updated 04:37 am EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Possibility Android 4.3 will pull share from other Jelly Bean versions
Android Jelly Bean, the most recent version of the mobile operating system, has surpassed the 40-percent install base milestone. Android version 4.1 makes up 34 percent of the Android device share, with version 4.2 reaching 6.5 percent, an improvement from the last report when Jelly Bean became the dominant version, with 4.1 and 4.2 scoring 32.3 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.
Previous incumbent Gingerbread, versions 2.3 to 2.3.7, has dropped marginally since last month's Android Developer Dashboard report, with the software reaching 33.1 percent of devices compared to the 34.1 percent distribution in the past. Ice Cream Sandwich has seen a 0.8-percent swing away from installations of 4.0.3 and 4.0.4 to 22.5 percent.
While there is no direct explanation from Google for the uptick in Jelly Bean installations, the marginal decrease in numbers for Froyo and Eclair (2.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, down from 3.1 percent and 1.4 percent) suggests less of a move to upgrade these older operating systems, and more a case of users buying tablets and smartphones with Android Jelly Bean pre-installed.
Though the most recent version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.3, started to come out to devices towards the end of the reporting period, it did not appear in Google's tally. Google could have chosen to ignore this data temporarily, considering its extremely limited release to Nexus and Google edition devices and short availability time, though it is also possible that the total number of devices upgradable to it is too small to show up in the statistics at the minimum reportable level, namely 0.1 percent of reporting devices.
The minor update is unlikely to make much of a change to these reports in the short-term future, as it will likely pull away distribution share from version 4.1 and 4.2 before affecting any other versions. It is probable that the future version 5.0 of the operating system will have a bigger impact than Jelly Bean 4.3. Expected in October, Key Lime Pie is believed to be an "optimized OS" that will have lower hardware requirements, such as slower processors, lower storage capacities, and lower amounts of RAM. Key Lime Pie could not only take over Jelly Bean's market share, but could also erode the Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich devices that Jelly Bean could not, due to hardware limitations.
Despite providing service to so many different versions of Android, the search company is not worried about fragmentation. Android co-founder Rich Miner advised a technology forum last month that it is "a bit of an overblown issue," reminding that "there are 1.5 million Android phones being activated every single day. There are 900 million devices out in the market." He also suggested that mainstream users of devices running on Android are happy with the performance of their devices, regardless of what technology-followers may think.