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Ice Cream Sandwich now on 1.6% of Android devices, Gingerbread at 62%


The Android Platform Distribution Chart could be called the Fragmentation Chart because it merely outlines how ridiculously divided we are between theory and reality in the Android world. Though Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was announced last October, and the first retail product to ship with it, the Galaxy Nexus, was released in December, we are still sitting at 1.6% of total devices. And there are a lot of devices.

But at this year’s Mobile World Congress, a showcase for the biggest device launches of the coming year, the vast majority of Androids were shown off running Gingerbread, an OS that was launched in December 2010. Sure, we’ve heard all the stories: OEMs only get the code when we see it, and it takes them ages to optimize it for their specific hardware. But we’re entering March with no clear view in sight of when devices will launch en masse with Ice Cream Sandwich.

But that’s a rant for another day. Google has released the latest version numbers for Android distribution, and Gingerbread is sitting pretty with 62% of the tally, with Froyo a distant second at 25.3%. Honeycomb seems stationary, sitting at a stable 3.3%, and should only shrink from now as most tablets are launching (thankfully) with ICS.

The newest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, has 1.6% of total market share, but the vast majority of those users are running Android 4.0.3. This is significant because only software built from the Android Open Source Project — namely custom ROMs such as CyanogenMOD and MIUI —  are natively running that version. The GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus is running Android 4.0.1 or 4.0.2, while the Verizon version has been upgraded to 4.0.4. The build that was briefly distributed for the Nexus S ran 4.0.3, but the rollout was stopped after a few days and hasn’t resumed. *Update: While the good point was made that tablets such as the Asus Transformer Prime were updated to version 4.0.3, if Honeycomb version totals are anything to go by, the number of tablets running ICS is statistically insignificant compared to the potential number of phones not running ICS.

Compared to last month, Gingerbread is up by 3.4%, Froyo is down by 2.5% and Ice Cream Sandwich is up by 0.6%. Not a bad month, all told.

Though we can’t know for sure how many devices Google is tracking (they measure devices who launch the Android Market between given times), it’s interesting to speculate how many of those are running custom ROMs — certainly over a million — but it’s no longer just a small subset of users, that’s for sure.

Source: Android Developers Blog

  • LEKO

    More than 92% are running 2.2+. And there is more device on 2.1 compared to 3.x.

    A little mistake in your article. The Asus Transformer Prime is officially running 4.0.3. It’s not only CM9 or AOSP devices that runs this version.

  • wp74life

    Funny how wp7.5 is on every devices, like tango will be.
    jealousy is a bad thing android friends.

    • bob

      And yet, mango doesn’t have the feature level of Android 2.1 (such as real multitasking, free high quality turn by turn satnav, app sideloading, etc.)

    • WP74Life

      Such as real multitasking ?
      This isn’t webOS which was and still the only OS offering REAL Multitasking.

    • Dalex

      Why don’t you just change your name to Troll4life. You are making WP7 look worse than it actually is. As bob mentioned, android eclair has more functionality than mango and is how old now?

      WP7 is about as relevant as Samsung Bada (actually less if you look at market share). Did you buy your amazing Nokia Lumia 800 yet, with its 2010 specs and 530$ price? Are you kidding me here?

      Until WP8 comes out, no one gives a rat’s a*s about WP7, besides Nokia.

    • bob

      Android has real multitasking. Apps can continue to work in the background if needed. Just look at Skype.

    • TheCyberKnight

      @bob

      And how many consumers do you think really need the Android style multitasking on their phone? Or application side-loading? What about the battery life and security?

      How many consumers would benefit having the latest OS features?

      Now, you have a clue. The Mango deployment style is by far more benefitial to consumers. Geeks are almost a rounding error in this pool size.

    • TheCyberKnight

      @bob

      Windows Phone does support background tasks. They only are managed and operate within limited parameters to provide a controlled experience. This is mostly to prevent the typical Android scenario where you have something eating up your battery within few hours.

      The normal consumer does not want to care about backgroud processes on a phone. Neither most of them actually understands what this is all about.

  • Milpool

    I’m still waiting for my device to move to ICS…. I don’t wanna install it myself. I want Google to send it to me. C’MON GOOGLE! DO IT!

  • studystand

    1.6%… So what, like one more device since last time? I wonder if it’ll break 50% by the time Jelly Bean 5.0 comes out.

  • cnote

    I’d be more than happy to install it myself if only my device was supported. Seriously. Bought this phone in October, and doesnt look like I will be getting ICS at all. Seriously though, The custom ROMS out there don’t make me too envious of ICS. There are plenty of choices if you tinker a little.

  • jellmoo

    This isn’t on Google. This all comes down to manufacturers and carriers not supporting handsets in a timely manner (if at all). It should not take 6+ months for a top of the line handset released in the past year to get an official update.

    There needs to be greater accountability on these handset makers and the carriers selling the devices to get updates out in a reasonable time frame and offer continued support for what amounts to be a major purchase.

    • ehoustoun

      what about the Nexus S? the google branded device that was a year old when ICS launched, I think them failing to bring ICS to the Nexus S is kinda on Google there.

    • WP74Life

      This is all on google.
      See the situation like they would have invented for example, car brakes.
      Well, they all work the same way but some have different materials, diffent ventilation, etc..
      Same thing here, google release a new discovery that don’t Easily Fit on every devices, which is why they have such delay.
      Why are the updates faster on Iphones and Wp7 ?
      Because the hardware is controlled, this is why you have so much fluidity and easy update.
      Ohh and, programmers are lazy. Why would they work like crazy to release ICS while they can promote their tegra 300 and it’ll sell like hot bread. iSheep, androTards.

    • A-No-Body

      This is all on google.
      See the situation like they would have invented for example, car brakes.
      Well, they all work the same way but some have different materials, diffent ventilation, etc..
      Same thing here, google release a new discovery that don’t Easily Fit on every devices, which is why they have such delay.
      Why are the updates faster on Iphones and Wp7 ?
      Because the hardware is controlled, this is why you have so much fluidity and easy update.
      Ohh and, programmers are lazy. Why would they work like crazy to release ICS while they can promote their tegra 300 and it’ll sell like hot bread. iSheep, androTards.

  • uranus

    Custom roms are the future. Installation needs to be crash proof and made easier for novice users.

  • George

    I’m still waiting for 4.0.2 update for my Telus Samsung Galaxy Nexus that was promised to be released 2 weeks ago. Still says my system is currently up to date. Why is Google so slow at releasing updates, like come on already.

    • daveloft

      Google doesn’t update your Galaxy Nexus, Samsung does. But if you would like to change that look into installing the original international firmware on your device like I did. Google “How to change from yakjuux to yakju on Galaxy Nexus” and you will get updated by Google directly.

  • sp

    damn it samsung give me ICS for my SGS2…. before my birthday please..thats all i want. lol

  • joe

    how do i put my galaxy nexus on 1.5 cupcake??

  • daveloft

    It’s relevant for app developers as it’s good to know what API level to target to hit the majority of devices. Building your app for 2.2 gives you compatibility with 92.2% of Android devices.

  • Rami

    I have been a supporter of android since day 1 but the update delays are so ridiculous i moved on. Its completely ridiculous to be waitin for 4-6 months to get an update when ios and windows users get it all at the same time or almost at the same time. I say we stop talking and we vote with our $. If the numbers of sell drop, im pretty sure google and the manufacturers will find a ‘better’ solution. Money talks

    • Nick

      Personally I prefer my Nexus S on 2.3 than an iPhone 4 on iOS 5. It’s not a valid argument though, because I took the time to root, flash ICS, and overclock and now my Nexus S wipes the floor with anything the iPhone 4 could ever do.

      p.s. I’m comparing the Nexus S to the iPhone 4 because they’re of the same generation. You can say the same thing about the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S.

  • trevor

    Bought the nexus to get the google updates only to find out samsung will be updating it. Great, what a scam. Samsung is brutal with the updates. I hope windows os gets better, i will do the switch. Im not wasting hours researching how to hack my phone so i can get it to do what its supposed to.

    • Nick

      Rooting your Nexus S is worth it. I learned out of frustration with waiting for the ICS update and now I’m loving it so much I will probably never to back to stock even when they do release it.

      I was on stock ICS for a while (the Nexus S 4G update + flashed the Koodo radio), and this custom ROM wipes the floor with it. Better performance AND better battery life.

  • TheCyberKnight

    Less than 6% of the phones run the last 2 versions. This is simply ridiculous.

    And most of them will never receive an updated OS. The Android platform is clearly built on expected device renewal. OEMs don’t bother investing in the update process. They assume the phone will be dropped for a newer one soon enough.

  • Research first please

    the Verizon version (Of Galaxy Nexus) has been upgraded to 4.0.4

    FALSE FALSE FALSE

  • whoa

    This article is a troll farm.

  • Michael

    I’m not sure what a “troll farm” is, but I can say with certainty that us Verizon GNex owners have not “been upgraded to 4.0.4″.

  • ICS for Desire Z

    Is Desire Z already abandoned by HTC? There is no update for it…

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