By Adam Dickter / CIO Today. Updated December 04, 2012.
Just over half of Android users are still using the 2-year-old Gingerbread version of Google's mobile operating system, while the second-largest share are using Ice Cream Sandwich, the 2011 penultimate version, according to new stats posted on the Android Developers Blog.
Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.3 and 4.0.4) users comprise 27.5 percent, while the latest system, Jelly Bean, is on just 6.7 percent of devices (5.9 percent on version 4.1 and 0.8 percent on 4.2).
Most Android users, by far, are on devices running Gingerbread, versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7. A tiny number, 0.2 percent, are running Gingerbread's earlier 2.3-2.3.2 versions.
The stats are based on devices accessing Google's Play Store in the two weeks ending Dec. 3.
The large number of Gingerbread users means that the bulk of Android users are using older devices and will soon be eligible for upgrades, which presents Google with the challenge of retaining those users.
"There is always opportunity when customers come off of their contracts," Weston Henderek, principal analyst for consumer services at Current Analysis, told us.
"However, Apple and Android are already firmly entrenched. Although it might appear that the Gingerbread users could be up for grabs, it is still unclear whether consumers are really asking for another platform (or two) beyond iOS and Android."
Makers of other major platforms, chiefly Microsoft and Research In Motion, are way behind. November numbers from IDC Research found Android, available via a wide range of manufacturers (though Samsung is the largest single partner) with an impressive 75 percent worldwide share. That represents a record level for a single quarter. Apple followed with 14.9 percent for iOS mobile devices. RIM's BlackBerry OS trailed with 4.3 percent.
Microsoft, whose Windows 8 mobile devices are barely out of the gate and not included in that survey, commands 2 percent of the market with its previous devices.
"Windows 8 is still behind on apps and the device selection is still far less than with Android," said Henderek. "RIM is even further behind. As a result, it will still be extremely difficult for these new platforms to work their way into the market in significant numbers."
Souring on Apple?
Still, Apple may be showing signs of slippage after six extremely successful iPhone launches. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners released a report Tuesday based on October figures suggesting that the iPhone 5 launch was less successful than its predecessor. In the month since its launch the iPhone 5 comprised 68 percent of iPhone sales, while the 4S comprised 90 percent of iPhone sales after its launch in October 2011.
Among Android users, Google said 10.3 percent of users have devices powered by version 2.2 (Froyo) while 2.7 percent are using 2.1 (Eclair.) A minuscule percentage are still on the 2009 version, Cupcake (1.5).
Numbers released in July also showed that most users were using Gingerbread, 63.6 percent at the time, but Ice Cream Sandwich had reached only 10.9 percent of users. Jelly Bean was not yet available.