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Google: Fewer than half of Android phones now use Gingerbread (finally)

Google's Android developer statistics indicate that the proportion of Android users running the outdated Gingerbread version of the operating system has finally fallen below 50%, as the device ecosystem slowly begins to shift toward more modern variants.

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While Version 4.1, or Jelly Bean, is the latest and greatest flavor of Android, the majority of users still run Gingerbread (Version 2.3), which came out in December 2010. Effectively, this means that the Android user base is fragmented, causing headaches for developers who must ensure their apps are compatible with several versions of the platform.

Gingerbread now accounts for 47.6% of Android devices in use -- still comfortably ahead of the far more recent 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich, at 29.1%. Jelly Bean has reached 10.2% of the market in the roughly half a year since its release, outstripping the older-still Froyo (Version 2.2) which has 9%. Google's statistics are based on a tabulation of the number of devices that have accessed the Google Play store during a 14-day period.

The continued prevalence of Gingerbread use is a source of considerable hand-wringing among Android fans, who blame cellular carriers and hardware makers for extensive delays in updating devices to the latest standard. Extensive compatibility testing and certification is required for each update, however, making the process a substantial investment of time and resources for those companies. As a result, some older devices simply never get upgraded.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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