For a long time now, Gingerbread 2.3 has been the dominant version of Android. More than 50% of devices ran Gingerbread up until recently, despite the OS being years old. Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are catching up and have taken 29% and 13.6% of the Android pie, respectively. That's 12.2% on Jelly Bean 4.1 and 1.4% on Jelly Bean 4.2
As the graphic above shows, Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich are running on more and more devices. There are a variety of reasons for this. People are buying newer devices running the newer operating systems. Sony's 2011 Xperia line up have all been updated to ICS along with other older devices like the HTC Thunderbolt. A very small percentage can even be attributed to rooted devices running updated custom ROMs. So it's really been a group effort getting things up to date.
Despite some great advances by Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, Gingerbread still remains on top with a commanding 45.6%. These numbers are down from prior measurements and are continuing to trend that way. Nevertheless, it is a little sad that a 2 year old version of the OS is still dominate. Of course, this means that fragmentation continues to be a problem for Android.
It will eventually to be sure. While Gingerbread has been the dominate Android version for awhile now, Android continues to evolve and grow. This means that eventually Gingerbread will fade into obscurity. It just won't be going silently into that good night.
One potential reason for Gingerbread's continued success may be the cheap Android phone market. The best Android phones have quad core processors, run Jelly Bean, and have all sorts of awesome features. However, the cheap smartphones are just now getting to dual cores and to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Consider this, the Galaxy Note 2 running Jelly Bean costs over $300 on a new contract from just about everywhere. There are many mid-range phones and tablets that run Ice Cream Sandwich that are cheaper but not usually free. What is important to note is that devices like the new LG MyTouch on T-Mobile, a reportedly new device running Gingerbread, are still on the shelves and being handed out for free. Once those cheap, low end devices are being shipped with ICS and Jelly Bean, that's when Gingerbread numbers will really start to decline.
We'd love to hear your feedback on this. Are Jelly Bean and ICS devices simply getting more popular, or is it because they're getting cheaper? Let us know what you think.