Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world thanks to its free availability to smartphone OEMs, but the latest Marshmallow version has yet to hit the same heights as older versions of the same OS.
The fact that each and every manufacturer has their own methods, hardware as well as software customizations, the level of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem is mind-blowing. While Google could be providing the main software to these OEMs, the open nature of the OS makes it possible for these OEMs to play around with the stock software. Like Apple, Google has released several versions of its mobile operating system, something that makes it even harder to keep all of these devices patched in a secure manner.
This can be evidenced by the slow, but steady growth of Android Marshmallow since its release almost a year ago. Now that Android Nougat is almost ready, it is surprising that Marshmallow still has a market share of just 13.3% as far as the Android ecosystem is concerned. This is according to the latest figures released by Google, but it represents a small growth from last month’s 10.1%.
Despite the slight increase, Android Marshmallow is still nowhere near the likes of Android Lollipop and KitKat, which hold a combined market share of no less than 65%. Where the slightly older Android KitKat holds a market share of 30.1%, Android Lollipop comes in with the largest market share of 35.1%. Despite being years older than Android Marshmallow, Android Jelly Bean still takes home 17.8% of the total Android devices out there. The rest of the pack, which includes Android Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Froyo, falls below 5%.
There have been reports that Android Nougat will be coming in with measures that will help reduce the issue of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. However, this will for sure not eliminate everything fragmentation brings, but it will bring it down, hopefully. For now, it is better to stick with Google Nexus devices in order to receive any software update on time.