The new Android M or now known as Marshmallow is just around the corner and it is expected to be released along with 2 new Nexus devices. With the new OS version going live, Google has released its latest Android breakdown figures based on active devices on the Android and Google Play ecosystem.
While the current Android Lollipop is gaining momentum taking up 21% (inclusive of Android 5.0 and 5.1), majority of Android devices are still running on KitKat which stands at 39.2%.
What’s more surprising is that a substantial number of devices are still running on versions that are more than 2 years old. If you look at the chart above, a total of 31.8% of Android devices are still on Jelly Bean which covers Android 4.1 to 4.3, making it the 2nd highest used right after KitKat. Meanwhile the rest of the older versions including Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread and Froyo stands under 5%, which mostly should be retired by now.
While the upgrades from KitKat from Jelly Bean seems to be fast, the fact remains that most devices are still being left behind without much software updates. This is partly due to respective device makers that have ended software support for older models or are simply reluctant to make the switch to newer versions in favour of its own custom UI. Some brands especially from China have re-skinned the interface so much, it looks anything but an Android device. Of course, being an open platform, the adventurous ones can find a way to get the latest OS with the use of Custom ROMs.
Unlike Apple or BlackBerry where its has better control over both hardware and software, the Android environment is quite vibrant which sometimes is seen to be fragmented. There are different brands, hardware choices, added features and software customisation involved, making it a challenge to ensure every device maker is on the same page. With software support becoming a huge concern by consumers, some brands have pledged for quicker software updates and pathces especially after the recent Stagefright incident.