Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) reports that the adoption rate for its latest software version, Android 4.4 KitKat, increased from 8.5 percent to 13.6 percent in the past month. The Mountain View, California, company released distribution statistics for its Android operating system on Thursday, indicating adoption growth on pace with the previous month, when it went from 5.3 percent in April to 8.5 percent.
In addition to the increase in Android 4.4 adoption, statistics indicate that 58.4 percent of devices run Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean, which is down from 60.8 last month. Devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich are now at 12.3 percent, down from 13.4 percent, while use of Android 2.3 Gingerbread is at 14.9 percent, down from 16.2 percent.
Google also reports that its Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform is now largely out of distribution, with less than 1 percent of devices using the system. Honeycomb was Google’s first and only attempt at developing an operating system especially for tablets. Platforms have been compatible with both smartphones and tablets as of Android 4.0.
Google is known for frequently updating its system versions, which contributes to its heavy fragmentation. There's a wide range of devices running different Android versions due to the fact that many different hardware manufacturers use the operating system to power their devices. So it's those manufacturers and not Google that largely determine the update schedules for most devices running Android. Notably, Google’s own Nexus line of smartphones and tablets promptly update with the introduction of a new Android version. Currently, Nexus devices are updating to Android 4.4.3, which became available on Tuesday.
These statistics indicate an overall upward trend in favor of Android 4.4 KitKat. During the Android 4.4 release, Google announced that the system has been optimized to be compatible with a wider range of devices in order to decrease system fragmentation. Many manufacturers including Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX: 005930), HTC Corp. (TPE: 2498) and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) have also made efforts update their devices to Android 4.4 KitKat more promptly than they have in the past. In addition, manufacturers are releasing more mid-range and low-end devices with Android 4.4 KitKat.