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There are nearly 19,000 different devices running Android out in the wild, according to new report

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Android fragmentation appears to be on the decline as a pain for app developers, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a panoply of different devices running Android out there. In fact, the number of different Android devices continues to grow, according to a new report from OpenSignal, which collected data from nearly 19,000 different Android devices, a jump of roughly 7,000 more devices than last year.

Compared with last year’s report, that are a lot fewer people using Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which was the second most common Android variant last year. The proportion of devices running Gingerbread dropped from 34.1 percent to 13.6 percent, which is most likely the effect of older devices getting replaced, rather than receiving updates. Out of 682,000 devices surveyed globally, nearly 21 percent are using Android 4.4 KitKat, which is currently the most advanced version of Android available to consumers.

OpenSignal chart describing the breakdown of OS versions, 2014
OpenSignal chart describing the breakdown of OS versions, 2014

But the report takes pains to point out that older versions of Android are much more common in poorer countries, as measured by per capita GDP. Included on the OpenSignal site is a very nifty interactive chart that makes clear KitKat has much less penetration in countries in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America than in regions like Western Europe.

This is another reason why Google’s Android One program is so important: Android might be open to any device manufacturer, but it is in Google’s interest to make sure those devices are running an up-to-date operating system with full access to [company]Google[/company] services, even if those phones are significantly less expensive than models sold in Western Europe or the United States.

OpenSignal collected the data from its Android app, which tracks the performance of various networks around the world as well as working as pointing users to the nearest carrier cell tower. You might remember OpenSignal’s report on Android fragmentation from last year, which included a graphic on Android screen resolutions that went viral. Below is the updated version for this year.

OpenSignal chart for observed Android screen resolutions, 2014
OpenSignal chart displaying observed Android screen resolutions, 2014

It’s important to remember that Android fragmentation is much less of a problem than it used to be, thanks to Google’s efforts to move core Android elements out of the operating system and into Google Play Services, which updates automatically and works even with older versions, such as Gingerbread. The screen size problem, as shown by the graphic above, isn’t even that bad: Designers now know how to use high-resolution graphics and adapt for minor differences in width and height according to Google’s best design practices.

Still, the report is useful as a another sign of Android’s dominance as the top global mobile operating system. IDC points to Android having an 85 percent global market share, and the way that Android got there is through the unending number of different devices being used around the world — 18,786, according to OpenSignal’s data. Bet on that number rising yet again next year.

3 Responses to “There are nearly 19,000 different devices running Android out in the wild, according to new report”

  1. Samir Shah

    Mine came with Gingerbread and Samsung has not upgraded it. Usually low and mid range device are not upgraded in a country like India.

    And, because of that I have been left out of using AOL Reader clones. These clones require 4.0 and up.

  2. The GDP per capita section is moronic since it’s not about GDP , it’s about carrier subs that kill competition and diversity. Regulators allow carrier subs and that results in a dysfunctional market and the lack of diversity that is not directly linked to GDP., it’s just a practice that has become the norm and nobody really dares to question it anymore even if it’s anti-competitive, monopolistic and doesn’t give any chance to local start-ups.
    Sure the size of the subs is proportional to the GDP , expect where regulators and the gov would be smart enough to understand how harmful it is.
    It took a very long time for Asia PC makers to take over ,because American PC makers had a huge home market. In phones the shift was a lot faster because carrier subs just killed everybody and only helped Apple and Samsung. Ofc that’s only part of it, the phone market is far bigger than PC and the US is a much smaller % of it.
    Still ,this killed a few future American hardware giants and gave those spots to someone from India and China.
    Now why not kill net neutrality next to ruin the software and online services sector too, let the carriers make a few bucks now and destroy the future.

  3. Clearly a difference between the platforms. For good context though, it would be helpful to show the raw number of iOS 7 devices vs KitKat devices. I suspect they have similar scale.