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KitKat rose again last week
KitKat's ascension in the Android market continues as version 4.4 of Google's mobile platform spreads itself to even more devices. Market figures that show Android usage figures for the first week of August reveal that Android 4.4 KitKat now accounts for 20.9% of all devices running the platform, including tablets, smartphones, and more.
The 4.4 version is now comfortably the second most used Android number and has risen by 3% from the 17.9% of the market it took in July. That is a healthy jump and even though Android L is due to land in the fall we expect KitKat's rise to continue into next year. Of course, Android 4.4 was released to unify the market more, something the L release will strive to do on a grander scale with Android One.
Android usage data
KitKat's success has been as a standalone version because while it has taken a large chunk of the market share, Android still remains terribly fragmented, with nearly 25% of the market still using versions that are over three years old and over 50% using the pre-KitKat version Jelly Bean. Indeed, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and its various patch numbers accounts for 54.2% of the market, highlighting how popular that release was.
More worrying for Google will be the fact that Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) still holds 10.6% of the market, while the ancient in tech terms Gingerbread (2.3.3) snaffles an alarming 13.6% of the market. Of course, this is a familiar story as cheaper Android devices sold in emerging markets still have those older versions, but again Google will attempt to address this with Android One.
However, it is fairly easy to see that Google is holding a double edged sword when attempting to unify the Android platform. It is clear that its latest versions do gain traction, KitKat is growing and Jelly Bean was dominating before being replaced. If the company held off replacing the OS for another year, Jelly Bean could well account for over 80% of the Android market by now. Hey presto, a unified platform. The problem for Google is that in the tech world you cannot stand still for two years and wait for the consumer base to catch up. In other words, Google must move forward while trying to unify the platform, and it is clearly a juggling act that the company is starting to get right.