The Android distribution numbers for February 2018 are in, and they’re exactly what you expect with the way the last few months have gone. Oreo, which Google launched in August, continues to struggle despite being the marquee version for partners to utilize on new and existing hardware.
Various versions of Android are alive and well, which leads to a problem in which Google can’t get the vast majority of devices onto Android 8.0 Oreo. Fragmentation has always been an issue for the platform; however, now it’s downright embarrassing. KitKat and Jelly Bean, two versions from more than three years ago, are still ahead of Oreo all these months later.
While Google is proud that there are more than 2 billion Android devices in the world today, it can’t be thrilled to see the most recent version of Android struggle to gain any momentum and reach a significant number of users.
The disappointment continues without an immediate solution in sight.
These are the percentage point changes from last month:
- Oreo: +0.4%
- Nougat: +2.2%
- Marshmallow: -0.5%
- Lollipop: -0.5%
- KitKat: -0.8%
- Jelly Bean: -0.6%
- Ice Cream Sandwich: -0.1%
- Gingerbread: -0.1%
Oreo finally broke 1%, making its way to roughly 22 million devices. There’s little to cheer about there, however, since the growth is so insignificant. Google made Oreo available to everyone back in August, and here we are in February with barely any devices shipping with the latest version of Android or getting it in a software update.
Five older versions remain ahead of Oreo. Nougat (28.5%), Marshmallow (28.1%), Lollipop (24.6%), KitKat (12%), and Jelly Bean (5%) remain ahead of the version that should be leading.
As we progress through 2018, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and other flagships should help make the Android distribution numbers seem more attractive. But no one except Google can really fix the problem at heart. Since Google doesn’t control software updates, it can’t force Android devices to be upgraded.
Treble, at least on paper, is Google’s solution to fragmentation. It allows for partners to continue using their own software overlays while updating the framework behind Android. Unfortunately current devices aren’t required to have Treble, only new devices shipping with Oreo are.
It’s likely that Oreo makes long-awaited inroads on the chart near the end of the year, and by then Android P will already be upon us. And so the cycle will continue.