Jelly Bean now on over half of Android devices

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 4 Nov 2013

android booth

Every few weeks, Google updates their Developer Dashboard, the site where people who write apps can visit to see what sort of devices are in the hands of the people. The newest figures, published late Friday night, show Android 4.1 Jelly Bean running on 52.1 percent of every Android smartphone and tablet that can access the Google Play Store. And in case you forgot, Jelly Bean means 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, so that’s quite a span. About a fifth are still on Android 4.0, and the rest are primarily running Gingerbread.

Just how useful is Google’s data?

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The two biggest smartphone markets are China and the United States, and both are special for different reasons. In America, operators encourage customers to get a new phone every 18 to 24 months, and in most cases people end up buying a flagship device since it’s “only” $199. In China, where there’s a booming middle class, most phones sold there still cost less than $155. Yes, that’s without a subsidy.

To put it another way, if you’re writing an app for Americans, then don’t worry about being backwards compatible. Use the latest features that Android has to offer, because chances are your app is going to be used by someone who owns a Galaxy something or other. If you’re writing an app for China, make sure you figure out how to get your app in the proper app stores, because most Chinese phones can’t even access the Google Play Store.

Truth be told, if you’re someone who wants to put food on the table by writing apps, then you should really be focusing on iOS, not Android. Sure, Android is catching up, but it’s still not there yet … half a decade later.