Over the past 14 days, the number of Android users running Jelly Bean -- the latest version of the operating system -- on their devices has finally passed the 10 percent mark.
Google Android Jelly Bean 4.1 logo. Photo: AFP
The operating system, launched back in July, was installed on fewer than 1.8 percent of all Android smartphones and tablets as recently as October. Google's official figures, compiled from recording the OS of visitors to its global network of Google Play app stores for 14 days every month, also show that 29.1 percent of customers are now running Ice Cream Sandwich, the second most recent form of the OS, and that users stuck on Gingerbread, a version of Android that hasn't been supported for 18 months, have finally dropped below 50 percent.
All of which is good news for the rapidly growing global community of Android users as well as Android app developers who can start to focus their efforts on developing apps that take advantage of Android's latest features, such as contextual search, rather than focusing their efforts on ensuring their apps work with older forms of the OS.
What has caused this surge in users moving to newer versions is unclear. One explanation is that existing Android handset owners upgrade their phones on a three-year cycle, therefore going from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean in the process. The other is that the leading handset makers, including HTC, Samsung and Sony, have started pushing out updates to their existing handsets in a more timely fashion.