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Android KitKat install base hits 20 per cent

Luke Johnson



Android KitKat is continuing its slow crawl out to compatible handsets, with Google confirming the latest iteration of its mobile OS is now on 20.9 per cent of devices.

Although Android 4.4 KitKat is now powering a fifth of all smartphones and tablets in the Android ecosystem, the software’s install base still pails in insignificance to that of its predecessor, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Google’s latest figures have shown that Jelly Bean is still being run on 54.2 per cent of all Android devices, with the very first Android 4.3 release accounting for more than half of this user base.

Despite Android 4.4 KitKat having originally been introduced 10 months ago, Android 4.4 KitKat updates are still missing from a number of compatible devices.

What’s more, despite high-profile handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3 now coming preinstalled with KitKat, the new Android L OS is widely expected to be introduced alongside the Nexus 6 this October.

With Google having long been criticised for its fragmented mobile platform, these latest figures further highlight the gulf in update patterns between Android and iOS.

Last month Apple confirmed that iOS 7 adoption rates had already hit 90 per cent, with a 74 per cent install base having been achieved during the software’s first two months of availability.

Read More: Nexus 8 release date


August 14, 2014, 10:44 am

This is a media led irrelevant red herring story, and it is also based on misreporting. Want me to justify that?

1) The 54% still on Jelly Bean are only missing out on a very small number of features. I would argue that most of them are little-used.

2) There are absolutely NO apps which are KitKat only, and most apps will run on lower versions too.

3) In comparison, Apple told the developer community that they had to recode/redesign new and upgraded apps for iOS by Feb 1st this year for them to remain available on the App Store. Imposing this kind of rule is a different way of solving the same problem for the end user, but it means that "fragmentation" between recent versions of the OS in the Android world is not really a problem. The very word "fragmentation" sounds negative, but in the Android ecosystem, it just doesn't matter that much.

3) The comparison with iOS is disingenuous. iOS only has to run on a single line of hardware devices. Its wholly non-comparable. Android has to run on thousands of different hardware configurations

4) What Google ACTUALLY say on their developer dashboard is that the 20.9% is the proportion of active and registered with Google Play, which is "compatible with Android 2.2 and higher". So your statement "Android KitKat is continuing its slow crawl out to compatible handsets" is simply not provable from the facts. For all we know, the 20.9% of KitKat devices represents 100% of the compatible devices because, as we know, KitKat can't be installed on plenty of devices which are more than capable of being included in the set of devices which have version 2.2 or above installed. Now you COULD argue that Google have been poor in designing a system whereby only the newest devices can run the latest OS, but that's a different story altogether.

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