The beginning of the month brings paychecks, bills, and new Android distribution statistics from Google. And while April’s stats aren’t dramatically better than March’s, they do show a steady progression for Ice Cream Sandwich. Thanks to a handful of updates on devices like the HTC Vivid and Galaxy S II, the latest version of Android is now running on 2.9% of devices, up from 1.6% last month. That’s about an 80% growth factor – and impressive figure, but still a little disheartening when you think that the open-source software has been available for almost five months.
Gingerbread is still top dog among Android devices, with a whopping 63.7% share. Next is Froyo (now almost two years old) with 23.1%, followed by Eclair (Android 2.1) at 6.0%. Honeycomb is holding steady at 3.3% of all Android devices – it’ll likely be eclipsed by Android 4.0 next month, never to recover. Ice Cream Sandwich’s ability to run on both smartphones and tablets has made Honeycomb even more obsolete than older Android versions; the best it ever managed to do was 3.4%.
That raises and interesting point for those who follow this sort of thing. Honeycomb has been called “a beta for Ice Cream Sandwich”, thanks to its lack of flexibility (at the time) and the basically indisputable superiority of the newer operating system. But its real downfall is that Google never made the source code for Honeycomb available while it had buzz in the tech world – it wasn’t until ICS was released as well that developers (and even some manufacturers) got to play with it. At that point, why would anyone start developing a Honeycomb device or update? The morale of the story: Android does best when it’s distributed freely, and in a timely manner.