What’s the most popular Android OS version after all?

There’s no doubt that Android is the most popular operating system in the world right now, as Google managed to create a highly advanced mobile ecosystem through the years, but also made it available for pretty much any smartphone manufacturer.

Almost yearly, the search engine giant comes up with a totally refreshed version of the OS, named after a popular dessert, which, obviously, brings tons of new features and improvements. However, they also release other minor updates as well, in order to improve the functionality of already existing versions.

Still, the latest versions are not always the best, as some people prefer using previous ones, while others, due to the limited capabilities of their handsets, are basically stuck with some Android versions. Usually, once a new Android OS version is launched, the popularity of older versions starts dropping. But they don’t disappear at all from the market!

Back in October 2018, when Android Oreo started its rampant sprint, previous versions, like Nougat, Marshmallow, or Lollipop were still highly used, all of them having more than 15% ‘market share’. As for previous versions, they were around as well.

KitKat and Jelly Bean are still used by between 5 and 10% of Android users, while Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread are, surprisingly, active as well, even though they’re used by less than 0.5% per cent of smartphone owners.

But these are just numbers obtained by examining the data that gets uploaded on Google’s developer portal each month, giving anybody who is interested a rough estimate of the most popular Android version. In our case, we’re interested in what people really say about their all-time favourite dessert.

So we did our own research. And this is what we managed to find…

Android Pie is by far the best version of Google’s mobile operating system, rocking some incredible features, no matter on what phone you’re using it. Still, it appears that the most popular one is almost four years old!

According to the Android version distribution on its developer site, updated on October 26, 2018 – and set to be refreshed soon, but we just need to wait a bit – Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the most popular version, used by 21.3% of those who own a handset running Google’s OS.

However, there’s one aspect that needs to be mentioned here.

When we’re talking about the most popular Android OS version, we’re referring to just one API of that version. In Marshmallow case, it’s API 23 which is present on 21,3 of the phones. If more APIs were combined, Nougat would have 28,2 per cent, as 7.0 is running on 18,1% per cent of phones, while 7.1 is present on 10.1%. Oreo would be in a similar situation, as 14.0% of phones are running 8.0 and 7.5% have 8.1%.

Quite surprising, isn’t it? Well, from a point of view, it’s not.

The market is dominated by mid-range handsets, as well as older flagship devices, not able to support higher versions of Android, meaning that they’re stuck with Marshmallow. It’s that simple. But it’s not a bad operating system at all, even though it was released a few years ago!

Android 6.0 Marshmallow introduced quite a few interesting features, including a new and redesigned app drawer, a new notification area (which made things way simpler for yours truly), Google Now on Tap (ah, those were the days…) and, probably one of the most important additions, Doze Mode.

The latter was able to extend battery life by putting the phone in a deeper sleep mode, if we can call it like that, during long periods of inactivity. So yeah, it was pretty good for battery life.

Marshmallow was also the first operating system which allowed developers to experience with biometrics, as it had native fingerprint support, whether it was used for making payments through Android Pay or simply forgetting about passwords. Oh, and it brought USB Type-C support as well since people were getting ready to let the classic micro USB cables behind.

Therefore, for the moment, or until Google releases a new set of data, the sixth edition of Google’s Android OS remains the most popular. But we’re convinced that it already started losing territory and newer versions, like Nougat will shortly win the “Mister Popularity” award. And this is going to keep changing with each year! Basically, it’s the “two-versions-behind” version that will constantly be the most popular, if you get the idea.

But what about you? Which one of the desserts released through the past years was your favourite and why? Let us know your thoughts, by dropping a few lines in the comments section below!

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