Android versions distribution stats: Lollipop still wildly unpopular, KitKat climbs to 39%, but Jelly Bean dominates

Google's Android team has been consistently providing info regarding the relative popularity (or unpopularity) of the various versions of the operating system among the installed based, and we just received the stats for January.

We can't say the situation has improved much since the last update in December – sure, Android KitKat's share climbed to 39.1% from 33.9%, but Android 5.0 Lollipop is once again nowhere to be seen. Google doesn't list versions with less than 0.1% adoption, so we have to assume that's the reason why Lollipop hasn't made the cut. A rather depressing thought.

Going back to KitKat, while it is obviously gaining steam, do keep in mind that the majority of the installed base (46%) actually runs on one of the various versions of Android Jelly Bean, the earliest of which was released two and a half years ago. The remainder of users are split between Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (6.7%), Android 2.3 Gingerbread (7.8%), and Android 2.2 Froyo (0.4%). 

We won't lie, the stats above made us a little sad. Sure, we're well aware of Google's continued efforts to decouple various Android services from the core (in order to be able to push updates through the Play Store and not have to wait for a major OTA patch), but it's fair to say that the majority of users have no clue that's the case, anyway. Yes, they're still getting the benefit of those updates through the Play Store even if they're oblivious to that fact, but this whole situation is obviously turning into a perception issue, and we, for one, are hoping that a solution will eventually be found.

source: Android



1. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

This has nothing to do with popularity and everything to do with age. The vast majority of phones never get an update and remain on the OS version they shipped with. All that pie chart tells us is that the majority of phones are 1 to 2 years old.

4. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

And how bad support can be for some phones and OEM's. My phone older phone has no good ROM support that wouldn't cut the already low ROM of 8GB in half just to have a custom rom and the rom is meh to begin with. And sd support so minimal in apps, I would have a nearly useless phone. And I still wouldn't be on Kitkat or 5.0. There isn't even an official, developer like option as in windows. Where nearly all, if my memory serves right, all can adopt to via official MS channel. Sure there will be bugs etc, but those are even present in official releases, just as nexus lollipop users.

16. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I using jelly bean, 4.1.2 on my Neptune Pine running 100% of available Android App. Most apps install itself to SD card leaving a minimum footprint on the main storage. I don't see a problem with using Jelly Bean at all. In fact some company has been using OS software update to force product model to go obsolete. My iPad 1 struck at iOS 5 will not run majority of the app in the Apps store. Where else my first gen Motorola Xoom at Jelly Bean still run 100% of the apps available in the Play Store. So a slower OS upgrade release for some platform is a bliss to me.

17. rotkiv3451

Posts: 85; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Definitely not 100% of the apps, as I've seen when I used an Android phone, but you do have a point! Most apps are still compatible with older versions of Android, while almost all apps on the App Store require iOS 7 or later. And plus, even phones that have stopped receiving official updates for Android can get the latest version by flashing a custom ROM.

19. engineer-1701d unregistered

you can part the sd card and use the sd card as the internal mem put a 32 gig in it and put 20 gig internal and the rest external. go to xda for the dev.

26. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Thanks for the tip, I already done that for my whole 64GB microSD part as internal memory. Apps the support SD card will be install there instead. There are good information meant just for the Nepture Pine Smart Watch in Its my daily driver along with my Galaxy S 8.4 LTE. TWO SIMs two phone one on the wrist.

18. engineer-1701d unregistered

actually older froyo is 5 years ago WTF is this Android-versions-distribution-stats-Lollipop-still​-wildly-unpopular is phonearena stupid or just the person doing the articles lollipop is on like nexus and thats it in the next month when the other 20 phones get updated and all the new phones come out it will be the top and why is 2.2 on the chart and gingerbread are we in some third world country that still has a phone that old if so it should be in a museum thats like the age of a iphone 3g

2. nbringer

Posts: 180; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

I prefer the Microsoft & Apple approach where the OS is seeded by one entity to (almost all) devices.

7. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

It is? MS makes a GDR or now a "update x" and then Nokia/MS then makes a stupid update with a color name to it. And then it never arrives thanks to carriers.

15. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

That is the way it works in most of the world. In the USA, carriers still control updates for Windows Phone. Take the Nokia Lumia Icon on Verizon. It was released in 2014 but is still stuck on WP 8.0 Black while the Lumia 928 (2013) has been updated to Denim and Lumia 822 (2012) has been updated to Cyan. So Verizon's newest Windows Phone is stuck on the oldest version of the OS.

20. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

The HTC M8 windows edition is their newest phone actually.

28. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

Far enough. Why is a phone released less than a year ago still running WP 8.0? Answer: Because Verizon can't be bothered to work on the update.

3. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Kitkat > Lollipop. Still shows how fragmented Android releases are. Although those on Kitkat should be thankful since Lollipop is a mess right now.

5. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

I still have a galaxy S3. Jelly Bean. I would update to Lollipop if it was available. And even it there was a S3 Lollipop update, I would still have to wait for my carrier to roll out the update which they won't. The majority of users will own a phone that is on contract and carrier locked or branded like mine. I know nothing about rooting or whatever its called. If I was rich id buy a Nexus 6.

10. cgprats

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 28, 2014

On most carriers they released KitKat for the s3, you could update to it and use a 3rd party launcher such as Google now or nova and it'll be close enough to lollipop

13. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

My GS3 on Bell has been on KK for a while now. It's running quite well, especially after the update I got last month. It likely won't get L.

21. engineer-1701d unregistered

i still have a galaxy s3 using kitkat stock no root what carrier are you on you can get a lot of 5.0 5.1 roms on gs3 youtube has vid and website easy 5 min root for gs3.

6. hortizano

Posts: 294; Member since: May 22, 2013

Maybe it is time for Android to adopt the Apple approach on updates... or you get it or you get it... period. But such a broad diversity of android devices makes it obviously impossible, sadly. A fair price we pay for diversity, openness and groundbreaking customization.

22. engineer-1701d unregistered

google tried that but you cant make a os for 1000 different phones to all run the same when each phone is different, all iphone the same androids different thats the age hold argument

30. piggerz_b_piggin

Posts: 18; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

Google could but all of these bullstit custom OEM skins make it nearly impossible. If all OEMs used stock and then integrated their features onto the playstore (as exclusive for their brand) then, everyone could have lollipop as soon as it came out.

8. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

I see that there's not Honeycomb listed. Probably because that was exclusive to tablets, which have since been updated to ICS or even JB.

12. NFSHesham

Posts: 297; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

That has disappeared for a looooooong time

32. g2a5b0e unregistered

It's not listed because it has a less than .1% market share.

9. TBomb

Posts: 1563; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Google could put a "Google Android Launcher" in the play store. It could be the stock google android experience that runs over your OEM version. Then, you update it when you want/can. and you can still experience lollipop or whatever other rom there is out there at the time. or is there something wrong with my idea?

11. cgprats

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 28, 2014

They already have a launcher, but the system update idea is good, and by the way the launcher is called Google Now Launcher

24. TBomb

Posts: 1563; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

ahh right... forgot about that. i wasn't really a fan when i saw it.. mustve repressed it :P

23. engineer-1701d unregistered

cant because its about integration for each phone and manufacture

25. TBomb

Posts: 1563; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

What do you mean?

14. Sirius85

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

This is, and always will be, the downside of Android. Unless you're rooting and doing custom roms, you're stuck waiting for your carrier to approve OTA updates. And with how long it seems to take, you're almost permanently stuck behind current versions.

31. piggerz_b_piggin

Posts: 18; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

Then buy a nexus or a moto

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