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Android Distribution Numbers – January 2018: Oreo’s barely moving

by Justin Herrick | January 10, 2018January 10, 2018 2:00 pm EST

Not even 1% of all the Android devices in the world today are on Oreo. Google posted the Android distribution numbers for January 2018, and it’s still the same story for Android in the new year. The platform’s latest version is struggling onto phones, tablets, and smartwatches despite being available for five months.

Older versions, meanwhile, are fading away but not nearly as fast as anyone would hope. And Marshmallow, which was released more than two years ago, remains the most popular version. It’s a sign that, despite what Google say it’s doing, fragmentation continues to be a major problem.

With Oreo, Google introduced Treble as a way for partners to easily update their software overlays to the latest version of Android. Unfortunately, though, they’re not required to implement it unless the device ships with Oreo right out of the box. So there’s going to be a long wait for us to see whether or not Treble will actually do anything.

These are the percentage point changes from last month:

  • Oreo: +0.2%
  • Nougat: +3%
  • Marshmallow: -1.1%
  • Lollipop: -1.2%
  • KitKat: -0.6%
  • Jelly Bean: -0.3%
  • Ice Cream Sandwich: no change
  • Gingerbread: no change

Oreo and Nougat are the only two versions to experience growth from December, but Marshmallow isn’t declining so fast. That’s because Google pushed Marshmallow as an optimized version for mid-range and low-end hardware; therefore, it’s popular in emerging markets like India even today.

It’s downright embarrassing for Oreo to be sitting below 1% this month. Taking into account the 2 billion monthly active users on Android confirmed in May, it would appear that the latest version of Android is on just 14 million devices.

Apple, on the other hand, is able to get its phones and tablets upgraded at a much better rate within weeks of rolling out new versions of iOS.

So far there aren’t many Oreo-based devices. Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 have it, and from there it gets a little spotty. Select partners like Sony and OnePlus have issued software updates; however, they’re not heavy-hitters like Samsung and LG. Google needs to global, high-volume brands to get Oreo out right away for the Android distribution numbers to start getting favorable.

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...