Jelly Bean overtakes Gingerbread as top Android version

Android OS fragmentation is an ongoing challenge for mobile developers

The latest major version of Android, known as "Jelly Bean," is now the most widely used variant of the platform, according to new statistics from Google.

Monday's release of the company's biweekly usage figures, which are based on the number of Android devices visiting the Google Play Store, showed that Android "Jelly Bean" versions 4.1.x and 4.2.x accounted for a collective 37.9 percent of Android users, compared to 34.1 percent for "Gingerbread" versions 2.3.3 and 2.3.7.

Gingerbread, which was released in late 2010, has long been the dominant version of the software, despite the subsequent debut of "Honeycomb," "Ice Cream Sandwich," and "Jelly Bean" creating a substantial degree of fragmentation in the operating system.

This fragmentation has been a long-standing complication for Android developers, who must work to ensure that their projects are compatible with several different versions of the platform. The news that "Jelly Bean" has superseded the out-of-date "Gingerbread" has been hailed as an important step in fixing the problem.

While some, like ReadWriteWeb mobile editor Dan Rowinski, note that some of this apparent progress may be due to a change in the way Google measures the platform's use, the trends still suggest a large-scale shift toward newer versions of Android.

A further update of "Jelly Bean" to version 4.3 is thought to be planned for later this summer, and the widely anticipated release of version 5.0 (generally dubbed "Key Lime Pie") is rumored to be taking place in late 2013. Many industry-watchers had "Key Lime Pie" pegged for release at this spring's Google I/O, but the company held off due, at least in part, to a desire to let its partners catch up to the "Jelly Bean" standard.

This story, "Jelly Bean overtakes Gingerbread as top Android version" was originally published by Network World.