The arrival of a new Android version isn’t nearly as rare as a total solar eclipse, but Google’s hoping the solar system will share the spotlight as it takes the wraps off its latest mobile operating system. Among other things, Android O will likely be getting an official release date and alphabetic dessert name, with “Oreo” looking like the top contender.
So, how does the current Android landscape shake out? Fragmentation will almost certainly continue to be a concern for the Android ecosystem. That’s just the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with an open operating system and countless different manufacturers, each with their own Google partnerships, customizations and security focuses. But things actually seem to be heading in the right direction since the last time we checked in.
Back in November, we noted that Gingerbread, Android’s 2011 version, had a wider distribution than Nougat, the latest version, released earlier in the year. But Nougat has made up a decent amount of ground since then. According to numbers collected by the Android Developers Dashboard earlier this month, the two versions of the operating system (7.0 and 7.1) make up about 13.5 percent of the market, with 7.0 comprising the vast majority. That’s up from around 0.3 percent of the total market.
Marshmallow (6.0), meanwhile, has leapfrogged Lollipop (5.0/5.1), to make up just under a third of the market, at 32.3 percent, to its predecessor’s 29.2. Keep in mind, Marshmallow is a two-year-old operating system, so it’s not exactly bleeding edge, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.
We’ve already seen a fair number of O(reo)’s features, courtesy of a beta release, and, honestly, it’s not the most exciting Android update — a fact that could mean people aren’t going to be rushing to upgrade. There are still some important questions that will hopefully get answered today, however, including which devices will be the first in line to be upgraded.
With IFA coming up in a few weeks, we may also soon see the first devices to ship with the new Android out of the box.