Android turns 5
One of the most popular operating systems for smartphones and tablets, Google-owned Android has turned five. If you own an Android device, you are a part of a tribe that has been steadily growing since 2007.
Recently, when Googleís Hugo Barra announced that the company had recorded more than 500 million Android smartphones activated by September, no one was surprised. It is common knowledge that Android has penetrated markets around the globe quite well, but these figures by International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed the true extent of Androidís reach. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136 million units, accounting for 75 percent of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2012. The 91.5 percent year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4 percent, the report states.
The report states that Android, having topped the 100 million unit mark last quarter, reached a new record level in a single quarter. In comparison, Android's total volumes for the quarter were greater than the total number of smartphones shipped in 2007, the year in which Android was officially announced. Samsung once again led all vendors in this space, but saw its market share decline as numerous smaller vendors increased their production.
According to data released every month by Google on the Android Developer site, 2.7 percent of all Android devices run the latest flavour of the Android operating system, Android v4.1 Jelly Bean. The number of Android devices running version 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, has risen to 25.8 percent. Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are showing slow but steady growth in the rate of adoption. The number of Android smartphones running Ice Cream Sandwich increased in October by almost two percent from Septemberís 23.7 percent, while Jelly Bean showed a growth of almost one percent from its September figure of 1.8 percent.
As has been the case for a long time now, Android v2.3 Gingerbread is dominating the Android market with its 54.2 percent share. Its share has fallen by more than one percentage point since Septemberís figure of 55.5 percent.
The number of devices running Froyo hasnít fallen as much as Gingerbread, though. Froyo is now at 12 percent, down from the September figure of 12.9 percent. All figures are based on the number of Android devices that have accessed Google Play over a 14-day period.
The slow growth in the number of Jelly Bean devices is not so surprising considering the low number of devices compatible with the operating system. However, the snailís pace at which Ice Cream Sandwich adoption is growing indicates how big a problem fragmentation is for the Android platform. Unlike Apple, there is too much of variation in the hardware of Android devices for manufacturers to simply push an update, once Google makes it available. It also seems that casual users arenít quick to update their devices either.