The latest version of Android, known as Jelly Bean, is now found on a quarter of all Android devices… sort of. In the first week of every month, Google (GOOG) publishes Android version distribution numbers that break down the market share of each individual software version. The numbers were traditionally based off devices that “checked-in” with Google’s servers, however the company has decided to update its calculation methods to better reflect active Android and Google Play users. The numbers are now based on devices that download apps or at least update apps from the Play store each month.
Google’s new method for compiling the figures has resulted in Jelly Bean’s market share jumping from 16.5% in March to 25% in April, while Ice Cream Sandwich got a slight bump from 28.6% to 29.3%. The market shares of Gingerbread and Froyo continue to fall, now accounting for less than 50% for the first time ever. Gingerbread was found on 39.8% of Android devices, down from 44.2% in March, while Froyo dropped from 7.6% to 4%.
The new calculations paint a far more useful picture of the Android landscape for developers, who now will have a better idea of the addressable markets for each Android version. In terms of using the figures as a guide for true Android version market share or distribution, however, the figures are now less accurate as they do not account for many users with older Android versions in emerging markets who do not download new apps or update their current apps regularly.