Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA
Google's data reveals that Android 4.0's presence in the market has grown less than one percent in the last month.
There are still hardly any Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones available for sale, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the latest Android statistics compiled by Google.
Google measures the incidence of each Android variant accessing the Android Market, nee, Google Play, in 14-day chunks. In the latest 14-day chunk, only 1.6% of all devices accessing the Android Market were running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's up just over half a percentage point, and includes Android 4.0 through Android 4.0.3. So, in three months of availability, Ice Cream Sandwich has clawed from 0% to a fractional 1.6%. That's pathetic.
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In the U.S., the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom have been given official Android 4.0 updates. Most other Android handsets are waiting to be updated--if they are to be updated at all. For example, Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced that only 12 of the devices its lineup--five of which are tablets--will be updated to Android 4.0.
[ Even if you can't get the latest Android OS, you can get the latest content from Google. Read Google Play Merges Android Market With Music, eBookStore. ]
Looking at the rest of the field, Google points out that Gingerbread's share of the Android universe actually grew, too, stealing a bit from Froyo and Eclair. Android 2.3 swelled from 58.6% to 62% in February, meaning three out of five Android devices are running the version of Android that was released in December 2010.
Every other variant of Android lost share in the last month.
Honeycomb fell from 3.4% to 3.3% in total share of the Android platform; Froyo fell two percentage points to 25.3%; Eclair fell one point to 6.6%; and Donut and Cupcake combined amount to 1.2% of the active Android installed base. It is somewhat depressing that Froyo, which was released in mid-2010, is still present on one out of four Android devices. Gingerbread and Froyo together own about 88% of the entire Android platform.
So where's Ice Cream Sandwich? Still missing in action, for the most part, but its arrival is approaching.
Google released the platform code to phone makers in November. (Samsung got a head start, receiving the code in October.) Once the equipment companies were able to download the code, they have to mold it to fit each individual phone. Why? Because phones use an array of different chips and other components that must be accounted for within the code. Once the code is adapted to each device, it is then sent to wireless network operators for testing before it can be distributed to consumers. Even installing Android 4.0 on brand new phones will take time.
That's why the bulk of phones announced at CES and MWC will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the months to come.
If you want Ice Cream Sandwich right_now_TODAY, you'll have to cough up the dough for a phone that comes with Android 4.0 preinstalled. Otherwise, be prepared to wait.
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