The Android Developer site has just released their latest dashboard which paints a picture of operating system penetration. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was announced back in October of last year, and in the 9 months since launch has only managed to find its way onto 11% of Android devices. Frankly, that’s an abysmal figure and points to the failures of the so-called Android Update Alliance.
But let’s ignore throwing blame around, for now; after all, there’s plenty of that to go around. Last week, Google took the wraps off of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is set to launch to Nexus-caliber devices in the coming weeks. Will it be another 9 months until the masses a treated to their favorite jelly bean treat? We’re hopeful that the answer to that question is a resounding no.
Google and its partners are very keenly aware of the adoption problem, and have released the Platform Development Kit, which will be made available to handset makers a good two to three months before new Android releases are made available to the public. In theory, manufacturers have had access to Jelly Bean for a few months now, and with such early access could more rapidly build the custom UI elements they believe differentiate their devices and add support for component drivers, which should result in more timely upgrades for consumers.
Hopefully we’ll see more timely upgrades starting with Jelly Bean, but we’ll have to wait to see how it all pans out in the next few months. Jelly Bean will provide the first true test of the PDK and its effect on the Android ecosystem.