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Ageing Android Jelly Bean 4.1 platform still in use on most devices

05 Mar 2014
Android Jelly Bean Google

The older Android 4.1 Jelly Bean version remains the most commonly used variant of Google's mobile operating system (OS), highlighting ongoing issues with the platform's update cycle.

Statistics from the Android Developers forum revealed that 35.3 percent of all Google-powered tablets and smartphones are running 4.1 Jelly Bean. The archaic 2.3 Gingerbread version is the second most common variant, running on 19 percent of all active Android devices.

The figures mark a minor drop in use since January, when the forum listed 4.1 Jelly Bean as running on 35.9 percent of all devices and Gingerbread on 21.2 percent.

The developer forum showed a minor increase in use of Google's latest 4.4 KitKat Android version, which now accounts for 2.5 percent of the market. Previous statistics listed KitKat as running on 1.4 percent of all Google-powered smartphones and tablets.

Beating KitKat, 15.2 percent of all Android devices still run the old 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version. The newer 4.2 and 4.3 versions of Jelly Bean account for 17.1 and 9.6 percent of all active Android devices, respectively.

Fragmentation within the Android ecosystem has been an ongoing headache for the security community. Google has been gradually rolling out a number of security fixes for known vulnerabilities in Android, including the notorious "master key" flaw, with each new update.

The master key flaw was uncovered in July 2013 by researchers at Bluebox Security and at the time affected 99 percent of all Android devices. Google rolled out a fix for it weeks later, though the flaw is still prevalent in some older Android versions.

Finnish security firm F-Secure listed fragmentation in Android as a key reason why hackers' interest in the platform is growing, in its latest threat report.

F-Secure reported 804 new families and variants of malware hitting Android in 2013. Ninety-seven percent of all mobile malware the firm found in 2013 was designed to target Android users.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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