New Android distribution figures show Marshmallow cresting 1%

by: John DyeFebruary 2, 2016


Android just released the new distribution numbers for February 2016, and Marshmallow has finally crossed the 1% threshold. January saw a .5% increase from the close of 2015, bringing Marshmallow’s usage to 1.2%. This figure looks miniscule, but when you think about it, moving from .7% to 1.2% is a pretty big leap. You know. For Marshmallow.

I mean, it’s not like iOS is able to roll out updates that much faster. A quick look at their distribution numbers and you’ll immediately see… Oh, yikes. 77.3% of all iPhones are running the latest version, iOS 9. 13.3% are running iOS 8, and a slim 8.4% are running iOS 7. Once you go back three versions of Apple’s mobile operating system, the distributions drop below 1%.

nexus 6p vs iphone 6s plus aa (12 of 26)See also: Google in control: Does Android need to be more like iOS?99

Compare this to the Android ecosystem: three versions back is Jelly Bean, and our old friend JB is still being used by 23.9% of devices. Lollipop is sitting pretty at 34.1%, but the biggest piece of the pie goes to KitKat with 35.5% of the distribution. As it stands, more than twice as many people are currently running Gingerbread (2.7%) than are running Marshmallow.

The fragmentation of the Android ecosystem is something that is becoming an increased concern for the operating system’s owner Google. Where Apple has the edge in this battle is total conformism. The company has complete control over the way their devices are designed, so updates to the operating system only have to be tweaked to match a relative handful of specs. The Android ecosystem, however, is an incredibly diverse world with few strictures and limits. This makes rolling out updates exceedingly tedious and drawn-out. This is just one reason why Google has elected to make the Nexus line very ‘Apple-like.’

nexus 6p vs nexus 5x aa (3 of 25)See also: Report: Google plans to take an ‘Apple-like’ approach to the Nexus line87

In full disclosure, the figures used here for iOS distribution rates are not officially provided by Apple, but are the work of a developer tracking the versions being used for his popular audiobook apps. However, these percentages are generally regarded as being more or less representative of iOS usership as a whole.

What are your thoughts regarding these new distribution figures and Google’s concerns over fragmentation? What solutions are at the company’s disposal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – January 19, 2016

  • aaloo

    1% vs 77%. I see.

  • R. DayzWalker

    Here’s the thing, a device shipped with KitKat or maybe even JellyBean will have huge performance boost if it received Lolli or MM update, but in the other side, see how iOS treat your 4 or 4s.

    • Alvaro Serein


  • John Doe

    New Android phones are still not shipping with MM yet (unless you get a Nexus phone), so unless your phone has been upgraded
    already (most of them have not..) chances are you are running older software ..
    Even then, users still have a choice to do the upgrade or not .. most of the users I see do not even get app upgrades or do not
    authorize them.
    Most users do not have a clue about their phones and how to use them properly, so how can you expect them to want to upgrade
    their OS’s

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      Yup saw both my nephew’s phones had lollipop update available but the still used Kitkat because they didn’t know how to check for updates.

  • mrjayviper

    Nexus devices are not all equal. Some wait for weeks after release to get OTA. not the same/similar with iOS. No matter what carrier you’re on, you will get OTA the same as everyone.

  • subm

    What are the problems of fragmentation actually

  • Flavio

    Almost nobody cares about updates. As for the few nerds who do, people who do have 3 options: 1 get a nexus, 2 get an iPhone, 3 install cyanogenmod on the old phone. Simple

  • jerry

    John, I must stop reading your ridiculous coverage of platform distribution until you at least mention what percentage of Android users are on the same Android System Webview. This is number we care about.

  • charlie Jason

    Anyone else noticed the awesome change in chrome’s tab? Now the tabs show a theme color for the website. Android authority is green and Androidpolice is dark blue.