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Google's Lollipop now lives on one in four Android devices

The process for updating Android remains a slow and frustrating one for users who want the latest version.

Android Lollipop is flavoring more devices but still lags behind the older KitKat and Jelly Bean versions.
Nicole Cozma/CNET

It's taken a while, but the Lollipop version of Google's Android mobile software has reached one-quarter of all Android devices.

Lollipop's exact share now stands at 25.6 percent, according to an update to Google's Android Developers Dashboard page on Wednesday, up marginally from early October. The number includes all devices recorded at the Google Play store over the seven-day period ended November 2.

Lollipop launched one full year ago.

The slow adoption rate is a symptom of the Android upgrade process in which both smartphone makers and wireless carriers must test each new version from Google for each device before a rollout can commence. That process frustrates Android users who must wait weeks or months for the latest version and challenges developers who must design apps for the various versions of Android.

By contrast, updates to the iOS software on Apple's iPhones involve just Apple itself, which controls the entire process of creating and testing a new version and then getting it out to all users at the same time.

The latest version, iOS 9, launched in September of this year. It already has arrived on 66 percent of all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

This month marks the first appearance of Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the Developers Dashboard, debuting with a 0.3 percent share. Launched on October 5, Marshmallow is actually rolling out to devices faster than Lollipop, which didn't hit the dashboard until February 2015, according to blog site Android Police.

Marshmallow comes preinstalled on Google's new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P . At the start of October, Google began pushing Marshmallow to several existing devices, including the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013 edition), Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. Later in October, Korean mobile phone maker LG kicked off the Marshmallow upgrade to its flagship G4 smartphone in Poland.

Android 4.4 KitKat remains the most prevalent version with a 38 percent slice of the market, followed by Jelly Bean with a 29 percent share. KitKat was released in November 2013, while Jelly Bean debuted in June 2012.

Google and LG did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.