Gingerbread still most popular version of Android

Google may be releasing a slew of new smartphones and and tablets loaded with Jelly Bean goodness, but its legacy Gingerbread OS (2.3.x) still runs on approximately 54% of Android devices. 

In sharp contrast, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.x) claims 25.8% of all Android devices, with the recently launched Jelly Bean (4.1.x, 4.2) clinching a paltry 2.7%.

Meanwhile, analysts at IDC confirmed that Google’s wildly popular Android operating system was loaded onto three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). 

Indeed, total Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136.0 million units, accounting for 75.0% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in 3Q12. The 91.5% year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4%.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008. In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition,” explained IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.  

“In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

IDC analyst Kevin Restivo expressed similar sentiments. 

“The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence.The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem,” he said.

”Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

And what about Apple iOS? Well, while Cupertino’s operating system came in at a “distant second place” to Android, it was the only other mobile OS to amass double-digit market share for the quarter.

”The late quarter launch of the iPhone 5 and lower prices on older models prevented total shipment volumes from slipping to 3Q11 levels. But without a splashy new OS-driven feature like Siri in 2011 and FaceTime in 2010, the iPhone 5 relied on its larger, but not wider, screen and LTE connectivity to drive growth,” Restivo added.