Android 6.0 Marshmallow may be ready to launch, but the majority of Android devices haven’t managed to update to Lollipop yet.
According to figures from Google, as of October, only around 24% of devices have Lollipop. Of those devices, nearly 16% are running Android Lollipop 5.0, while 8% have Lollipop 5.1.
Nearly 40% f devices are still running KitKat, Android 4.4.
A full 30% of devices still use Jelly Bean. Recent numbers show 11.4% uses 4.1x, 14.5% use 4.2x and 4.3% use version 4.3.
From there it dips to single-digits for earlier versions of Android: 3.4% use Ice Cream Sandwich, 3.8% use Gingerbread and only .2% still use Foryo.
Compate that to iOS adoption rates for iPhone users. In September 90% of Apple devices were running iOS 8, but by the second week in October, 60% of users had upgraded to iOS 9.
The reason is what’s called fragmentation. Since Apple makes all the devices that run iOS, they push out updates to everyone at the same time. Since Android devices come from hundreds of different manufacturers, each of which tweaks the operating system for their needs, updates need to come from the manufacturers. Some manufacturers don’t bother with operating updates while other wait nearly a year or more to offer one.
So, it’s quite a challenge to get all Android devices on the same page, even if the update is free. Having all of your users on the same operating system makes security and the development of new apps and features much easier.
That’s one of the reasons Microsoft is offering the upgrade to Windows 10 for free and actively encouraging users to upgrade.
With the introduction of Marshmallow, expect even more fragmentation among Android users.