty much identical, is one of the most popular apps available. There is also Launcher Pro if you should want HTC social widgets. You could build HTC Sense on your own if you wanted. I’ve done it on my old phone.

          I completely disagree that a Nexus is like a computer without an OS. That doesn’t even make sense. It works exactly the same way, there’s just some changes to the looks with some other crap thrown in.

      • peharri

        Apple posts a pie-chart regularly too FWIW. The problem is that their fragmentation issue is hidden in that essentially different OSes are given the same version number (you can’t say two operating systems are REALLY the same version when one has a basic OS level feature like multitasking, and another doesn’t.)

        Going forward, the above is what the pie-chart will look like for the next two years.

        – Froyo/Gingerbread will make up one large proportion of the pie, with Gingerbread taking over it.
        – A post-ICS OS, now ICS, in a year JB or possibly its successor, making up the vast majority of the rest.

        That’s fine. Developers are happy with /two/ well supported well known versions, especially when they know it’s two versions with a consistent feature set tied to each version. Android Lite (Gingerbread) and Android Standard (ICS+)

        What they weren’t happy with was the ridiculous situation a year ago when 1.6, 2.1 and 2.2 (three different APIs) were the popular phone OSes, and 3.x was the tablet OS that Google acted as if should not be touched with a ten foot pole.

    • samagon

      Well, the real point is, from a customer use standpoint, what is fragmentation? Updates of the OS? It should be painfully obvious to people that if you want an Android device with immediate OS updates, you get a Nexus device (not on Verizon).

      From a standpoint of what the OS offers, there are things that are cleaner from 2.2 to 4.1, but all the things I can do on my Galaxy Nexus (4.1), I can do on my Nexus One that’s been flashed to stock (2.2). It’s not as polished, and pretty, and some Apps aren’t backwards compatible, but App support is on the developer of the App, and if they want to make money, they will support where the majority of users are located.

      Fragmentation is an animal that Apple came up with to scare customers away from Android devices and into their iOS devices. People like Dumbazz have bought it hook, line and sinker.

  • 21stNow

    The number of Android 4.0 and higher devices is actually up 32% from August, to a penetration of 22.1%.  The number 5.4% doesn’t represent the percentage of increase, but rather the difference in penetration levels.