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The pace has started to move in the direction of new updates in the past year, with Google and partners making sure Android devices are upgraded every six months and users get a better experience even with an older device.
It has come to the point almost 50 percent of Android smartphones are running Jelly Bean, the latest name change on Android. The other fifty percent continue to use Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich.
Jelly Bean is split into three main versions, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, with the next in line KitKat 4.4. The majority of users on Jelly Bean actually use 4.1 instead of the later versions, showing there is still some minor fragmentation on the OS.
The way we see it going is all Gingerbread smartphones will start slowly sliding away, like Windows XP machines. Once those are gone, smartphones running ICS will either be upgraded or dumped and Jelly Bean will become the new leader.
This does present some problems for the next versions of Android, especially KitKat that looks like a small upgrade but may be fundamental to Google’s plans of getting quick adoption across the board, on all devices high and low-end.
In the long term, Google is going to have to make Android updates quicker and easier across the board. With iOS, Apple pushes the update to all compatible devices, but with Android partners need to be informed and update their UI for every smartphone.
This makes it hard for all Android users to get a quick upgrade to the latest version, especially when some partners aren’t as fast at upgrading as others, like HTC were and still are with some devices.