Summer is fast approaching, and if you're an Android fan, what better treat is there to celebrate the change in season than a delicious Ice Cream Sandwich? Certainly not Gingerbread, yet going by the numbers, that's what the large majority of Android users are chomping on. According to Google's updated Platform Versions website, only 2.9 percent of Android devices are rocking Android 4.0 or later (4.0.2 and 4.0.3).
Nearly two thirds -- 63.7 percent -- are still stuck with one of the Gingerbread builds, followed by almost a quarter -- 23.1 percent -- floating by with Froyo (Android 2.2). As we go back through the builds, the penetration rate drops rapidly with 6 percent of Android devices running Eclair (Android 2.1), and just 1 percent running either Donut (Android 1.6) or Cupcake (Android 1.5). Honeycomb (Android 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2) accounts for 3.3 percent of devices.
This is perhaps the biggest challenge that comes from wielding an open source operating system like Android. It's that dirty F-word that keeps getting thrown around: Fragmentation.
It's worth noting, as Electronista did, that most iOS device owners are now running iOS 5.1, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, and have been ever since a few weeks after launching. It's not that Apple devices are better, but it is a closed platform with just one major device in each category (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), so it's far easier to roll out updates to more users in a timely manner.
It's an apples and androids comparison, of course, but nevertheless, it doesn't change the fact that Android updates are typically slow to roll out en masse. On a positive note, ICS seems to finally be picking up some steam. The current 2.9 penetration rate is almost double the 1.6 percent rate from one month ago. By the time summer rolls around, we expect many more Android users will be enjoying ICS, and wondering when they'll be able to get their hands on Jellybean.