The lurking menace of Android Gingerbread is now on less than 30% of devices. Almost half of all of Android devices in wild are now running some version of version Jelly Bean, according to the latest data from Google. Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 (which fall under the “Jelly Bean” moniker) now account for 48.6% of all Android devices that reach Google’s servers on a monthly basis.
The extraordinarily persistent 2.3 Gingerbread continues to fall in market share, now running on less than 30% of Android devices at 28.5%. Froyo is now a distant memory, on only 2.2% of Android devices. Google does not report on versions of the operating system running on less than 0.1% of overall distribution.
The latest version of Android—4.3 Jelly Bean—is making its first appearance in Google’s distribution dashboard at 1.5% of devices. So far, the only devices that run 4.3 Jelly Bean are Google Nexus devices (smartphones and tablets) that have been updated to the version announced in July. The new Nexus 7 tablet ships with Android 4.3, while the only non-Nexus device to ship with 4.3 is Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Note 3 “phablet.”
The first version of Jelly Bean—Android 4.1—now runs on 36.5% of devices. Jelly Bean 4.1 was announced at Google I/O in 2012. Jelly Bean 4.2 was announced in October 2012 and now runs on 10.6% of Android devices.
It is important to note that Google’s distribution numbers do not reflect the total pool of devices that run Android across the globe. Google only measures and reports on devices that touch on the company’s servers in a given month. So, if a user has not visited the Android Google Play Store in a month, the device would not be recorded in Google’s reports.
Google’s data gathering and reporting methods means that a whole host of Android devices are not recorded. For instance, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which runs a forked version of Android that cannot access Google Play or other Google apps, is not part of this report. Nor are most Android devices in China.
According to a report from mobile analyst Benedict Evans using data from analytics platform Umeng, only 5.6% of Android app installs are from Google Play. The vast majority of app downloads in China are from third-party app stores that are often regionally specific. Many millions of Chinese residents use Android smartphones that can’t (or don’t) access Google Play from manufacturers like Huawei, ZTE, LG and Samsung.
Most Android developers in the United States are going to build for Google Play first, so the worldwide distribution of Android operating systems is not quite as important to them. Yet markets like China are increasingly important for developers to tap and Google has created new tools in its Google Play Services platform to help developers globalize their apps.