The latest figures from Google show the adoption of Android Lollipop is rapidly increasing. From a 5.4 percent share of the active Android handset space at the start of April, version five of the mobile operating system is now on 9.7 percent of Android handsets communicating with the Google Play Store. That represents a month on month increase of 79.6 percent.
With the inclusion of Android 5.0 out of the box on new handsets such as the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and updates to 5.1 starting to appear for these handsets, the increase in numbers was expected. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect them to jump up so high, so quickly. In April I suggested that the ten percent mark would likely be reached by the end of Q2. On the current uptake it should be passed at some point in May, and I’d expect to see June’s monthly report a share in double-figures.
Google first reported Android 5.0 Lollipop on a market share that was less than 0.1% during December 2014. This rose to 1.6% during January, then 3.3% during February, and passed 5% in March. The jump to nearly ten percent in April will be welcomed and heralded as a win for the Android ecosystem.
Given Android Lollipop was debuted at Google’s I/O conference during early summer 204, to reach ten percent within one year might feel like a failure, but the Android industry would likely regard the speed of uptake as a success. The patchwork arrangement between Google and the various manufacturers, as well as the large portfolio of devices from each manufacturer and the variants required by each carrier, means there is no easy way to smoothly roll out Android to handsets in the way that Apple can manage with iOS.
Rather than manufacturers pushing through updated firmware over the air, the rise in numbers is likely to be driven in the majority by the volume of new device sales that have Lollipop as standard.
Once the ten percent mark has been reached, there will likely be an uptick in developers focusing on Android 5 apps only. That should not only show off the latest variant of the operating system, but also help drive sales as users look for handsets with the most compatibility with their favourite applications.
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By Ewan Spence