In one of my earliest posts, I had described the cyclical nature of Android fragmentation, by measuring a few basic statistical properties exhibited by Android’s version distribution. Following this, we had seen fragmentation reach a peak with the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Now, fragmentation seems to have seen a sharp dip again, as per the latest version distribution data.
First, let’s take a look at the latest Android version distribution chart (as of 4th September, 2012):
The chart shows that ICS has replaced FroYo as the second most dominant Android version. The statistical properties measured and their meanings were explained in my original post on fragmentation. Let’s take a look at the current state of these statistical properties, i.e. Kurtosis & the H-Index:
We can see that Kurtosis has seen its first dip since the launch of ICS, because of ICS overtaking FroYo. This seems to be the sharpest dip since late 2010 and should now continue to decline until it reaches a trough by the end of the year.
The H-Index, which is more important for developers, has also seen a drop (although this is a negative from a fragmentation perspective) thanks to the early launch of Jelly Bean. However, it has just dropped below 0.40 and is still within the “safe” range of 0.50 to 0.33 that I had defined previously. This should continue to drop until ICS penetration overtakes Gingerbread for the #1 spot and Jelly Bean overtakes FroYo to become the third largest Android version.
Conclusion – Android fragmentation has seen its first dip since the launch of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, thanks to the rise in ICS penetration. Fragmentation should now continue its cyclical pattern and decline further.