Progress can be a beautiful thing, especially when things get better in waves as they do on Android. Ever since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich launched, Android has taken huge strides in improving itself, with each release seeming like a major OS update rather than an iterative one as the jump from 4.1 to 4.4 has suggested. Android’s latest release, Android 4.4 KitKat, has proved to be one of the largest, if not the largest, jumps when it comes to features, behind the scenes upgrades and user interface enhancements. There’s even new support for devices with 512MB of RAM or less, which should help with those budget phones that still run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Those phones will likely NOT receive a KitKat update, rather the new budget phones will more likely come with KitKat pre-installed instead. Either way this pushes the distribution pie chart in the right way, removing more of that old Android 2.x stuff and replacing it with the vastly superior Android 4.x platform. Let’s take a look at the numbers that have come in from October 25-November 1st. Remember that these numbers are taken by measuring what devices access the Google Play Store, which is an extremely accurate assessment given that this is the main app store for Android, and devices check in at least once per day to see if apps need updating.
As you can see the Jelly Bean platform, which represents Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, is finally on more than half of all Android devices out there. Considering how massive of a jump Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was over even Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, this is a fantastic thing to see. Over the past months Jelly Bean has grown in popularity as manufacturers update their older devices and consumers buy newer devices with one of the versions of Jelly Bean installed on them. We saw just last month that 48.6% of all devices were running some version of Jelly Bean, and now this month we’re up to 52.3%. While a 4% jump isn’t too bad, it means that the fall phones haven’t been getting picked up in waves yet. Expect those numbers to increase significantly in the next 2 months as the Christmas and holiday season approaches. Most new phones pack either Android 4.2 or 4.3 on board, so seeing the numbers grow for either of these two distributions points to more people picking up new phones. Lots of manufacturers are leaving their year-old phones on Android 4.1, such as Motorola, and the KitKat update schedule is still fuzzy as of now for most phones out there. Samsung, for instance, hasn’t even mentioned the word KitKat, although we expect they’ll probably update the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 to KitKat within the next 6 months, just as they have with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Things are getting better for Android, and every month brings improvement for the majority of users out there using the world’s favorite mobile OS.