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2/8/2013
11:45 AM
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Android 4.x Coming On Strong

The failure by telco carriers and hardware OEMs to provide updates to the Android versions on their devices has kept a strong base of users of old versions. But the latest data from Google show that the current 4.x generation of Android is approaching 50% of users.

The latest data from Google on Android versions in use in the wild show that the current generation of the mobile operating system is approaching 50% of the installed base.

Devices running versions 4.0.x (Ice Cream Sandwich) and 4.1.x/4.2.x (Jelly Bean) total up to 42.6 percent of those accessing the Google Play store in a recent sampling. The dataset was collected during a 14-day period ending on February 1, 2013.

VersionCodenameAPIDistribution
1.6Donut40.2%
2.1Eclair72.2%
2.2Froyo88.1%
2.3 - 2.3.2Gingerbread90.2%
2.3.3 - 2.3.71045.4%
3.1Honeycomb120.3%
3.2131.0%
4.0.3 - 4.0.4Ice Cream Sandwich1529.0%
4.1Jelly Bean1612.2%
4.2171.4%

The API level in the table is a good proxy for features available. Version 2.3.x (Gingerbread) is still clearly the most common version, but also clearly declining, as is more easily seen in the historical graph below.

Android app authors have begun to take advantage of the features in 4.x, but doing so is more obviously justified now. Android devices with the more recent versions are themselves the more recent devices, and the users likely more open to new apps. Starting, for instance, with API level 15, Android included Chrome instead of the previous Android web browser and better voice integration with apps.

Also as a service for developers, Google provides, in the same report, data on the screen size and OpenGL version on devices. 86.6 percent of devices have a 'normal' (as opposed to small, large and xlarge) screen size. Here are what those terms mean:

  • xlarge screens are at least 960dp x 720dp
  • large screens are at least 640dp x 480dp
  • normal screens are at least 470dp x 320dp
  • small screens are at least 426dp x 320dp
The reasonable conclusion is that the vast majority of Android devices are phones, as opposed to tablets.

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