After two weeks off to recharge my batteries for the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, it’s time to recap of some of the more important Android news of the past few days. Like the beginning of every month, Google updated its developer dashboard showing the distribution of devices using different Android versions. The number of Android 4.0 and 4.1 users jumped to 39.3 percent in the two-week period ending Jan. 3.
Only two months prior that figure was under 30 percent; in 60 days the total percentage of Android 4.x users hitting the Google Play store increased 10.8 points. And devices running the most common Android version, Gingerbread, finally dropped to under one half of all smartphones and tablets running Android: 47.6 percent are using some variant of Android 2.3.
Both trends should continue accelerating as most Android 2.3 devices aren’t getting more software updates. Instead, users will transition to newer smartphones and tablets that run Android 4.0 or better. I’m still holding to my prediction from last October: “In four to six months, the majority of Android devices are running on Android 4.0 or better.”
Something that all Android devices will benefit from are digital magazines. Android Police learned that print subscribers to certain magazine titles can easily get the digital version due to a change in the Google Play store.
There’s now a Play store option to get the title digital, if the publisher provides free digital access to subscribers. The action appears seamless and should make the overall digital magazine experience better on Androids.
While I don’t expect any blockbuster news out of Samsung at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, the company is surely working on a successor to its best-selling Galaxy S III. Logic dictates this will be the Galaxy S4 and a leaked image of the alleged device appeared this week. SamMobile shows a phone that unsurprisingly looks like a larger Galaxy S3, but with a thinner bezel and no hardware home button.
The rumored Galaxy S4 will reportedly use a 5-inch display with full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. Samsung’s next generation Exynos is sure to power the smartphone; possibly in a 2 GHz configuration. Again, Samsung isn’t expected to debut such a device at CES. It’s far more likely that any new Galaxy flagship will debut at Samsung’s own press event a few months from now.