As I am an Android user I like to see the progress that is made when it comes to Android OS adoption. One of the ways I do that is by regularly checking the Market share statistics. I am sure that not all of you are like me, and thus may have a couple of questions.
Why should I know the market share?
There are a couple of reasons that would justify you looking into the usage data.
You are an enthusiast like me who looks at it in hopes that one day all people would be able to have the most recent version.
You are a marketing strategist and are involved in building phone apps. Giving suggestions to the developers of the ap to see what version of android they should support.
You are an Android developer hoping to be able to cut some unwanted code from your Android app. The unwanted code I talk about would be features that are obsolete but have to be used for the software to be backward compatible.
It does not matter which of those three groups you are you would look at the market share data from a different perspective so let me share the latest ones and answer your questions.
Where do I get the latest data?
There are basically two main sources where I would suggest you go and see the latest data. The first one is called Android distribution dashboard. This is the official source that Google gives to you. There is one major problem with the data available there. The most recent statistic is from May of 2019. That is quite outdated and may not be useful anymore. Luckily for all of us, there are independent statisticians and portals collecting user data. One of the examples I would like to mention Statcounter they update their statistical data every day and you are clearly able to see the trends in the usage of Android by each version.
Android Market share by version
Here is the latest graph taken from Statcounter.
The data provided by Statcounter is not as accurate as the official Google sources but it serves well when you want to gauge the trend and make the decisions towards the future.
Statcounter even lets you look at the data by the country. So you are able to easily see the usage statistics for your target market. The statistics shown above are global for the whole world.
As you see the above graph you may observe that there are 10 different lines displayed. In 9 cases they represent the Android version and the dotted line represents all the other possibilities. The other thing worth looking at is the fact that the lines are pretty stagnant even as we have taken a snapshot of the last month.
Here is a question you might be asking as you look at the graph.
Why is everybody not using the latest version of Android?
Let me answer that with a bit of explanation Here are 7 reasons that seem to be relevant.
7 Reasons all of us are not using the same version of Android
1. Android comes pre-installed on every new smartphone
it may not seem obvious at first but even the fact that Android is pre-installed on the phone might for some people be a stumbling block. Take for example a situation where you might have a phone that you just bought from the store. Do you think that all the phones you can buy today are going to have Android 9?
I can assure you that it is not the case. The server Andriod Authority provided a comprehensive list of devices which either received the latest version or are still expecting it
2. Every manufacturer likes to make some custom changes
Every manufacturer likes to adapt Android to the hardware it is supposed to run on. They also like to offer features that their competition does not. Some changes might be rather cosmetic in the form of a different color scheme or all of the visual elements in general.
3. Manufacturer support limitations
It is in manufacturers discretion to choose which of their devices will receive the latest version of Android. I can see a couple of reasons they might hold of on supporting say 5-year-old phone with the newest version of Android. These would be mostly economic reasons. They want to convince people to upgrade to the latest phone and they might not want to have to deal with the compatibility issues.
4. Hardware limitations
Speaking of compatibility issues. One of the reasons we are all not using the same Android is also the fact that not all the phones are the same. Continuing with the example of a 5-year-old phone. The hardware in 2014 was not so powerful as it is today and some of the features were also not present on the old phone. So there are two things to consider. When you run the latest Android on an old phone, it is going to be slow. And also you are not going to get the full experience. So the only reason for you to keep updating a phone that is this old are security updates.
5. Lack of knowledge of the user
the end-user of the phone might not be aware of the reasons why he/ she should keep the software always updated. He/ She might know it should be done but may struggle with the process of how to do it. You might also run into a person who would say that it may “brick” their phone if they try to upgrade. To these cautious individuals, I say: In most cases you are fine. If the upgrade is not successful it will come back to the last working state.
6. No need or desire to upgrade
There might be people who do not care so much for the internet browsing safety and they would say: “As long as it runs I am going to keep it that way.” The apps this person is likely using are still working just fine with the old Android and it does not give any incentive for an upgrade.
7. No control over the version in use
in case you are using emulation software like Bluestacks, you are stuck with Android 7.1. until developers decide it is time for an upgrade.
If you are a marketing specialist or a developer you might find yourself wondering about which version to support.
As you can see there are still many people who are not or even cannot use the latest version of Android. You might feel heartbroken over the fact that you might need to cut some features in favor of compatibility with old phones. On the other hand, you might decide to ignore the android versions with the least overall share.
Please take this only as a suggestion but I would say that supporting anything older than Andriod 6 does not make much sense.
Android 10 Market share
As of the 7th of October
7.10. note about Android 10