Android developer trends

KitKat, the latest version of Android, is gaining ground, now running on almost a quarter of all Android devices, while older versions such as FroYo and Gingerbread are on the decline.

Fragmentation has become a dreaded word amongst Android app developers, because of the sheer number of devices on the platform, as well as the different versions these run on. As a result, developers would often have to consider their audience and reach when building applications, especially given the different feature sets of the various API levels. More modern versions of Android have started to rise in numbers of late, however, leaving behind years-old variants like FroYo and Gingerbread. The trends seem to point toward steady growth for the latest 4.4.x KitKat.

The Android Developers Dashboards page shows a positive trend in the uptake for KitKat. In the seven-day period ending September 9th, KitKat already has 24.5 percent market share. This has been growing at a rate of 3.6 percent month-on-month. KitKat’s growth has actually been at a steady 3 to 4 percent monthly since May this year, which should be a healthy indicator for the platform and for developers.

By contrast, FroYo and Gingerbread are on the decline after having leveled off. Android 2.2 FroYo remains at a steady 0.7 percent market share. However, Gingerbread saw a 2.2 percent decline month-on-month, while Ice Cream Sandwich dropped 1.4 percent.

Jelly Bean, which was superseded by KitKat in September 2013 has seen some incremental drop in its earliest 4.1 variant, declining 1.4 percent. Meanwhile, Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2 rose 0.9 and 0.1 percent, respectively. Overall, Jelly Bean has a share of 53.8 percent, making it the most popular release to date.

With the holiday season just around the corner, however, we can expect growth trends for KitKat to accelerate, especially with more and more handset makers releasing their devices with KitKat out of the box. The upcoming Android “L” is likely to see a release by the latter part of 2014, although it is expected to make significant impact after a few months time, as is usual amongst new releases.

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