Oreo might’ve started gaining momentum just as it’s about to be replaced.
The Android distribution numbers for July 2018 are in, and the data reveals that the latest version of Android is on 12.1 percent of devices. Oreo, which was released in August 2017, has long struggled to find its way to global popularity.
Most companies are still rolling out mid-range and low-end hardware with outdated software, but Google does have two initiatives for them to stay current. Android One puts Google in control of software updates while Android Go optimizes the user experience on entry-level devices. Both, however, are unlikely to have contributed much to Oreo yet.
If anything, it’s time that has helped Oreo climb up. Google’s had plenty of time for partners to catch up and get it onto new and existing products.
These are the percentage changes from two months ago:
- Oreo: +6.4%
- Nougat: -0.3%
- Marshmallow: -2%
- Lollipop: -2%
- KitKat: -1.2%
- Jelly Bean: -0.7%
- Ice Cream Sandwich: -0.1%
- Gingerbread: -0.1%
Every non-Oreo version fell in the last two months since Google last shared the Android distribution numbers. Based on the shift toward Oreo, the outlook is positive. But it won’t last forever since Android P is due out in about a month or so.
After the public build hits, we’ll be back to seeing the latest version of Android on a scary-low number of devices around the world.
Google, though, does have a plan to combat fragmentation. It’ll just take some time to know if it’s working or not. When Oreo was released in 2017, Google included a modular-like setup where partners could easily keep up with system-level updates.
With Android P, the Mountain View-based company brought in partners to test the software. Companies like HMD Global, Sony, and Essential have been able to participate in the Android Beta Program. The idea is that, by bringing in third-party hardware, Android P will be better suited to work across all devices and not just Google’s.
We’ll have an understanding for this strategy in a year or so. By then, most brands will ship mobile devices based on Android P or Android Q. If successful, Google should see the two most recent versions of Android remain at the top over time.