Editorial: When Will Gingerbread Lose The Top Percentage Of Android Devices?

Every month the developers of Android update a chart – this chart contains the latest distribution numbers of Android, including exact percentages of the different Android versions. And, it’s almost become a monthly feature, as we always post the results within the first couple days of a new month. Just yesterday we posted the latest numbers for July, and while we were not surprised, the numbers speak for the poor distribution of Android versions.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread held the dominant position, with around 60% of all Android devices running it. Considering it has been almost two years since Gingerbread was released, that number is absolutely disgusting. Of all the millions of Android devices in the world, there’s a 3/5 chance that a phone is running an incredibly outdated version of Android.

So, who’s to blame? Manufacturers would be the key culprit, but Google has some filth on their hands as well. The month of July saw plenty of phones and tablets updated to Ice Cream Sandwich – probably more than any other month so far – but the total number of devices running Ice Cream Sandwich came out to only 15.9% of ALL Android devices. Take into account the 10 million Galaxy S IIIs shipped, along with the One series sales, and it the question becomes: how many devices were actually updated?

I know more than a few people who see an update for their phone, and simply disregard it. They have no desire to lose the ability to text and check Twitter for 10 minutes, along with the scare that their phone might be broken. It’s no secret that many OEM Android updates don’t function as they should more often than not, and the number of updates pulled within a day of release is astonishing when you think of how often it happens. My good friend Dan – a guy who is not tech savvy at all – said, when he first saw the Android 4.0 update for his Galaxy S II Skyrocket , and I quote: “I don’t want to update my phone, it usually gets slow and laggy whenever there’s a new update”.

I digress.

So, manufacturers need to drastically improve the update process, but what about Google? The big G sits back, only worrying about updates for their Nexus devices. They do a piss-poor job of that too, something I have voiced more than once. The thing that confuses me most is why? Why Google? Wouldn’t you want all Android devices to have Chrome? Wouldn’t you want all of them to have Google Now? In the end, all these features only equal more money for Google, yet they still don’t seem to care.

July was the first month for Jelly Bean to hit the distribution charts, with a whooping 0.8% share. No, I didn’t expect much more, but it was the fact that the majority of Android devices are two updates behind. So I pose the question: when will Gingerbread lose the top spot in Android distribution charts? At the rate things are going, it looks like it might be 2013 when that happens.

Tags: , , ,