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Android users take bite into Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread still dominates

Chris Mayer
Android-Fragmentation

The latest Android stats won’t do much to ease fragmentation critics – with Ice Cream Sandwich making little headway, and latest version Jelly Bean barely registering

The latest Android distribution stats from Google will do little to fan the flames from ardent fragmentation critics, with Ice Cream Sandwich numbers still flagging.

They’ll probably try to pass it off as differentiation, but the figures are telling. Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread, still holds the lion’s share,  running on 60.6% of total Android-running devices.


Quite a lot further down the line, we have Ice Cream Sandwich with 15.9%. Although technically gaining some ground - this figure rising 5% in the past month - it’s nowhere near the level Google envisaged almost a year on from releasing the version.

It had high hopes, but seemingly not enough manufacturers are placing their faith in version. So does the blame lie ? Google, for making it hard for mobile makers to upgrade to the latest flashy version, consequently delaying upgrades for customers? Or with handset manufacturers for just not showing enough interest? When you know there’s an update just round the corner, why bother with the effort?

Jelly Bean, unveiled at the recent Google I/O developer conference, has amassed just 0.8% so far, though to be fair it’s only available to run on a few select smartphones like the Galaxy Nexus and tablet like Nexus 7. While only a minor update from ICS, this is much more encouraging to see after a short amount of time. Again, this raises the question, why both with ICS when Jelly Bean is here?

Contrast this with the walled garden world of Apple, where they recently revealed at their Worldwide Developers Conference in June that 80% of their devices ran the latest iOS 5, and the disadvantages of Google’s open policy become clear.

Android is in a rut – at least in attaining the numbers they want from Ice Cream Sandwich. New features are being developed, but not seen. Malware is becoming ever more rampant, despite best efforts. They clearly need to exert some pressure on mobile manufacturers to update archaic Android versions present on their phones, if developing for Android is going to continue to be lucrative.

On a positive sidenote for Ice Cream Sandwich - the Razrdroid project, part of the Raspberry Pi foundation, have got the credit card sized computer to run Android 4.0, bar some sound barriers. We’ll be interested to see what this leads to. Although no code is available just yet, check out the soundless video below to see it in action.


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