Google released Android 2.3 Gingerbread on December 6, 2010. Put another way, it’s a version of Android that’s going to turn two years old in just two days. According to the latest figures in the Android Developer Dashboard, 50.8% of Android devices that have accessed the Google Play Store in the last two weeks are running this now ancient version of Google’s mobile operating system. We hate to say it, but it’s an extremely depressing figure. Are these Gingerbread carrying consumers nearing the end of their two year contract and are planning an upgrade? We can only hope so.
And what about the newer versions of Android? Jelly Bean, defined as Android 4.1 and 4.2, is on 6.7% of devices. That’s not bad for an OS that’s going to turn half a year old at the end of the month. As for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, that’s on 27.5% of Android devices. Many of those ICS devices will get upgrades to JB in early 2013, which is a good thing.
One can argue that people don’t really care about what version of Android is on their smartphone. That most people who are using Android today were feature phone users not that long ago. It’s a perfectly valid point, one that many people fail to consider because … let’s face it, we’re Android diehards who change our ROMs about as often as we change our socks. Still, we can’t help but think that Google needs to do something drastic in order to get everyone on the same page. It’s hurting the ecosystem if developers who want to take full advantage of the newest features in Android need to resort to making an app that runs well on a two year old smartphone.
Think about it for a second. Two years ago, single core devices reigned supreme, 720p displays were a pipe dream, and 4G LTE wasn’t even a buzzword yet.
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“One can argue that people don’t really care about what version of Android is on their smartphone. That most people who are using Android today were feature phone users not that long ago.”
Or people who own an LG phone….
The easiest way to stop this is to only distribute the latest version of android and lock the rest
I’d like to see Google set dates when they stop approving new devices with old versions of Android. For example approve devices 1 version back only. So when JB came out that would end new GB devices. But OEMs could always get around this by not distributing gapps and using Amazon instead, so I can see why Google hasn’t done this.
It’ll be around for a while. Hardly anyone bought a new phone with GB two years ago; they bought them in the year and a half after that date. Hell, a look at T-Mobile’s website shows eight or nine Gingerbread models, including the G2!
Gingerbread and older Androids turned a lot of people into iOS loyalists. I don’t root my phones…a lot of people don’t, because of the risk of bricking the device and voiding the warranty.
I’ll share my story. My mom has a phone with Metro PCS, she’s had a feature phone for the longest time. For this past Black Friday, I decided to get her an Android at Metro. Metro STILL has a lot of gingerbread phones, and the Metro sales rep steered my mom over to a Huawei with gingerbread on it. I looked at the one next to it, it was an LG with ICS. I suggested the LG, showed Chrome on it, but the LG cost $50 more, and my mom insisted on the Huawei.
Until carriers stop selling gingerbread phones, gingerbread will still have a high marketshare.