Android 4.4 KitKat bites off 13% of Android devices
Still, fragmentation remains a thorn in the side of Android, especially compared with the relative ease of Apple's iOS updates.
Android KitKat continues to gobble up more devices.
The latest installment of Google's Developers Dashboard revealed that Android 4.4 KitKat was spotted on 13.6 percent of all the devices that visited the Google Play store during the seven-day period ending Wednesday. That's a solid increase over the 8.5 percent recorded just a month ago, helping KitKat inch past Ice Cream Sandwich this month with its 12.3 percent share.
Jelly Bean is still tops with 58.4 percent of all devices, followed by Gingerbread with 14.9 percent.
Despite the growth of KitKat, Android remains a highly fragmented platform with every major and minor version from Froyo 2.2 to KitKat 4.4 still found on various devices. Fragmentation poses a problem not just for users but for developers who have to contend with different supported screen sizes, hardware capabilities, and other factors when designing their Android apps.
On Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, CEO Tim Cook took a potshot at Android's fragmentation with a slide showing KitKat at a then 9 percent install base compared with iOS 7's 89 percent. Cook does make a valid point. However, comparing iOS and Android is in some ways like comparing apples and oranges.
With IOS, Apple controls the hardware and software and therefore the entire update process from start to finish. With Android, Google issues the updates to the OS. But the device makers and mobile carriers all have to test and sign off on each new version, and they all have their own timeframes and deadlines.
Apple also has just two basic but similar iOS products in its lineup -- the iPhone and iPad (three if you count the iPod Touch). The Android market is overwhelmed by a host of phones and tablets from many different manufacturers.