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Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

Latest stats show Android 4.4 leading the pack

Android 4.4 "KitKat" is now the single most popular version of the mobile OS, according to Google's latest stats.

KitKat, which first made its way onto devices in October 2013, now accounts for 39.1 per cent of all active Android devices, as measured by access logs from the Google Play Store.

When we last checked the numbers in June 2014, KitKat represented just 13.6 per cent of Android devices, suggesting that a lot of customers have either bought new phones or received upgrades from their carriers since then.

Strictly speaking, Android "Jelly Bean" is still running on the most devices overall, with 46 per cent of the total. But those figures are spread across three different versions of the OS that all share the same codename. Version 4.2.x is the most popular of the three, at 20.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, usage of older versions of Android continues to dwindle. Version 2.3.x "Gingerbread" sits at 7.8 per cent, version 4.0.x "Ice Cream Sandwich" clocks in at 6.7 per cent, and version 2.2 "Froyo" now represents a mere 0.4 per cent of all active devices.

Google doesn't collect data on versions of Android older than Froyo, and its platform reports also don't list any versions for which the distribution is smaller than 0.1 per cent.

The only slightly worrying thing there is that the latest version of the OS – Android 5.0 "Lollipop" – wasn't listed this time around, indicating that only a tiny fraction of devices are running the Chocolate Factory's latest confection.

That should change, though, once more manufacturers start shipping Lollipop devices later this year. Currently, Lollipop is available for Google's own Nexus devices, such as the Nexus 4, 5, and 6 phones and the Nexus 7, 9, and 10 fondleslabs, and others.

Once Samsung and other major handset makers start preloading the new version onto their kit, however, expect Lollipop adoption to begin climbing rapidly – particularly as many of the devices running KitKat today are also suitable for running Lollipop, provided their manufacturers offer an upgrade. ®

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