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Google takes down its Android distribution chart without explanation

Developers can still see the numbers in Android Studio when they need to.

Published onApril 10, 2020

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Google’s Android distribution chart — which lets us know what percentage of users are running each Android version — used to receive updates every month or so. Unfortunately, the chart hasn’t seen an update in nearly a year. According to 9to5Google, Google has now completely taken the chart off the web, leaving all of us in the dark as to why.

Google at least put up a notice in the distribution chart’s usual location telling us to find platform version information in Android Studio. We don’t officially know why Google has taken this route, but it kind of makes sense. These numbers are really only useful for developers, so making Android Studio the go-to location to see version distribution isn’t too crazy.

The chart’s distribution numbers also were never quite where Google wanted them to be. Newer Android versions like Marshmallow still make up more than 15% of the market share. Apple even used the chart to argue that iOS devices were more up to date than their Android competitors, even if it wasn’t a fair comparison. Many Android devices fill various niches that iOS handsets don’t or can’t, so not every Android smartphone needs the latest and greatest software.

Read also: The most notable new Android 11 features we’ve found so far

9to5Google jumped into Android Studio to check out the situation more in-depth. The distribution numbers Google provides developers show cumulative distribution percentages. This lets devs know what percentage of global Android users they will lose with every newer Android version if they support an older one. This type of information is more practical than a simple pie chart.

Google also provides more information that gives us a better idea of the actual Android version market share. According to 9to5Google’s research, Android 10 only has 8.2% market share compared to Android Pie having 10.4% by May 2019. Android 10 still has another month to make up the difference, and since Android Pie currently touts the largest market share at 31.3%, it’s still possible Android 10 will catch up if enough people upgrade.

Google has not made an official statement on the matter, and when asked it merely pointed us to instructions on the site about using Android Studio going forward.

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