Google’s recently released Android 5.0 mobile operating system is currently running on fewer than 0.1 percent of handsets, according to data released by the company. The new software, code-named ‘Lollipop,’ was made generally available November 12. Carriers are currently rolling Lollipop out to consumers, according to their own schedule.
The limited uptake of Android’s fifth version so far underscores a wider problem in the mobile world: Fragmentation. It took Windows Phone 8.1, for example, nearly half a year to make it to the 50 percent market share mark. And as Wired notes, Apple is seeing slower adoption of its new iOS 8 than some expected.
Current reports indicate that Lollipop is seeing increasing over-the-air updates, which could quickly push its market share numbers higher. Google was not immediately available to comment on the current Lollipop figures.
However, even if Lollipop manages to grow its share of the Android install base through the end of the year, it will likely face an adoption ceiling. Currently, the most popular version of Android is KitKat, or Android 4.4. It commands 33.9 percent market share. There are six versions of Android at current tip that have more than 7 percent market share, for reference. Given that, it seems doubtful that Lollipop itself will do much better than the 30 percent mark, unless something in its ecosystem changes.
Looking backwards, we can compare the current rollout of Lollipop to the KitKat release. The first time KitKat hit the charts, it had 0.01 percent market share. The next month, that tally inched up to 1.11 percent. The next month, 2.94 percent. So the initial incline can be shallow for new Android builds.
Operating system fragmentation makes the work of developers more difficult. If the install base of phones that you’re building for not only have a wide array of screen sizes, but also firmware, building an app that will work for the majority of users can be difficult. This applies to all three platforms, of course.