For the past few months, Android versions 1.6 and 2.1 have been teetering on the brink of oblivion in the monthly Android distribution numbers. With the proliferation of Jelly Bean, these two early versions of Android are finally on their way out.
In the September update to the Android distribution chart, Google reveals that Donut and Eclair – Android 1.6 and Android 2.1 respectively – are no longer being tracked. The official reason is that the new Google Play store app only supports Android 2.2 and higher, but Google also notes that versions older than Android 2.2 only account for about 1 percent of all devices signing into Google’s servers.
With two versions being eliminated, we’re left with only five versions of Android on the distribution chart. Out of those five, the three most prominent Android versions are Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean continues its meteoric rise as it gains almost 4 percentage points over last month. Ice Cream Sandwhich and Gingerbread continue to see declines, however, as more people are upgrading to Jelly Bean or buying new devices with the latest OS installed.
So, what’s going on the chopping block next? I don’t think Google will remove Google Play support for Android 2.2 anytime soon, but usage numbers may soon necessitate the removal of Honeycomb, or Android 3.2, from the list. Ice Cream Sandwich made the tablet UI of Honeycomb obsolete, and the usage numbers call its relevance into question.
As for the future release of KitKat, it will be interesting to see distribution numbers once it’s out in the wild. If my theory on KitKat being Google’s big push to put Android on more devices is correct, we could see the Android distribution charts taking devices like game consoles and smart watches into account. Mobile devices will still be the primary home of Android, but it will be interesting to see if other devices can make a dent in the distribution numbers.[Image: Android Developers]