It’s time to take a fresh look at adoption rates for the current version of Google’s Android mobile operating system, and while there’s growth, as usual it’s ever so slight.
According to the latest statistics from Google’s Android Developer Dashboard, the latest 6.0 Marshmallow update is on 13.3 percent of Android devices, that’s up 3.2 percent from June’s numbers. The remaining statistics, which pertain to older Android versions, show 2014’s 5.0 Lollipop update standing in at a 35.1 percent adoption rate — that’s a measly 0.3 percent decrease. Moving down the timeline gets us to 2013’s 4.4 KitKat update, which currently has a 30.1 percent adoption rate, with Jelly Bean — three versions were released in 2012 and 2013 — sitting at 17.8 percent.
Google collects these numbers by counting any Android device that accessed the Google Play Store during a seven-day period that ended on July 11.
Overall, adoption rates are down across the board, with Marshmallow’s statistic representing the only increase. That’s good because it means more devices are jumping to the current version of Android. What’s not good is the fact that a 3- to 4-year-old operating system is still more widely used than the latest version, an issue compounded by Apple iOS 9 update’s 84-percent adoption rate.
Marshmallow has been available to Android device manufacturers for nine months, begging the question of why Marshmallow is taking so long to make its way to devices.
As of late, these adoption rates are not just for show and tell — software updates have become crucial because they now fix security vulnerabilities, thus making the operating system more secure. Unfortunately, even though manufacturers have followed Google’s lead in issuing monthly security updates, carriers have not played ball. As a result, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission sent letters to manufacturers and carriers, inquiring about the security process and how they push updates to consumers.
Finally, because so many people use older versions of Android, this puts app developers in quite a bind. Yes, app compatibility can often stretch out to these older versions, but developers have to code for several different Android versions, which brings up the question of app updates. For its part, Google will reportedly rank top Android device makers in terms of how up-to-date their devices are, and the firm is still considering whether or not to release this list to the public.
These numbers are only going to get even more fragmented soon, as Android Nougat will soon be available. The upcoming Android version’s developer preview was released earlier this year, in the hopes that it would be sent to device manufacturers and carriers sooner. Google wants these groups to push out the update to consumers in a timely manner once the final version lands, which will likely be toward the end of summer or early fall.