It’s been nearly a year since Google made Android 2.3 Gingerbread available to the public, and it’s taken nearly that long for it to dominate the Android space. Google’s posted the November numbers for the various distributions of Android, and Gingerbread has surpassed the 50% mark for the first time. The various versions of Gingerbread now run on 50.6% of all Android phones and tablet, up from 43.9% last month.
Froyo is still on more than a third of active Android devices, however. Android 2.2 accounts for 35.3 of all devices. On the plus side, 2.1 Eclair, now almost two years old, is only being used by slightly more than 10% of phones and tablets. Honeycomb is still at a measely 2.4% of all Android devices, but it’s restricted to tablets, and was not available in an open-source form until a few weeks ago.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich doesn’t show up on the latest chart, despite being available on the Galaxy Nexus in a few select markets. But its’ got a lot of growing to do, and will probably do so very fast: unlike Honeycomb, it’s been open source from the get go, and device manufacturers will begin to implement it into new hardware very soon. Makers of inexpensive Android tablets in China are already starting to test alpha hardware running ICS. And the open source code opens the door for custom ROM makers, many of whom have already released early versions for existing phones and tablets.
Between the already huge Android smartphone market and the growing tablet market, ICS could be the Android OS with the fastest adoption rate ever. We’ll see in the coming months.