Taking baby steps forwards

Ice Cream Sandwich is gaining ground, at a slow pace

Google recently updated some figures showing the number of active Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich. Brace yourself; Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is finally up!  Before you get too excited, it’s only up 1.5 percentage points to 4.4%, still not the greatest figure but at least it’s up from last month when it was at a minuscule 2.9%. These figures were gathered based on the number of Android devices that accessed Google Play within a two week period.

For those of you who are interested, the pie chart below shows the Android platform league, so to speak, and Ice Cream Sandwich is clearly leaning towards the bottom of the table even though it is the newest version. The pie chart will also help developers to “understand the landscape of device distribution and decide how to prioritize the development of your application features for the devices currently in the hands of users.”

So why the sudden increase? Well it may have something to do with new handsets arriving on the market, namely HTC One X and One S. Updates also contribute to the increase, with existing devices such as HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy II and the Nexus S 4G all venturing into Ice Cream Sandwich realm.

Clearly, the most popular version is still Gingerbread, which also saw an increase from a mighty 63.7% of all devices to 64.4%. Despite Ice Cream Sandwich being the newest version which was released six months ago, companies and developers are still drawn to the Gingerbread platform, with many new phones using it, such as the Sony Xperia S for example.

Other versions have lost share - - with Froyo slipping to 20.9%, Eclair dropping to 5.5% and Android 1.5 and 1.6 together come to 1%, this can only be good news for Ice Cream Sandwich! InformationWeek predicted that Android 4.0 will climb in the next few months and we have to agree:

“Despite its weak presence in the market, Android 4.0 is set to climb quickly in the coming weeks and months. The HTC One X in particular, is an outstanding Android smartphone and will surely be a hit with AT&T subscribers. Same applies to the HTC One S for T-Mobile. These are two exciting devices that will expand Android 4.0s footprint. Additionally, Sony is prepared to deliver Android 4.0 to a growing number of its Xperia smartphones.”

For information about how to target your application to devices based on platform version, see API Levels.

Anna Kent

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