The number of Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich is growing slowly, but the latest version of Google’s mobile OS is still only available on 1.12 percent of Android-based gadgets.
Mobile ad network Chitika examined the number of impressions it received in recent days and found that the most popular version of Android remains Gingerbread at 66.29 percent, followed by Froyo at 22.33 percent, and Eclair at 5.39 percent.
The tablet-centric Honeycomb captured 3.3 percent of the market, but Ice Cream Sandwich was, well, sandwiched between the oldest versions of Android: Donut with 0.63 percent and Cupcake at 0.95 percent.
The fragmentation issue comes up every time Google releases an updated version of Android. Given that so many manufacturers produce Android-based handsets and many carriers in turn pick up those devices, the timing for when a given phone will get a certain Android update varies wildly.
“This inherent diversity of products may make Android’s strength perpetually its weakness,” Chitika said. “It has taken steps to overcome it, but if these steps will ever be enough to get past the variegation built into such an open system is something we will have to see in time.”
Google stats released in January found that approximately 0.6 percent of Android phones were running Ice Cream Sandwich, about 55 percent were running its predecessor, Gingerbread, and 30.4 percent were on Froyo.
As of Feb. 1, Google’s developer site said 1 percent of devices were on Ice Cream Sandwich, 58.6 percent were on Gingerbread, and 27.8 percent were on Froyo.
The low numbers for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich shouldn’t be entirely shocking. At this point, the mobile OS is only available on a handful of smartphones and tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus,Asus Transformer Prime, and Motorola Xoom. Other manufacturers have promised ICS upgrades for their devices, but that will happen on a staggered basis throughout 2012.
Last month, former Windows Phone exec Charles Kindel said Google has lost control of Android thanks to fragmentation, but predicted the OS will continue to thrive for many years to come.
Kindel’s comments came one week after Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show and argued that Android is not fragmented but “differentiated,” which Kindel said was pure spin.