Google’s new way of counting Android users makes a lot of sense

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 3 Apr 2013

If you’re a developer making mobile applications, then you want to know just what sort of devices your users actually use, right? Google, every two weeks or so, updates a web site that shows which versions of the Android operating system are in the hands of the people. Starting this month, Google is going to change how they collect their data.

Before this month, an Android phone was counted the second it touched Google’s servers. Now a phone is counted only when it accesses the Google Play Store.

It’s a small change, but an important one.

So using these new metrics, what’s different? Jelly Bean, the “latest” version of Google’s mobile OS, is on one out of every four Android phones that have the Google Play Store installed. Gingerbread, which is now 27 months old, is on roughly four out of even ten Android devices.

Again, this needs to be stressed, the devices mentioned above use Google’s app store. Plenty of Android devices being sold in countries like China don’t have Google services installed. And as for America, the Kindle Fire is also an Android device that isn’t counted by Google. Something tells me the Facebook phone will be the same.