Android operating systems 4.0 and up are running on nearly half of Android devices now, according to the latest numbers from Google. Together, Android 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 totaled 42.6% of all Android devices. That's up a bit from 39.3% last month.
The percentage of devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich actually dropped a fraction during January, from 29.1% to 29.0%. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and 4.2 Jelly Bean both saw increases, however. Android 4.1 climbed from 9.0% to 12.2%, and Android 4.2 notched up from 1.2% to 1.4%. Together, Android 4.1 and 4.2 Jelly Bean account for 13.6% of all Android devices. Jelly Bean's growth can largely be attributed to devices being updated from Android 4.0 to Android 4.1, as few new Android 4.1 devices reached the market during January.
Jelly Bean was first announced in June 2012, and later updated in October 2012. Ice Cream Sandwich was first introduced in October 2011. The fact that Ice Cream Sandwich is just now reaching 29% of Android devices is a testament to how long it takes to shoehorn the operating system into hardware and get it approved by wireless network operators (this process typically consumes months).
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Apple's iOS update success rate is far, far better.
For example, Apple released iOS 6.1 on January 28. Within 36 hours, more than 22% of all iOS users had adopted it. Further, since iOS 6 was released in September 2012, 60% of all iOS devices have updated to the newest system. That's in stark contrast to how new versions of Android are adopted by Android hardware.
The rest of the Android OS field continues to dwindle. Gingerbread (Android 2.3) dropped from 47.6% to 45.6%. Gingerbread has long been the most-deployed version of Android. Android 2.2 Froyo runs on 8.1% of all Android devices, Android 2.1 Eclair powers 2.2% and Android 1.6 Donut has just 0.2%. The percentage of devices running Android 1.5 Cupcake has apparently dropped to a number so low that Google no longer reports it. Last month, Cupcake had a 0.2% share of Android devices.
Google deduces the percentage of devices running different Android versions by analyzing which devices access the Google Play Store over a 14-day period. It reports these findings once per month.