14 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Android Jelly Bean growing fast

Google has just released the latest Android OS platform versions details. These data show what proportion of Android devices are running which version of Android. The results are quite promising for Google – over 10% of users have the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean version 4.1 or 4.2) on their phone or tablet.

The methodology used by Google was to collect data from Google Play users over the busy Christmas period between 21 December 2012 and 3 January 2013. From this information, they aim to help develops get a better idea of which versions their apps need to support.

We’ve included the data below so you can see for yourself. Each column is sortable by clicking on the arrows in the header.

Version Codename API Distribution
1.6 Donut 4 0.2%
2.1 Eclair 7 2.4%
2.2 Froyo 8 9.0%
2.3-2.3.2 Gingerbread 9 0.2%
2.3.3-2.3.7 Gingerbread 10 47.4%
3.1 Honeycomb 12 0.4%
3.2 Honeycomb 13 1.1%
4.0.3-4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich 15 29.1%
4.1 Jelly Bean 16 9.0%
4.2 Jelly Bean 17 1.2%

It’s easy to see that Gingerbread leads the way comfortably with almost 50% of devices using Android version 2.3.3-2.3.7. Next closest is Ice Cream Sandwich with a total of almost 30% of devices. Fragmentation of Android is not as bad as some would claim as early versions of Android such as the pre-Gingerbread Donut, Eclair and Froyo only just make up 10% between them.

Historical distribution and graphics

The follow graph (credit Google, edited for sensible date format) shows how quickly each subsequent version of Android has been adopted.

android distribution

The graph is promising for Google as it shows that adoption of the new Jelly Bean version of Android is currently faster than what the previous version, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) managed when it was released. Although it has only been out for about half a year, Jelly Bean has already managed to get almost 10% of users. In comparison, Ice Cream Sandwich was only on about 7% after a longer period of time.

However, drawing conclusions is not quite as simple as raw statistics. It’s also important to consider how big a change each new version is – vastly different versions of software are often adopted slower as the task for manufacturers to port them to their hardware becomes more complex. The solid progress of Jelly bean might merely be attributed to the fact it consists only of relatively minor updates so more devices are viable and introducing the upgrade is relatively painless.

Furthermore, the progress hasn’t been so good everywhere. In the UK, TechCrunch are reporting that thousands of EE customers have still to get a Jelly bean update on the fantastic Samsung Galaxy SIII. This phone is more than capable of running the latest versions of Android so that’s not an issue at all and all the other networks have already rolled out Android 4.1.1 onto the Galaxy SIII. In fact, O2 and Three Mobile were very quick of the mark to push out the update. It’s not exactly clear why Orange and T-Mobile are dragging their heels but forums are filled with frustrated messages threatening to leave over the farcical delay. Still, overall amongst the majority of networks, Jelly Bean is being adopted very quickly.

Google also provide information about the most popular screen sizes for Android devices. Although this data is somewhat out of date due to being collected in October last year, in general, big screens haven’t caught on in a big way yet. The vast majority of screens are, as Google defines them, “normal”. Barely 6% of devices have large screen and less than 5% boast xlarge screens – in total this is barely 10% of devices with almost all of the remainder on normal-sized screens.

Pixel density has also been measured by Google. They report that over half of all devices now have high pixel density which almost 30% now are running extra high pixel density. Small screens with low pixel density now make up just only less than 2% of Android devices.

On graphical performance, Google also report than nowadays almost all smartphones have support for OpenGL ES 2.0. Over 90% of devices have it meaning that less than a tenth of Android users are stuck with just support for OpenGL ES version 1.1.

What do you think of these stats? Are you on Android Jelly Bean yet? If so, what do you think of it and how quickly were you upgraded? And can anyone guess what the next version of Android is going to be codenamed?

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27 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

How to find the Android Jelly Bean easter egg

By now many of you will have tried out the brand spanking version of Android 4.1.x named Jelly Bean. Just recently, we made a post outlining some of its most stunning new features. You may also have heard that, like previous versions of the Android mobile operating system before it, there is a hidden easter egg bonus to be found.

So, whanna know how to find it? Check out these instructions:


  • Go to the Android home screen by pressing the Home button.
  • Press the Menu button and select Settings.
  • Scroll down and select the About phone option (if you’re on a tablet, it will be listed as About tablet).
  • Find the Android version infomation and quickly tap it repeatedly.
  • You should be greeted with a large smiling jelly bean with short antennae. Long press it to access the easter egg where you can flick an infinite supply of jelly beans around the screen.

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how to find the easter egg and what to expect when you try it:

This isn’t the first time Google have included fun easter eggs on the Android version number screen. On Gingerbread, version 2.3.x, you have to tap for longer on the version number but you are finally presented with some zombie gingerbread man art by Jack Larson.

Honeycomb also has an easter egg in the same place. This time, after all that touchscreen tapping on version number 3.x you get a Honeycomb-style bumblebee that buzzes. And in Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0.x, you get an ice cream sandwich android which, when pressed, flies across the screen Nyan Cat style. You could call it Nyandroid, geddit?

What do you think? Did you find it already? Did you already know about the older easter eggs? And do you want some jelly beans now?

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05 July 2012 ~ 0 Comments

What is Android Jelly Bean?

Simply put, Jelly Bean is the latest update for the Android mobile operating system. In case you didn’t know, Google have been naming each new version of their OS alphabetically after sweets and desserts and the list so far has been Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich. Yum yum. What better to follow up that list than Jelly Bean which will become version 4.1 of Android.

In reality, it’s more of an update rather than a whole new version as the last edition, Ice Cream Sandwich was 4.0 and brought a huge number of stunning new features and redesigns to Android phones. In fact, Ice Cream Sandwich is still so recent that only some of the fanciest phones have got official updates for it yet. Still, that’s not to say that Jelly Bean hasn’t got its fair share of badass features.

Cementing its position as the most powerful and usable mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean comes with expandable notifications and user-customisable keyboard maps. Also, keeping one step ahead of the limiting and simplistic “grid of icons” design that iOS prefers, widgets are now automatically resizable. Add to this all the great features of ICS and new upgrades to contact photos, the camera app and proper gapless playback, and it’s hard to argue against this being the most modern mobile platform around.

One of the best examples of Google’s attention to detail is the improvements to the interface dubbed Project Butter. They have tried to make every aspect of your interaction smoother, more graceful and more aesthetically pleasing. While it’s not something you’d ever really think about, it makes the daily interaction with your phone that much faster and more pleasant. To show this feature off, Google got hold of a $20,000+ RED camera that shot a video of the phone’s interface at 120 frames per second really showing off how fast, fluid and smoothly it runs. Check it out for yourself:

But perhaps Jellys Bean’s killer feature is the new Google Now which seems to do everything Siri does on the iPhone and much more. And this time it has a pleasant synthesised voice instead of that harsh robot woman. You can test your phone with all sorts of questions and it will recognise your voice, work out what you mean and give you the answer in a matter of seconds. It can do simple things like set an alarm for Mothers’ Day, tell you the films Natalie Portman has been in, how much Bill Gates is worth, the fall in the stock price of Barclays or the height you have to be to ride Space Mountain. What what’s even more impressive is it can do calculations in real time, give you real time updates to football match scores and even automatically plan the fastest route to work for the current traffic when it notices you’re leaving home in the morning. Pretty neat, huh?

Some of the other notable new features (there are hundreds of them) includes new keyboard and a gestures input method. There’s also a much improved browser that runs much faster and has HTML5 tweaks. Your phone can easily replace a GPS abroad too as Maps now has an offline feature as does the voice recognition/dictation feature. Perhaps the coolest thing to try out in practice though is Android Beam which uses near field communication technology to transfer files between phones by simply touching them together.

But when can you get this in your eager hands? As mentioned earlier, you need to have a fairly new handset to run Jelly Bean now but it will be slowly rolling out onto more and more devices. The Google branded phones such as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus will get it right away as will the Nexus 7 tablet. Other tablets such as the Motorola Xoom will get it and it should be possible to manually upgrade many phones if you want. Still, if you have an ancient phone and are drooling so much you have to upgrade, now might be time to invest in a Galaxy S3 🙂

So, are you desperate to get Android Jelly Bean on your own phone? What’s your favourite feature? And is it good enough to convince you to upgrade your handset? As usual, please drop us a comment 🙂

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