The latest set of numbers showing which versions of Android are actually being used in the real world have been published by Google. The new data shows that Android 4.x, which includes Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly bean, runs on over 61 percent of devices, while Jelly Bean itself (Android 4.1 and Android 4.2) runs on just under 38 percent of devices.
This is the first time that Jelly Bean has taken the lead from Gingerbread which has stubbornly stayed active even though it has been superseded several times. However Gingerbread’s usage is in decline. At the beginning of this year Android 2.3 was running on just under half of all active Android devices and Jelly Bean had just a 10 percent share. Ice Cream Sandwich was popular with just under 30 percent usage. Fast forward six months and Jelly Bean is king having taken share from Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google generates these numbers based on “data collected during a 14-day period ending on July 8, 2013″ and use Google’s new counting method. Since April, 2013, the data now contains the number of devices that are used to visit the Google Play Store, rather than any device that simply checked-in to Google servers. Google reckon that this is a more accurate way to count the users who are actually active in the Android ecosystem.
As for the rest of the field Android 2.1 and 2.2 are still used on 4.5 percent of devices while Android 1.6 Donut and Android 3.2 Honeycomb barely register at 0.1 percent. The reason for Gingerbread’s longevity is likely because of its low system requirements. It is still possible to buy low end smartphones running Gingerbread today. Since it can run on devices with only 256MB of memory (or maybe even less) and doesn’t need a very fast GPU then for emerging markets it is still a viable option. How long it will remain so is unclear, however the fact that Jelly Bean has finally taken the lead coupled with the fact that Android 4.x runs on over 61 percent of active devices, it seems that the end is nigh for Gingerbread.
Gingerbread served us well, but personally I won’t miss it when it finally becomes extinct.