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Android Distribution Numbers – April 2018: Oreo makes a jump

by Justin Herrick | April 17, 2018

Oreo is not the most popular version of Android. Instead, it’s Nougat from 2016 that stands at the front. That shouldn’t be surprising since your Android device probably doesn’t have Oreo, and there’s a good chance it never will. All these years later, fragmentation remains the thorn in Android’s side.

The Android distribution numbers for April 2018 are both good and bad. As usual, the most recent version of Android is rising. But the pace at which it’s growing remains slow. The old versions of Android, meanwhile, are slipping away but not nearly as fast as anyone wants.

Basically, the results are more of the same. Everything is trending in the right direction but not with any momentum.

These are the percentage point changes from last month:

  • Oreo: +3.5%
  • Nougat: +2.3%
  • Marshmallow: -2.1%
  • Lollipop: -1.7%
  • KitKat: -1.5%
  • Jelly Bean: -0.5%
  • Ice Cream Sandwich: no change
  • Gingerbread: no change

The surge that you’re seeing for Oreo looks impressive, but that’s with more than sixty days of wiggle room. Remember, Google last updated the Android distribution numbers back in February. It’s been over two months since we’ve seen anything so that growth isn’t as good as it’d be if there was a thirty-day gap between updates.

Google will take what it can get, anyway. As long as the more recent versions of Android continue to experience growth while others drop, the company should be happy. Yet it needs to work on ways to make software updates more common across all Android devices.

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Something that’s very interesting, at least to us, is that we should have a clear indication of how many Pixel and Nexus devices in commission with Android 8.1. It was released in December, Android 8.1 is still only on Google’s hardware and a very small number of other brands’ devices. Based on Google’s estimate that there are 2 billion Android devices in the world, it seems just 10 million of them on the highest recent version available.

We’d have to believe the majority of the 10 million belong to Google. Even popular brands like Samsung and LG have issued software updates for Oreo, but it’s Android 8.0 rather than Android 8.1. It’s another example of how embarrassing the mismanagement of software on Android is.

Google’s solution, Treble, also doesn’t seem to be doing much. The tool was meant to make software updates easier to implement, but Android devices aren’t required to have Treble unless they ship with Oreo out of the box. So we’re still a long way from having Treble make any significant impact on the Android distribution numbers.

When the company takes the stage at I/O 2018 next month, expect Treble and software updates to get some attention.

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


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