back to article Jelly Bean finally overtakes Gingerbread in Android share

The latest stats released by Google show that Android 4.1 and 4.2, aka Jelly Bean, has finally overtaken the outdated version 2.3 Gingerbread release, thanks to a rash of new phones running the OS. Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a swipe at Android's fragmented user base. He pointed out that iOS was actually the world's …


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  1. Matt Piechota

    Old version == second devices?

    There's no way to quantify this I'd guess, but I wonder how many of these old devices are people's "second" devices? I have an Android 2.2 phone (Motorola Droid) that does nothing but sit in it's dock and stream Pandora to the speakers in my living room.

    1. doctor dodongo

      Re: Old version == second devices?

      They revised their reporting methods back in April to only count devices where the user connected to the Play Store during the reporting period, so no. Previously it was based on devices connecting to Google services. Which means there's however many thousand saps still trying to use their devices running 1.6.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: Old version == second devices?

      Or the "free" phones that carriers are dumping with zero plans of providing any support of any kind.

      Fido (Rogers dumping ground in Canada) have 3 different Ice Cream Sandwich phones and the LG OPTIMUS L3 with 2.3. They are never going to see an update. "new" phones with 2 year contracts.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Old version == second devices?

        And hand-me-downs. Dad gets a phone, mum gets his old one, oldest child gets her old one, and so on down the pecking order it goes until youngest-child is SMSing from a three-line text-display on a numeric keypad.

    3. LarsG


      Profits don't come from upgrading to the latest Android operating system. Profits come from having to buy a new phone and subsidise the handset through a contract.

      That's one reason why I decided to end my relationship with Android, that and the fact that the severely delayed ICS update destroyed a good phone.

      Now I buy a new phone every year, sell the old one on and spend no more than £12 a month on a sim only contract. The economic benefits are simple when you consider I usually get in excess of 70% of the original value of the phone I sell. A two year old end of contract phone on the other hand has very little value on the second hand market.

      The phone in question, well I don't have to explain, but it's the one that has the highest resale value.

      It's all economics really.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Second device

      Otherwise known as 'The Drinking Phone'

      because not everyone thinks it's a good idea to take their brand new phone out on the lash.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    2 year update cycle

    I'd be very surprised if more than 10 % of Android users update the OS on their phone if it is not pushed directly to it. 4.x was released last year so people are moving to it "organically" when they renew their contracts / change their phones.

    However, the differences for many phones between 2.3 and 4.x are not that significant. Yes, it's a unification of tablet and phone OS but that is under the hood.

    1. Jolyon Smith

      Re: 2 year update cycle

      I find the 2.3 > 4.1/2 differences to be very significant. Possibly small, but still significant. Swipe-to-clear notifications, infinite scrolling home screen pages, 5 home screen icons vs 4, more direct access to toggles via the notifications icon bar. The list goes on.

      All small changes in themselves, but bit improvements in usability.

      Just a damned shame we couldn't get all that good stuff without also having our battery life, performance and stability go South on us (see other post on the affect that 4.1.2 had on my Galaxy S2).

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I just got upgraded last Friday

    My S II now runs 4.1.2, and although I can express support at a number of UI improvements, I find that my battery life has taken a shot in the leg - and not in a good way.

    To prevent my need for recharging during the day, I have had to implement power saving measures. This may be temporary, at least until I find what is causing this drain and shut it off, but in the meantime I am seriously hampered by having my phone at 14% battery every morning.

    Oh, and I do not really appreciate having had to redefine my entire workspace. Why did they have to trash my icon settings ?

    At least they didn't pull a Facebook and managed to keep my essential settings instead of resetting them.

    1. Jolyon Smith

      Re: I just got upgraded last Friday

      Exactly the same story here!

      I am this close (holds fingers in the air almost touching) to taking it back and getting it put back to Gingerbread. As well as the dire battery life, I find it sluggish, irritatingly unresponsiveness with enormous delays between touch and response, plus it is far less stable than before with apps crashing on a frustratingly regular basis that never had any issues before.

      Yesterday my phone crashed-OFF entirely while I was browsing a news web site. Twice.

      It's either back to Gingerbread or root and custom ROM the damned thing. 4.1.2 is simply unlivable with (on a Galaxy S2).

    2. DM2012

      Re: I just got upgraded last Friday

      I gave up waiting for the S2 upgrade a few months ago, so installed Cyanogenmod 10.1 on mine. While there is no "stable" version of the firmware, I've found the nightlies to be very, very stable for quite some time (read: no lockups, reboots or random display/sound glitches that I've seen). Android 4.2, no carrier/Samsung guff, and a neat "Privacy Guard" mode which stops apps from accessing your personal details. I've also found the battery life excellent compared to whatever the last official Sammy release was.

  4. xperroni


    My smartphone is an Android Froyo. I could have updated it to Gingerbread, but the UI changes looked ugly and I couldn't see enough added value in the new version to bother, so I didn't.

    Now I know there is plenty to worry about a lagging user base, from missed security updates to devs restricted to older "common denominator" API's. At the same time, I can't help but wonder that for many users - those who will download Angry Birds and a couple other apps and be done with it - most updates will add little to no value, and so to them this discussion about "fragmentation" is pretty pointless.

    Of course, to Apple this update thing is a big deal, because (1) they can point at it and say "we art better than thou" and (2) it gives them a way to juggle with statistics and claim they're still number one after all. But average users, I don't know if it's really a big issue to them.

  5. Nick De Plume

    Big deal..

    The "experience" on an old 2.x device and the shiny 4.x isn't totally dissimilar software-wise.

    Hardware-wise, there are mountains between them. Progress or whatnot.

    Gmail, maps etc are quite similar. Apart from the menu button, the habits are quite similar (all apps button, widgets, press-and-hold for options, a back button which is brilliant). Ah and about the menu button: please somebody tell Samsung it has been deprecated since 3.0. Thank you. And Facebook, yes, you too.

    People get new phones after one-two-three years now. And all the new phones have 4.x. It's not as if HTC or Sony or Samsung push updates to their old phones (the Samsung S2 is a notable yet minor exception).

    Android (unlike iOS) does not need OS updates for key components, as most are apps that get updated all year round through Google Play (wow, what a bad name). Kernel and base stuff is important, but they are not really apparent to the end user's experience until the base apps aren't being supported anymore, which is usually a couple of years down the line AFTER the OS got a major update.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Failed upgrade

    HTC showed no 'Desire' (pun intended) to upgrade to anything beyond 2.3. So I got my HTC Desire rooted and Cyanogen loaded. Result a totally bricked phone. Pah.

    Yet there are brand new phones still being sold still running 2.3. WTF!

    This fragmentation of the software on Android phones is its real achilles heel. Apple seem to have their system sorted but Google with their 'leave it to the makers' stance is IMHO weakening the whole Android thing.

    The HTC desire is waiting to be taken to the recycling centre. Meanwhile, I'm back using a Nokia 6310i and frankly I'm really starting to think that I really don't NEED a smartphone. Sure, I'd LIKE one but I really don't NEED one.

    1. LarsG

      A wonderful world

      I'd rather I didn't have a phone, just to have a bit of peice and quiet, like the old days when people phoned back if it was important or left a message on an answer phone.

      Imagine a day, no wife moaning and demanding I bring home a bottle of milk, no children demanding a taxi service, no customers demanding instant service, no boss demanding instant demands, no spam, no telesales, no messaging.

      That would be a wonderful world, and in 20 years or 40 if the Government keeps messing about when I retire early I will throw my phone into the sea.

      1. stratofish
        Thumb Up

        Re: A wonderful world

        The decision to be instantly accessible or not is yours.

        My phone has the ring volume turn down the day I get a new one and doesn't go back up again. Vibration is on sometimes if I'm out and planning on meeting up with someone, or drinking and know we may lose someone.

        Other than that it is there to be used when I want it like any other tool. I check for missed calls and emails now and then so I am contactable, just on my own timescale.

        As a bonus I never have to suffer telemarketers.

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