Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean Users Generate 50% of North American Android Web Traffic

Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean Users Generate 50% of North American Android Web Traffic

  • 26 February 2013

Version fragmentation has remained an ongoing issue within the Android ecosystem – a problem that has as much to do with hardware as it does with software. Android-powered mobile phones range from baseline-type models, to full-touchscreen devices with a variety of advanced capabilities – the former of which don’t have the computing power to utilize the latest operating system. Additionally, unlike Apple’s over-the-air (OTA) updates for iOS which are pushed by Apple itself, Google allows each individual cell carrier to push out updates to certain phones on their schedule.

The latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, has introduced new features such as a more powerful camera interface and predictive search tools. The OS itself is compatible with many of the newer Android smartphones that have been released over the past year, enlarging its potential install base. While Google’s own statistics point to 13% of global Google Play store traffic coming from Jelly Bean users, Chitika Insights looked to quantify the version distribution within North America.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed a sample of tens of millions of ad impressions from Android phones and tablets on the Chitika Ad Network. A user agent analysis was run on impressions originating from the U.S. and Canada, ranging from February 1st to February 7th, 2013. A graph depicting the latest Android version distribution can be seen below:

Chitika Insights Graph, North American Android Web Traffic

Android Gingerbread users generate the greatest share of Android Web traffic at 41.0%. However, the two latest operating systems, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, command 30.5% and 20.1% of North American Android traffic, respectively. Chitika Insights reported Jelly Bean’s usage share to be 14% last month, illustrating the noticeable 6% share increase in just a month’s time – around 12 weeks following the operating system’s initial release. As a comparison, around 15 weeks following Ice Cream Sandwich’s release, we observed that the operating system’s usage only accounted for around 1% of North American Android Web traffic.

Looking back at the current distribution, the usage share of Gingerbread dropped by 2%, while Ice Cream Sandwich’s usage share dropped by 4%. As many Ice Cream Sandwich-compatible devices are also compatible with Jelly Bean, it is likely that many users of newer Android devices have upgraded over the past month.

With Google due to release Android 5.0, aka Key Lime Pie, this spring, it seems unlikely for Jelly Bean usage to approach a majority of Android traffic in the near future. However, the new operating system’s recent growth shows that Android version fragmentation is slowly becoming slightly less of an issue for mobile Web and application developers. Chitika Insights will observe how this trend develops once Key Lime Pie debuts in the next several months.