Dec, 03 2012

It’s that time again folks. Google has just updated their Android distribution numbers over on the Android Developers website and now we can see just how well things are going when it comes to the Android’s “F word” (fragmentation). While today’s numbers might sound bleak for some of you out there, things are definitely picking up steam for Jelly Bean. Here’s where we’re at when it comes to the percentage of devices currently available and the Android versions they’re running:

December 2012

  • Jelly Bean: 6.7%
  • Ice Cream Sandwich 27.5%
  • Gingerbread: 50.8%

November 2012

  • Jelly Bean: 2.7%
  • Ice Cream Sandwich: 25.8%
  • 54.2%

December 2011

  • Gingerbread: 50.6%
  • Froyo: 35.3%
  • Eclair: 9.6%

Okay, so let’s face it. Until Google does something crazy, it doesn’t look like Gingerbread is going away anytime soon (not until the hardware it’s running on goes out). In fact, if you compare this year’s Gingerbread numbers with December of 2011’s (50.6%), it looks like Gingerbread hasn’t really dropped much at all. What does this tell you? For one, more device are still launching everyday with the now ancient firmware, and secondly, a good amount of devices with Gingerbread aren’t making the jump to Ice Cream Sandwich.

As we all know, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was the “rebirth” of Android. Matias Duarte and team did an amazing job at finally unifying the OS across phones and tablets, while making Android look as good as it felt. While this sounds great for those with devices running Android 4.0, this most certainly didn’t help with fragmentation (ie: Android’s reputation). ICS was such a huge upgrade that, in a way, Google made it extremely difficult for aging hardware to make the jump. Taking a look back at Dec. 2011, Froyo accounted for over 40% of the Android distribution pie, whereas today, it’s almost completely fallen off the map at a measly 10%.

So, here’s my question: Do you think it’s Google’s responsibility to get that Gingerbread number down, and ICS/Jelly Bean up? If so, what do you think can be done to finally kill off the formidable Gingerdead Man? Maybe Google should come up with an “ICS Lite” with a few of Android 4.0’s more intensive apps removed? Or does Gingerbread conquering the Android pie not even matter in the grand scheme of things?