Despite Ice Cream Sandwich push, Gingerbread dominates on Android devices

Most Android users are still stuck using the earlier "Gingerbread" edition of the platform.

We may be hearing a lot about Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich"), but most Android users are still stuck using the earlier "Gingerbread" edition of the platform.

The latest Android numbers released by Google today show that 62% of all Android devices that accessed Android Market over the past two weeks used Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") while 25.3% used Android 2.2 ("Froyo"). Devices using Ice Cream Sandwich accounted for just 1.6% of all devices to access the Android Market, up only slightly from the 1% that Ice Cream Sandwich devices registered on the Android Market last month. Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb"), which was the first version of Android optimized for tablets, also made very little noise as it ran on just 3.3% of all devices accessing the Android Market.

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The share of Ice Cream Sandwich devices accessing the Android Market should increase significantly in the coming months, however, as there are several new devices based on the platform that are slated for release in the near future. Last week's Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona saw the debut of several new Ice Cream Sandwich devices, including the Huawei Ascend D Quad, the HTC One X, the Asus Padfone, the LG Optimus 4X HD, the Acer Liquid Glow and the Acer CloudMobile.

Ice Cream Sandwich, which made its public debut last October, is the first edition of Google's open-source Android mobile platform that has been optimized for both tablets and smartphones. Google developed the platform to unite Android on both form factors and thus give application developers assurance that they can develop applications for Android that will perform consistently over different types of devices. In addition, the operating system came with several new features including a lock screen that can unlock using facial recognition software; Android Beam, technology that lets users send contact information, directions, Web pages and more via near field communications by tapping their phones together; and integration with the Google+ social network that lets users host online video chats among their circles of friends.

Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world, as research firm Gartner reported late last year that Android devices accounted for more than half of all smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2011. Since its debut in the fall of 2007, Android has appeared on numerous popular smartphones for several carriers including Verizon's Motorola Droid and Sprint's HTC Evo 4G.

As an open-source operating system that is free for device manufacturers to use, Android has been adopted by a wide range of handset makers including HTC, Motorola, LG, Samsung and Sony-Ericsson. Google recently announced that it is now activating more than 850,000 Android devices every day and that there are more than 300 million Android devices active across the globe.

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Brad Reed

Network World

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