The most recent OS version usage totals from the Android Developers Dashboards, up to November 3rd, show adoption of KitKat, the latest fully available version of the OS, pushing fast into the overall Android ecosystem, up to just over 30 percent of total Android devices, versus the August figure of just under 21 percent. Add the total of 50.9 percent for the previous versions of Android Jelly Bean, and the 8.5 percent still using Ice Cream Sandwich, and we are looking at 89.6 percent, or almost 90 percent of Android devices still able to access the Google Play Store.

Not only does that show Google’s success at squeezing out earlier versions of the OS from the ecosystem, it also indicates that Android users are now going to be enjoying a far more uniform experience than ever before, regardless of their OS version. Most of the later versions of the OS are compatible with the new Material Design-based upgrades to Google system apps, such as the Google Play Store or Gmail, that are being fed out incrementally as updates. And with Android 5.0 Lollipop already finding its way onto new devices and into upgrades, with big speed bumps courtesy of the new Android Runtime (ART) engine, as well as battery life and memory footprint boosts, the pace of improvement is going to accelerate still further.

Bear in mind that the Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK was released to the world on December 6th, 2010, and you can see that Google has transformed the Android user experience within four years. Developers and users alike are already moving in a different world from just a few years ago, and things look set to only get better from here.


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