Jelly Bean distribution checks in at 2.7%, Gingerbread still sits on more than half of all Android devices


While Google’s tendency to keep the world updated on Android platform distribution numbers is more for the benefit of developers (after all, they have to know who to target), the tech world grasps onto these numbers with a tight death grip out of sheer interest. Welp, the latest report is up and things aren’t looking too out of the ordinary here.

For starters, newcomer Jelly Bean has managed to break a little ground with 2.7% of the share so far. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 has a huge part in this as it was the first device to come shipped with Jelly Bean and that phone has sold 3 million units so far. But there are also the Nexus devices which are sure to make up a good chunk of that.

Whichever way you slice the pie, though, the share is still quite small compared to previous versions, natch. For instance, Ice Cream Sandwich now exists on 25.8% of all devices. It hasn’t quite been able to break the same ground Gingerbread did on the phone side of things, unfortunately, and with Jelly Bean taking center stage it likely won’t ever reach those heights.

That’s a good thing, but none of it will mean anything unless we can get that Gingerbread count down. The legacy OS (it’s still totally operational, it’s just not the most modern version) still takes up 54.2% of all devices.

Most new phones and tablets are launching with Ice Cream Sandwich or higher so we can attribute Gingerbread’s resiliency to the fact that many phones have been left in the dark in regards to OTA upgrades. It’s a shame, but that’s the sad truth that we have to deal with. Most folks with these “dead in water” phones probably won’t be getting rid of them until their upgrades are up so Gingerbread could be the king for quite some time.

The reason it’s important to want Gingerbread to die is because it would accelerate development for Holo UI apps instead of people sticking to the old UI framework. There are a good amount of apps modernized already, but there are a lot more that simply haven’t caught up with the times. It’s not clear how things will look the next time Google updates these numbers but we don’t expect any huge jumps between now and then. Be sure to head to the source link for the full report.

[via Android Developers]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. It’s always going to be like this unless OEM’s get rid of custom skins, and they, along with carriers, give over all update responsibility to Google alone.

    1. its not just the skins,its carriers and the companies too,they use these updates as a feature to make people upgrade to the next phone..i feel sorry for atrix customers,they ahve a phone with a dual core,1gb ram and wont get ics yet huawei have upgrade the g300 which is £100 phone has 1ghz single core and 512 ram and has got ics.

  2. The way I look at it the real problem is the lack of vendor commitment to releasing newer version of android to older phones. They seem to look at it as a selling point to upgrade to a new phone rather than a way of building customer loyalty. I know I’d be more likely to keep coming back to a specific vendor if they regularly updated their phones (I’m looking at you Motorola, abandoning my atrix 4g).

    1. It’s absolutely ridiculous the Atrix won’t get ICS (I sold mine back in May). Having said that, it really doesn’t make much sense for a manufacturer to support a phone for more than 20-24 months. For one, yes they do want you to buy the latest and greatest. For two, making software work for a particular phone takes a lot of engineering hours that would be better used to support current phones.

      1. i dont even think thats an excuse really for example in xda single person makes the latest updates available for phones without having all the specific information so i dont think that a multi billion dollar company cant update a phone…its all about money like you said they using these updates as away to force users to get the next phone..which is totally wrong,if a phone is capable and id within 2 years of release it should be updated..if xda can do it then proffesionals should have no problem.

        1. That’s not quite true. Look at how long it takes CM or AOKP to get to steady builds for phones, and usually there are a quite a few people working on each phone. They still currently are on nightlies, and while they are very solid there is no way they are perfect. (Although I’d say they have less bugs than some older versions of Blur that were released lol). Now throw in software that goes above what AOSP does, like the camera. It all takes time.

          Part of the problem was the “lets release 100 phones” mentality. Once you release that many devices, there is no economical way to support them all software wise. Clearly this is the completely the manufacturers fault, so don’t think I’m trying to take the blame on them.

          Hopefully with less phones and lighter skins manufacturers will be able to dramatically shorten their turn around times, but it takes a couple years to get old phones to go away (Moto) and some manufacturers are still releasing far too many (HTC). Google could also help the process some by not designing new versions of Android around a particular chipset (opening up the Nexus program could help this a TON).

          1. lets remember that xda devs do not have the necessary drivers for camera,audio etc for these devices where as if they had it would be much quicker..example if you look at the phones that have cm or aokp any issues are related to camera and audio etc..these companies have all the drivers needed so they cant use it would take too long as an excuse…am sure if they gave these propriety drivers to xda,xda would have these updates out in no time…

    2. I hate Motorola. Believe me that they treat the rest of the world worse than US too….

  3. My Nexus One is an outstanding “phone” — which is really what matters — so there’s really no reason for me replace it. My tablets are all on 3.x and 4.x.

  4. I’m stuck for another 18 months under contract with 3.3 (motorola photon). Vendors may think we’ll just roll over and accept their lack of commitment ( and maybe things will improve in the way Android vendors do updates before I get a chance to update) but as it stands right now, my next phone will not be an Android and my recommendation to friends and family is to get an iphone!

    1. A vast majority of my friends and family don’t even know what ICS and Jelly Bean are. They are just as happy with Gingerbread. Not saying that makes it OK for OEMs and carriers to neglect older phones, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know or don’t care about which version of Android they have. Most just want a phone that works.

      1. It’s a fair point but when the hit the stumbling block of not being able to install an app they like the look of because their OS’s API level isn’t supported then it becomes an issue for these more average consumers. They shouldn’t need to know about this it should just happen for them. These days any time someone asks me which phone they should buy I urge them to go Nexus.

  5. If most of us are on 2.3 (and I am, until I can upgrade) then why do I want Holo? It’s no good to me or the useless buggers at Motorola.

    1. the point is we want less people on gingerbread and more people on ICS/JB. This way more app developers make their apps Holo themed as well decreasing fragmentation, which seems worse when half the apps are themed one way and the rest are themed the old way. While Android is decidedly open and free some degree of unity is needed, and Android craves it.

  6. Developers might be their own worst enemies by supporting Gingerbread. There comes a time when you have to declare a platform end-of-life. Realistically, though, it won’t ever happen because if one app maker stops support, another opportunistic developer will step in keeping the problem alive. Until the hardware starts failing, Gingerbread will be around a long time.

  7. doesnt anyone know why Gingerbread is so ubiquitous? Its really taking alot to get rid of it.

    1. its stable and many people use their phone until it doesnt work anymore (my dad still on his flip phone, which is coincidentally a tank), many phones weren’t coming out with ICS/JB right out of the gate just yet when people bought their current phones so they’re stuck for 2 years until upgrade, and carriers take forever to update. its a matter of time, really, but by then maybe KLP will be out which would mess everything up. Android maybe needs to slow down and do like small updates, how they did with 4.2.

    2. I think it has to do with minimum hardware requirements

    3. MANY of the older devices simply don’t support >2.x
      My Old HTC Hero is stuck on 2.3, ROM developers say they could put workarounds in place to shoehorn ICS onto it, but the performance would be shockingly poor and take them a lot of time to implement, so they’re just putting little updates here and there under 2.3

      People in this thread say about switching to iCrap as this problem doesn’t exist, while completely ignorant to the fact that old iPhone aren’t being updated either.

      Also, as stated by others, much of the general public aren’t aware they can update devices or are scared to do so and will keep their phones until they fail. All this updating malarkey IS still very new on phones.

  8. I’m leaving Android… Can anyone point me to an OS that’s restricted, has a tiny screen and lackluster customization?

    1. Operating systems don’t have screens.

  9. But here’s the thing – we [enthusiasts] are the exception, the average Joe just don’t really have any interest in the android OS that is on their phone. I was talking with a lady at work who has the same phone as myself & she was complaining about how slow her phone was – she was still running Eclair – officially she can upgrade to gingerbread but although aware that she could update she didn’t wanna “mess around with all that hassle”

    Another geezer he had no idea what version he was running – & again thought it was not worth his time – wait for it – taking the phone back to the retailer & paying them to upgrade his OS ! !

    The people just are not interested.

    1. I had iphone 4, i loved how we didn’t have to go through AT&T to get our IOS upgrade! I waited to see if the screen on the iphone 5 was what I wanted, but when I saw it wasn’t big enough for me, I jumped over to Verizon and got the Galaxy SIII. Now I find out Verizon sticks me with Bloatware, and won’t give me the latest OS. I am on 4.0.4. And it says I am up to date… What can I do… I love the Galaxy S3 and am happy I made the change.

  10. “Welp”?

  11. You could use the same graph for Verizon subscribers.

  12. Htc desire HD was promised then had its rug pulled from under it .its manufacturers fault this fragmentation and partly google for letting them get away with it why upgrade a handset when u can buy a new one

  13. i dont believe half the phones sporting android OS are even capable of running ICS or jellybean. a lot of people still living in the stone age with their dinosaur phones. the GS3 JB roll out has started in the US with sprint getting it first and all the other latest high end phone releases are getting jellybean as well.

    google making their latest OS available to so many phones with varying technology would probably be a big headache. i imagine its a whole lot easier for apple to upgrade their phones being that they only have a grand total of six phones in existence, they’re all basically the same phone with incremental upgrades, and its their own phone so they dont have to deal with manufacturers and the crap they want to add to the phone.

    google’s own nexus line comes out of the box with the latest and greatest of what their android OS has to offer. they should, however, continue to support the galaxy nexus and rethink their decision to not have a SD slot. hopefully they get that right with the next nexus.

  14. Still running Froyo on my old Desire, phone works great still. Going to pickup a Nexus 4 asap tho!!

  15. Battery life on GB was excellent, but ICS drains the battery. Be careful ehat you wish for….
    Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch.

  16. I think you guys forgot to factor in that if the market grows enough to overwhelm the number of gingerbread devices it will not matter how long it takes for gingerbread to come down from where it is at.

  17. My phone is stuck on Android 2.3.6 courtesy of Verizon and the updates continuously fail. What a surprise! I even contacted Motorola but they could do nothing short of me sending in my phone and possibly paying a $120 fee.

    Some alternative.

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