KitKat, the newest version of Google’s Android mobile operating system, continues to make slow and steady progress after reaching 8.5 percent adoption among Android smartphones and tablets that use the Google Play app store each month, according to the latest data from the search giant.
Adoption of the seven-month-old software among “active” Android devices — as Google refers to them — is up from 5.3 percent at the beginning of April, but KitKat still sits in the shadow of Jelly Bean, its predecessor, which accounts for 60.8 percent across its three separate versions. The rate of Jelly Bean installations did drop slightly over the past month, however, having accounted for 61.4 percent in April.
There’s little change in the longer tail of Android flavors. Ice Cream Sandwich installs are at 13.4 percent (down from 14.3 percent in April), Honeycomb remains on a tiny 0.1 percent minority of devices, while Gingerbread adoption dropped to 16.2 percent, from 17.8 percent in April.
Froyo, the oldest build that Google tracks, is currently installed on just one percent of active Android phones. That figure was slightly higher last month, when it accounted for 1.1 percent.
Here’s the latest data for May:
And, for comparison, here are April’s figures:
Unlike Apple, which enjoys quick adoption of new iOS updates because they are initiated by the user, Android upgrades are dependent on both carriers and handset makers being ready for changes, which is a key reason why Android is more fragmented than iOS.
To counter that, Google has begun introducing some features independently of its operating system. It made its stock camera available for download last month — marking a key first step to making updates independent of OEMs and carriers.
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