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Jelly Bean growth spurt down to cheap Android, expert says

Cheap Android phones running Jelly Bean have contributed to the software's rapid growth, an expert tells CNET.

Cheap Android phones have contributed to Jelly Bean gaining ground on Gingerbread, an expert tells CNET.

Fresh figures from Google suggest that 33 per cent of all visits to the Google Play store now come from phones running either version 4.1 or version 4.2 Jelly Bean, while Gingerbread now represents 36.5 per cent of all Android kit -- down from 38.5 per cent just over a month ago.

One reason that's happening is a "price erosion" of Android, CCS Insight's Geoff Blaber told CNET. "Unlike the shift to Ice Cream Sandwich," Blaber stated, "We saw Jelly Bean devices emerge at multiple aggressive price points right after its release."

While cheap Android mobiles are nothing new, its traditionally been quite unusual for dirt-cheap phones to arrive running a new version of Android. Devices such as the LG Optimus L5, Samsung Galaxy Fame and Huawei Ascend Y300 all debuted running Jelly Bean, while also bearing budget-friendly price tags, potentially increasing the overall percentage occupied by Jelly Bean.

Another factor in Jelly Bean's success, Geoff says, is that "a large proportion of manufacturers skipped Ice Cream Sandwich for anything but high-tier devices".

"That," Geoff continues, "combined with a general slowdown in Google's release schedule (no Key Lime Pie update at Google I/O last month), means the Jelly Bean installed base is quickly ramping."

Data quirk?

Finally, Jelly Bean's apparent rise could be down to Google's data, as before April the search giant used to tabulate operating system popularity based on phones checking in with Google servers, but now tallies visits to the Play Store (because it's a more useful stat for developers).

Assuming that people using older, Gingerbread-powered phones are less likely to download new apps, it's possible that traffic from app-hungry owners of more recent phones are making it appear that Gingerbread is less widely used than it really is.

Which version of Android are you using? Are you hungry for a new update, or happy with the software you've got? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.