The latest statistics relating to Android Versions show a familiar pattern. The latest version Nougat still has an insignificant share while the largest pie slice belongs not to the previous version (Marshmallow) but to the one before that. Also significant is the fact that Froyo has dropped off the chart.
If this chart gives you a strong sense of deja vu then compare the chart last January which looks remarkably similar, with the then latest version (Marshmallow) having a smaller share than Froyo.
Back then I asked:
Should the fact that Marshmallow only has a 0.7% share of the pie be a cause for concern? After all new Android versions traditionally make a slow start. Almost a year ago we reported on the fact that four months after launch Lollipop only had a 1.6% share and looking back to February 2014 the news was that Since its launch over three months ago KitKat hasn't made much of an impact. It has now overtaken Froyo is terms of the number of devices using it - but only by half a percent.
Now it is Nougat that is the newcomer and seems not to have traction - which is largely to do with the fact that we are still waiting for the new hardware that demands, or even supports it. And if history is anything to go on this is no reason for concern and it will be dominant in early 2019.
So the pattern does seem to repeat as can be appreciated by looking in more detail at the figures:
Nougat has 0.7% share while Lollipop is now on a third of devices with Marshmallow on almost 30%. KitKat's share (now less than a quarter) is shrinking more quickly than Jelly Bean's did. Or to put it another way, Jelly Bean is holding up well with still over 12% share.
Many will be sad to note the absence of Android 2.2, Froyo (Frozen Yoghurt) which was the first of the really popular versions of Android.
As developers how important is it to keep abreast of the latest Android version?
The statistics suggest you are safe to disregard it for around 6-9 months. The other question is how far back do you need to go. Only 2% of "active"devices are still pre-Jelly Bean but on the other hand there are likely to be quite a few loyal Android users clinging to this this generation of device.
Perhaps it is time for Android to adopt a feature freeze and get some of its internals cleaned up and sorted out.
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