Google has just released its monthly chart for Android coverage and most of it is what you’d expect, with older versions shrinking and latter ones getting stronger. What is somewhat surprising, though just a wee bit expected, is that Android 5.0 Lollipop is still missing from the picture, hinting at the rather slow adoption of the latest Android version, despite Google’s more aggressive push in order to combat that notorious image fragmentation that has beset the platform.
Considering that Google doesn’t show Android versions that don’t even reach 0.1 percent distribution, it means that Lollipop has not even reached those numbers yet. This means that the total number of Nexus devices, both new and old, running the OS isn’t enough to bolster those numbers. It also reflects that OEM adoption and rollout has been rather slow. Indeed, most of the manufacturers will only be releasing their updates starting February and hopefully we’ll see a more positive upward trend by March or April.
To some extent, this isn’t exactly unexpected. Android 5.0 is a major jump in the platform, bringing in huge and sometimes incompatible changes in the OS that will require more testing by manufacturers, especially those that have custom skins on their devices. That’s not to mention the testing that carriers will also have to do for their apps services. These two are the major bottlenecks in getting Android updates out the door and Google is only too happy to put the blame there.
On the up side, things are looking good for Android overall in terms of resolving fragmentation from the software side. Everything except 4.4 KitKat are going down in numbers, which is just as it should be. Even 4.2 Jelly Bean, which has been steadily increasing in the past months, has finally started to decline in December. The combined numbers of the Jelly Bean line still has the upper hand, but Kitkat is starting to grow by leaps and bounds, with a 5.2 percent increase this month, its second highest record so far.