More Android devices are now running either Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean software, which arrived in December 2011 and July 2012, respectively. According to Google’s Developer Dashboard, 28.5 percent of devices visiting the Google Play store were running either Android 4.0 or 4.1 during the two-week period ending on Nov. 1. That’s a slight gain from a month ago when 24.5 percent of devices were found to run one of these Android versions.
Looking at the two versions, the bigger percentage gainer was Android 4.1, which jumped by half: From 1.8 percent of all Android devices to 2.7 percent. There are actually few phones and tablets shipping with the Jelly Bean software today, but that will change in the coming months. And upgrades to 4.1 for some handsets — such as the 30 million Samsung Galaxy S III phones that have now shipped — are in the works, which will boost the adoption rate.
Google’s Nexus 7 tablet likely represents the bulk of devices with Android 4.1, but there isn’t enough data here to try to determine sales of Google’s 7-inch slate. Later this month more Nexus devices will be added to the mix: The Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet will begin shipping with Android 4.2, a slightly improved version of Jelly Bean. I expect older Nexus 7 tablets to be upgraded from Android 4.1 to 4.2 within a few weeks of the new device shipments.
As I noted last month, the pace of major change to Android is slowing down: The platform is relatively stable and now seeing a few new features every several months. That contrasts with Android’s early days, when Google quickly worked to bring the platform closer to par with Apple’s iOS software.
Based on the numbers, the new devices and software upgrade efforts from device makers, I’m sticking with my prediction from last month: “In four to six months, the majority of Android devices are running on Android 4.0 or better.” The Android fragmentation issue that plagued the platform for much of its history is likely to be a non-issue by this time next year.