While the majority of Android users will be looking ahead to the latest and greatest version of Android, currently known as N – or NameyMcNameFace, depending on when and who you ask – most users will be on an older version of Android. Google, as well as handset manufacturers, has faced criticism over the years over fears that the Android ecosystem was “fragmented” due to the speed of updates from Google and relative lack of speed by manufacturers updating their devices. Over the past few years however, Google has drastically slowed down the amount of major updates to Android to just one huge release a year, and according to a new report, this appears to be having the desired effect.
A new report from Apteligent shows that Android is no longer as fragmented as many would believe, with 93 percent of all Android traffic on the Web coming from just three versions of Android. These three versions are Android 4.4 KitKat, Android 5.0 Lollipop and last year’s release, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Android 4.4 KitKat is of course the oldest, having been released back in 2013, Lollipop followed in 2014 and Marshmallow in 2015. This slowing down of releases from Google seems to have done the trick, and while official figures from the Internet giant paint a slightly different picture, different metrics will always lead to different results. While Google records versions of Android connecting to the Play Store, this report from Apteligent uses active users online, which is perhaps a more natural image of which versions of Android are in use, and it’s good to see that the most recent versions are dominating here.
Compared with iOS, something that the industry seems to do constantly when referring to Android statistics, there are two iOS versions that represent 97 percent of iPhone traffic, and they are iOS 8 and iOS 9. While Apple can issue updates to all iPhones all over the world at the flick of a switch, things are very different in the Android world, and manufacturers often have their own special software to move over to a new version of Android, which inevitably slows things down. According to Apteligent however, HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony are the fastest to update their devices while Amazon, Motorola and ZTE are some of the slowest. HTC and Samsung are two names that have certainly tried better in the past couple of years to make sure their devices are updated quicker, and it’s a shame to see Motorola relegated to the slowest position. After all, this is the company that managed to beat Google to the punch with Lollipop updates, but it seems a change in owner and different products have taken their toll on the software engineers at Motorola. Regardless, these figures help to show that Google’s new approach is working, but as Google themselves will admit, there’s still a lot of work to be done where updates are concerned.