Two weeks shy of Google detailing the next big revision of Android at its annual developer conference, the current Android version is still struggling to make its way out to devices. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is currently running on just 7.5 percent of active Android devices that have access to the Google Play Store. The rest of the field is dominated by 2014’s Android Lollipop at 35.6 percent, 2013’s KitKat at 32.5 percent, and 2012’s Jelly Bean at 20.1 percent. 2011’s Ice Cream Sandwich still clings on to a stubborn 2 percent and the immortal Android Gingerbread (version 2.3!) accounts for 2.2 percent of Android smartphones.
Looking at Google’s OS distribution numbers is a fun walk down memory lane, but it is also a damning indictment of the company’s hardware partners. They are the ones responsible for delivering updates to the devices they sell, however the vast majority of smartphones sold in 2013 will never get 2015’s Android Marshmallow. And while the base operating system is starting to become less crucial — the difference between Lollipop and Marshmallow is less pronounced than the chasm between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich — there are still worthwhile features like Doze mode that many people will miss out on. Unless they buy a new phone, that is, which is what every Android manufacturer hopes will be the case.