Google: Almost 30% of devices are on Lollipop, 0.5% on Marshmallow

Igor Bonifacic

December 8, 2015 1:51pm

Google has just released the latest Android distribution numbers.

As in previous months, the company’s statistics paint a familiar picture: the majority of Android users are running software more than two years old. Thankfully, that picture may soon change. Let’s take a look.

december Platform Versions

More than two months after the release of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, as well as the release of Marshmallow to other Google-branded devices like the Nexus 6, Android 6.0 is now on 0.5 percent of devices. With most recent Android smartphones not set to get 6.0 (and the taco-filled 6.0.1) before sometime early next year, Marshmallow’s installation numbers likely won’t jump significantly for another couple of months.

More significantly, these numbers give us an approximation of how consumers have responded to the Nexus 5X and 6P. With more than 1.4 billion active Android users — according to the latest numbers shared by Google CEO Sundar Pichai — and 0.5 percent of those people on Marshmallow, it’s safe to say that, leaving aside the substantial install base of Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 users, people are taking nicely to the Nexus 5X and 6P.

Moving on, while still the single most popular version of Android, KitKat continues its steady decline. In November, 37.8 percent of Android devices visiting the Google Play Store were running 4.4. One month later, that number has declined to 36.6 percent.

KitKat’s declining numbers have done wonders for the adoption of Lollipop. Since November, the number of phones running some version of Android 5.0 and 5.1 has increased by almost 4 percentage points. Lollipop is now on almost 30 percent of Android devices.

  • o_zzy

    2/3 of android users are using KitKat or above. At least that something. Froyo, Gingerbread and ICS need to die a quick and painful death.

    • Vito R.

      Yeah, that’s not going to happen – they’re going to linger on…

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    Numbers can say anything you want them to say. I love the fact that we can see still numbers for older devices, cause not like other OS vendors who enforce OS upgrades to keep using their services (even if it is to gain marginnal features compared to the full capabilities of the latest OS) it show the long life support or usability of the OS itself.

    Android has long been recognize to have a longer longevity life cycle in had of users than Apple iphones. Only cause the later have a user base than are more prone to upgrade on every two iterations of the device comparaed to Android, where users will hold to their phones for longer.

    • Karl Dagenais

      Like you said, numbers can say anything you want them to.

      I’m not sure people keep their android devices longer because of usability or long life support… I think android, on average, don’t spend as much on their gadgets because they can’t and keep the devices longer because of their finances.

      IPhone 4S is on ios 9… Is the S3 anywhere near marshmallow? Or the low cost devices in India and China?

    • cartfan88

      S3 got up to 5.1 with Cyanogen 12.1. Sure it’s not official support but the option is there if you want it.

      And that’s a stupid assumption that they keep their phone longer because of finances.

    • Karl Dagenais

      Custom roms aren’t long term support from the OEM…

    • Domino67

      Yes us poor people can only have Android. I take it you’re not familiar with Google Services. These “old” phones will have updated Google services without needing a whole OS upgrade like other mobile OS’s.

    • Karl Dagenais

      Thin skin, I see. I didn’t say everyone on Android is poor, I said Android’s market share as a whole includes MANY people from poor countries, as some android phones are available for as low as under 100$. You won’t see an iphone at that price. Of course people buying flagships in Canada aren’t in the same boat…

      Also I am familiar with Google Services, but while the concept is great for security, I’m still not seeing Doze or Google Now on Tap on my Lollipop G4… OS upgrades still have their usefulness.

    • MassDeduction

      People buying flagships in Canada may be in the same boat. I’ve read my share of news stories on Mobilesyrup about flagship handsets from Sony and others who’re chronically late to the game with updates.

    • ShaBi

      Android has been recognize to have longer life cycle? I think a lot of the people who are on old devices just simply don’t care too much to upgrade, or are they financially able to upgrade. Most of these people just need a phone to make calls, and they have no intention to pay extra for something they don’t need. Which goes back to explain why they purchased an Android device in the first place – it’s cheap and gets the job done.

      Not everything has to do with one OS vs the other. Lots of real life factors should be accounted for but not many people here think about that.

    • Brad Fortin

      Wait, which other OS vendors force OS upgrades to keep using their services? Are we about talking Windows?

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      MS do that by no longer supporting a giving OS ie XP and Apple does that with their iphone line, I know this because my perefectly fine 3GS stopped receiving upgrades after version 4.x. So if I wanted to be able to use the latest OS I have to get something new and IIRC even of some older devices were able to load the latest iOS (back then was ver 8) they do not get the full range of new features, and that is why I said numbers are just numbers. There is no point to get the latest version if you can’t get the latest features that come with it. But it sure helps on your distribution chart, be it Android, iOS or Windows10

    • cartfan88

      3GS got up to IOS 6.1.3.

    • MassDeduction

      Microsoft supported Windows XP for, what, fifteen years? And even then you can still use all compatible Microsoft services with it (Office, OneDrive, etc.).

      There are points to the latest version if it adds security improvements, even in situations where newer features aren’t enabled.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      And that is why there are so many Android devices out there still running early versions of KitKat cause companies are making cheap tablets with it.

    • Vito R.

      Right, vendors abandoning their products is a good thing.

      Android is NOT recognized as having a longer life cycle than iPhone when no vendor has supported their phone for even 3 years.

      I’d like some of your Kool Aid.

    • MassDeduction

      Both of my Android devices are stuck on Gingerbread. Why would I not want the new features, bug fixes, and security improvements that new versions offer?

      My experience has been wanting official updates and being refused them. I got an OG iPhone, and the last official OS update for it was two years later. I bought a pair of Gingerbread Android tablets and neither ever had an official OS update from their respective OEMs.

      In contrast, my Lumia 920 Windows Phone, released in 2012, discontinued in 2014, is getting an official update to Windows 10 Mobile soon, and Microsoft has already pledged to continue official support for Windows 10 Mobile at least until 2018 (possibly quite a bit longer).

      You talk about being forced onto updates. That is the way with game consoles (Xbox and Playstation force you to take updates whether you like it or not, if you’re going to stay connected to their respective online services). That’s not my experience with mobile devices. I’ve had an OG iPhone, an iPad 2, a couple of Android tablets, a variety of Surface tablets, and too many Windows Phones to count. In every case, updates (if they were offered) were optional and I could still connect to official services even without accepting the optional updates.

      Many Android devices have no official upgrade path option, and this says way more about why there are so many Android devices on old versions than people preferring older versions IMO. 0.5% on the current versiono? Only 30% on the immediately previous version? Those are terrible numbers: 7% of Windows Phones are on Windows 10 Mobile even though it’s not even out yet (the only way to get it at present is to buy one of the just-released Lumias, or to be a part of the Preview programme). And everyone knows that iOS is the king of rapid adoption of a new version (despite the problems they had with iOS 8.x).

  • Anthony Roberts

    Man Marshmallow should have been 5.2 to be honest….Sigh…fragmentation….

    • Vito R.

      This isn’t really fragmentation – most devices above Android 4.0 are supported. People just aren’t using the new features of the OS, but their apps still work.

  • neo905

    How can Marshmallow have barely more of an adoption rate than Froyo? That’s a disgrace.

    • Mo Dabbas

      You know, coz People like to install froyo on their note 5.

    • MassDeduction

      No, but there are people with modern Android flagships who don’t have an official release of the current version of Android available. That *is* a problem, IMO. I read articles on Mobilesyrup about Android flagships from Sony and others getting tardy upgrades, so it is a problem.

    • Vito R.

      Froyo has been out a lot longer – more devices sold.

    • neo905

      The moon walk has been out for a long time too. But nobody is going to bust that move out at the clubs thing weekend.

    • Vito R.

      But lots of people still know how to do it 😉

    • neo905

      Yes but knowing how do to something and wanting to do it are two different things. Froyo is the herpes of OS’. It just won’t go away.

    • Omar

      Froyo has been out for years, Marshmallow has been out for a couple of months and only on Nexus phones and HTC’s new flagship.

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  • Vito R.

    Woo hoo – I’m part of the 0.5%!

    • Domino67

      Froyo? 😉

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  • Omar

    I just went back to Kit Kat from Lollipop yesterday (CyanogenMod though).

  • Stevert

    Kitkat was the last bearable version. All the gapps after that are focused on ads and selling you more. Productivity and interface were thrown out in an iphone looking material design.

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