Android developers, rejoice! More than three-quarters of Android devices are running 4.0 or later

by Joey deVilla on February 5, 2014

In January 2012, the Android version situation looked like this:

android version situation 2 years ago

At that time, the latest major version of Android was 4.0 — the first half-decent version, in my opinion — which was released three months prior, in October 2011. If you were building an Android app back then, you’d have to target the 2.1 version of Android if you wanted it to run on most people’s Android phones and tablets.

By way of comparison, the current version of iOS at the time — iOS 5 — hit 20% adoption within 5 days of release. That’s because you get iOS updates directly from Apple, while with Android, you get your updates from your carrier. They’d much rather have you update your OS the more lucrative way: by buying a new phone and matching contract.

The situation was greatly improved the following year, driven by the success of Samsung’s Galaxy S III (released May 2012) and Galaxy Note II (released September 2012), both of which came with Android 4.0.4 or later. I wrote about this change last year:

the android version situation may 2013

At that point, we finally hit the point where modern versions of Android — 4.0.x or later — made for more than half of all the versions out there. You still had to account for the just-tolerable 2.3.x variants if you wanted to reach most of the market, but if you just wanted to target devices with not-so-oldie-and-moldie Android, it was actually practical to do so.

Here’s the present situation, taken straight from the Android Developer site’s Dashboards page, based on data collected for the 7 days leading up to February 4, 2014. These days, its data comes from the Google Play Store app, which runs on Android 2.2. or later, which is why pre-2.2 versions of Android (Cupcake, Donut, and Eclair) don’t appear on the graph:

the android version situation today

If you want the latest data on Android version shares, you’ll want to bookmark the Android Developer Dashboards page and hit it weekly.

Those stubborn Android 2.3.x versions still make up one in five Android versions out there in the wild, but the good news is that over three-quarters of the Android world is now running 4.0 or later. If you’re targeting those Samsung Galaxy S III/S4, Moto X, HTC One or other modern device users, you shouldn’t feel bad about doing this on ADT’s New Android Application window:

new android application window

Good news, indeed.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kerr February 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

It’s good to see that using ICS as a minimum will target more than 75% of active Play store users. I won’t miss coding (as many) version based code branches.

Nice Blade Runner reference!

~Kerr

2 Joey deVilla February 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Kerr: I’m glad someone spotted it!

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