Marshmallow & Lollipop most popular Android versions, while Nougat holds on to 1%

It has been 9 years since the first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream was released. Today, Android is the most used mobile operating system out there with billions of handsets running some version of Android. Although it has been a wonderful journey, the problem which persists for Android as a whole still exists: Fragmentation.

Not all Android versions are created equal. There have been 10 major versions of Android today, with the latest being Nougat. Although Google pushes out the latest version of Android to their Nexus and Pixel lineup, it is not the same story with OEMs. Most devices ship with a heavily skinned version of Android, tailored to fit the hardware and UX as the OEM sees fit. In some cases, a new version of Android may mean to entirely rework the skin for the device, requiring OEMs to develop code from scratch. Older devices get left behind, while even the latest devices do not receive the latest version until a few months. This has caused Android devices to be extremely fragmented, as there are different iterations of Android running on different devices. This means that developers have a tough time testing their app, and sometimes may have to opt out of using newer features, just because most of their target users are running an older version of the OS. This also puts security at risk here, as the devices are no longer being updated. Vulnerabilities and exploits stay unpatched as it would mean pouring too much resourced to pour over one 2-year-old device.

The latest data from Google shows that Lollipop and Marshmallow have been leading the pack, with 32% and 30% respectively. The latest version, Nougat, barely holds on to 1%, even though it has been months since its release. It looks like Kitkat is still going strong with 22% devices running it. ICS and Gingerbread have dropped to 1% each, with the older devices being phased out. It is no wonder you are still waiting for your Nougat update, as OEMs still continue to work on it, and older phones being ignored by them as usual.

Which version of Android are you using currently? Let us know in the comments section.

Via: Android Developer Blog