Google released Android usage stats on March 5th that showed just how few devices are currently running Ice Cream Sandwich. It's a really sad state of affairs. As of March 5th, there are three times the number of devices running Android 2.1 Eclair than are currently running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, nearly 5 months after it's release.
What makes this even worse is the fact that ICS is the first Android version that's made to run on phones as well as tablet devices, not just tablets alone. Like Gingerbread before it, the build for ICS has been a slow rise from release. More than a year and half after it's release, Gingerbread has finally crossed the 62% mark, but ICS is yet to crack the 2% mark.
I realize that I'm beating up on ICS a bit as Android version usage has always lagged behind release. When Google announced ICS, it wasn't a release for 2011, it was a release for 2012 and Mobile World Congress was proof of that. A number of devices were unveiled this year and most will ship with ICS on board.
Google had a huge presence at Mobile World Congress this year. There were Android statues in all sorts of costumes, there were ton's of ICS and app demos and there was even a claw game that you played with an ICS tablet for a chance to snare a stuffed Android. There was also another item there: a big ass bowl of Jelly Beans.
I really liked the fact that Google was dropping hints at MWC about 5.0, but it kicked the Jelly bean rumor mill in to high gear. Beyond whipping the Jelly Bean rumors into a frenzy, people started to talk about Android 6.0 almost immediately, speculating about the name. There were even whole stories written about Key Lime Pie being the only dessert that begins with a K. I'll remind everyone that at it's core Google is an advertising company. What will the Android world think if Google sells the naming rights to Android 6? Can you say Krispy Kreme?
I just cannot wrap my head around discussion of Android 6. Google goes all out when they present a new version of Android to the world, but they do it with the realization that it will be a year or more before most Android users are actually running the version of the OS that they are presenting. Jelly Bean won't stand a chance of seeing 50% usage until the middle of next year at the earliest. Why so much concern about Android 6?
Hell, if it weren't for the very dedicated Android development community, I doubt that any version of Android would have ever reached a 50% share of usage, but that's a topic for another day.
2012 is the year of Ice Cream Sandwich, which will at some point be overshadowed by the announcement of Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. Until then, I'm going to enjoy running ICS on my Acer Iconia A100, and hopefully my Thunderbolt soon enough. But I am willing to speculate a little bit about the future.
What will Jelly Bean look like when it's released? Well, I've got the scoop for you right here. It will be the best version of Android ever, optimized further for both tablets and phones. The UI will be even more polished and the UX will improve greatly because of it. Oh, there will be a bunch of new stuff added too.
I won't even talk about Android 6.0 Krispy Kreme until my tablet and my phone are both running Jelly Bean.