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In a nutshell: Google has revealed distribution figures for its various versions of Android, and it turns out that the most popular release in use today is Android 10, which launched in 2019, though Android 11 isn’t far behind.
Google used to share distribution figures for its Android releases on a monthly basis, but that stopped in 2018. Today, it intermittently updates data on the Android Studio platform for app developers; the last update was reported in April 2020.
The latest figures appear to be around three weeks old and are based on Android devices that accessed the Play Store across a seven-day period.
According to the data, Android 10 (Q) is found on more devices than any other version of Google’s operating system, taking a 26.5% share. Google will probably be pleased to discover that last year’s Android 11 (R) comes in at a close second with 24.2%.
You might notice that Android 12 is absent, but that’s to be expected as the latest incarnation of the OS only arrived last month with the launch of the Pixel 6 handsets.
It’s interesting to see how much share older versions of Android hold. Android 9 (Pie) is still found on 18.2% of devices even though it released in August 2018, and 13.7% are still running 2017’s Android 8 (Oreo).
The shares decline for each previous incarnation of Android, going right back to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which has a 0.6% share despite being almost a decade old.
Android still has a fragmentation problem, especially compared to iOS, where most users upgrade quickly are on the latest release of Apple’s operating system. However, Google did say back in December that Android 11 had the fastest adoption rate of any prior version, and we can expect it to take the number spot from Android 10 soon enough.