Marshmallow, the latest flavor of Google's Android mobile operating system, is still on only a tiny fraction of devices. But it looks like it's starting to stick.
Launched in early October, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on 1.2 percent of Android devices, according to the latest stats offered up by Google's Android Developer Dashboard. While a tiny percentage, it's a significant rise from 0.7 percent share seen a month ago.
Google traced the market share of each version of Android by checking all the devices that visited the Google Play Store during the seven-day period ending Monday.
The sluggish adoption rate is a side effect of a cumbersome and sometimes frustrating upgrade process. Smartphone makers and wireless carriers must test each new version from Google for every device before planning and executing a rollout. That means Android users often have to wait months for the latest version. It also challenges developers, who must continually design apps for the different versions of Android.
Only a few of mobile device makers have rolled out Marshmallow so far. It comes preinstalled on Google's new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P and was pushed to other Nexus devices in October. LG is offering it on some of its flagship G4 smartphones. Other manufacturers, such as Samsung, have announced plans to start pushing it out early this year, which should increase Marshmallow's growth rate.
Among prior flavors of Android, Lollipop, which was first released in 2014, gained more users during the past month to lick off a 34.1 percent slice of all devices. Lollipop's predecessor, KitKat, lost traction with a 35.5 percent share but still retained its title as the most dominant version of Android. By next month, Lollipop should have surpassed KitKat to capture the No. 1 spot.
Jelly Bean's share dipped to 23.9 percent from 24.7 percent last month. Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, which were both released in 2011, also lost users but hung in there with shares of 2.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Even Froyo, which debuted back in 2010, remained on the list with a 0.1 percent cut. Older Android devices often cannot be upgraded to later versions, which explains why these various flavors never seem to go away entirely.