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Jelly Bean sees rise in Android market share as Google changes metrics for Google Play access

Google has made a small adjustment in measuring version share on the Android platform. This month, Jelly Bean gets a big jump, and this could be attributed to better engagement among ICS and Jelly Bean users compared to older versions.
April 3, 2013

Google regularly releases figures on Android version statistics, in which we usually glean the market share of the various major releases. This month, Google has changed its metric a bit, and we can observe a jump in Jelly Bean’s market share, which might be altogether indicative that Jelly Bean is more engaging than other Android releases.

Android versions Mar 2013

On the Android Developers site, Google has announced one basic but important change in how it measures usage. “[T]hese charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store.” Previously, access was counted whenever the device itself connected to Google Play services, regardless of whether it was the user who initiated it, an app, or the device itself.

With this change, Jelly Bean got a jump in usage. Aggregated figures are as follows:

  • Jelly Bean: 25% (up from 16.5%)
  • Ice Cream Sandwich: 29.3% (up from 28.6%)
  • Gingerbread: 39.8% (down from 44.2%)
  • Froyo: 4.0% (down from 7.6%)
  • Eclair: 0.7% (down from 1.9%)
  • Donut: 0.1% (down from 0.2%)

As we can see, ICS and Jelly Bean are on the rise, while Gingerbread is declining and even earlier builds are now almost negligible. While this may not necessarily mean that ICS and Jelly Bean users got a significant jump in just one month, the change in reckoning may have been influenced by a few factors apart from a raw increase in new 4.0+ devices activated.

For instance, this could give an indication as to better engagement and use from among Android versions 4.0 and up. In particular, ICS and Jelly Bean users are likely to be more active in accessing Google Play, especially given that these are newer or more current devices that have the capability to run the latest apps. In contrast, we see an increasing number of apps that are no longer compatible with older Android versions like Froyo and earlier.

It would be good to note that Android versions 4.0 and up first overtook Gingerbread in February this year — and that was still using the old reckoning, in which usage was counted based on device access to Google Play services and not user access.

On another note, Google’s figures indicate that “normal” sized Android devices dominate at 79.9%. Small sized devices (less than 3.5 inches) are at 9.5%. Large devices are at 5.7%, while extra-large Android devices like tablets have a 4.9% share.

It would be interesting to see the succeeding months’ figures, especially since these would now be on equal footing in terms of counting Google Play access.