Google Starts to Overcome Android's Past

Google Starts to Overcome Android's Past

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Google Android has a bit of a fragmentation problem. That's easily the dominant mobile platform's biggest weakness, and one that the search giant has been aggressively trying to mitigate for years.

Fighting fragmentation is much easier said than done, though, as carriers and OEMs still present hurdles to timely software upgrades. The latest example is HTC, whose decision not to update the One S broke Google's promise to deliver software updates on devices for 18 months.

Primary rival Apple takes every opportunity to point out this aspect of Android. Just a month ago at WWDC, Tim Cook noted that Android 2.3 Gingerbread (released in 2010) was still the dominant version of Android, powering 37% of all Android devices. In contrast, 93% of iOS users were on the latest version of Apple's platform, iOS 6.

Google has just updated the statistics it provides developers on Android version distribution, and Big G is now starting to overcome its past. For the first time ever, Google can now claim that its latest version of Android powers the largest fraction of devices. Jelly Bean, which includes 4.1 and 4.2, is now powering 37.9% of Android users tapping into Google Play.


Code Name









Ice Cream Sandwich



Jelly Bean


Source: Google. Data collected during a 14-day period ending on July 8, 2013.

That's an important milestone for Google as it continues to battle fragmentation within Android, which has easily become the most popular mobile operating system in the world. There's still quite a large chunk of Gingerbread users out there, but it's shrinking slowly. Keep in mind that these figures only cover Google's version of Android, and don't include the distinct forked versions like's variant that runs its Kindle Fires.

Google's Nexus devices and the new Google Editions of various flagship smartphones are the first to get timely updates, which will help Big G's cause even more.

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