The latest distribution numbers are in — it has taken Android 7.0 Nougat five months to hit a little more than 1 percent of Android devices.
According to the Android Developer Dashboard, Nougat devices seem to have jumped 0.5 percent from last month’s numbers. On the plus side, Android Marshmallow is now the most common API level at 30.7 percent. Going by Android versions, however, the reigning king is still Android Lollipop with 32.9 percent — though Marshmallow is close behind.
In contrast, Apple’s iOS 10 was released in the middle of September and is already on 76 percent of devices.
Even though 30.7 percent — the amount of devices running Android Marshmallow — sounds like a small number, it accounts for a lot of phones, especially considering there have been well over 1.4 billion Android devices activated since September 2015. It’s an improvement, but the numbers continue to highlight one of Android’s biggest problems: fragmentation. Google issues monthly security updates and rolls out version updates to all of its supported Pixel, Nexus, and Android One devices, but these are not always released in a timely manner by manufacturers and carriers for other devices.
|2.3.3 – 2.3.7||Gingerbread||10||1.0%|
|4.0.3 – 4.0.4||Ice Cream Sandwich||15||1.0%|
*The data above is from Google. It was collected during a seven-day period ending on February 6, 2017. Any versions with less than 0.1 percent distribution are not shown.
Marshmallow and Nougat were the only devices to see some gains this month — all other Android versions went down. During the last data collection period, Google added an entry for Nougat 7.1 as it saw wide rollout in December 2016. That has fragmented Nougat’s numbers, but at least more than 1 percent of Android devices have Nougat. There are finally more devices running Nougat than those running Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, which came out in 2011.
Nougat’s numbers will continue to increase as manufacturers and carriers begin to push updates and as more devices are released in 2017, but it will be a slow and arduous process. Google’s Pixel smartphones are reportedly “very popular” according to Verizon, if it becomes a household name as Samsung has managed to achieve with its Galaxy lineup — then Google’s dream of having a large user base with the latest version of Android will come true.
The huge number of people using older versions of Android is not a good thing, as software vulnerabilities and bugs may never be fixed. As such, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission sent letters to software giants like Apple and Google, as well as manufacturers and carriers, inquiring about the security process and how they push updates to consumers.
We’ll continue to update this post as Google updates its Android distribution figures.
Article originally published in August. Updated on 02-08-2017 by Julian Chokkattu: Added February figures.