One of the most consistent gripes about Android is that its ecosystem is fragmented, forcing developers to support too many different versions of the OS at the same time. But that may be changing, according to the latest stats from Google.
In the Chocolate Factory's most recent poll of Android devices, published on Wednesday, more than half were running version 4.1 "Jelly Bean" or later – meaning they were more or less up to date.
Past polls have consistently shown a large number of devices running Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," a comparatively ancient version that debuted in late 2010. But these days such devices only make up 20 per cent of the total.
On the contrary, fully 62.5 per cent of all Android devices are now running any of the three "Jelly Bean" iterations or "KitKat," the brand-new version of the OS that launched last Halloween.
Granted, the number of devices running the latter version is quite small, at just 1.8 per cent of the total. But that's typical of new Android releases. Back in September, Android 4.3 didn't even chart, and now it's at 8.9 per cent.
The figures show Android seemingly closing the gap with Apple as far as the number of customers who are running a modern version of the OS.
A recent survey showed that iOS 7 had reached 75 per cent penetration among Apple fanbois in just three months after its September launch, while the adoption rate of iOS 6 had been nearly 90 per cent.
Android can't claim adoption rates like those yet, but it is heartening to see that a growing segment of the market has migrated to a version of the OS that offers up-to-date features, performance, and security.
Whether those customers received "upgrades" without buying new phones, however, is debatable. But with device makers expected to sell more than a billion Android mobes and slabs in 2014 alone, it seems likely that more Android users than ever will switch to a modern version of the OS this year – one way or another. ®