Android OS Adoption: One Year Study

Android OS Adoption: One Year Study

  • 6 August 2013

On July 24, 2013, Google unveiled its new Jelly Bean 4.3 operating system. Initially, this OS update would only be available for all Nexus-type Android devices. Within the Chitika Advertising Network, Web traffic from Android Jelly Bean 4.3-enabled Nexus devices has been growing strongly and steadily ever since its release.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed hundreds of thousands of online ad impressions generated by all Nexus-type phones and tablets on our ad network. The sample was drawn from a date range of July 24 to July 31, 2013. One week following its release, Jelly Bean 4.3-enabled Nexus devices are already responsible for a little more than 37% of North American Web traffic generated from Nexus-type devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

As of July 31, Google had rolled out Jelly Bean 4.3 to all Nexus devices and a few other models. However, when carriers start rolling out Jelly Bean 4.3 to other Android devices, the question regarding its potential adoption rate remains a closely-watched issue. To analyze the subject, Chitika Insights also studied the Web traffic generated by a few Android smartphone models that were released with Ice Cream Sandwich and were subsequently upgradable to Jelly Bean.

To quantify historical adoption of new Android versions, Chitika Insights conducted a study based on hundreds of millions of online ad impressions generated within the Chitika Ad Network from Ice Cream Sandwich- and Jelly Bean-enabled Samsung Galaxy S III, Motorola Droid RAZR, HTC One X and HTC One S devices. All the devices considered for the study were released with Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 and are upgradable to Jelly Bean Android 4.1. As of August 1, 2013 none of these devices are upgradable to Jelly Bean 4.2 or above. Also, these devices were released around the same time (summer 2012) and have similar technical specifications.

As seen above, our results show that out of the smartphones considered, Motorola Droid RAZR devices had the highest conversion rate. As a percentage of North American Ice Cream Sandwich- and Jelly Bean 4.1-enabled Droid RAZR Web traffic, Droid RAZR Jelly Bean usage grew from .01% in September 2012 to 96.7% as of July 2013.

Before coming to any conclusions about conversion rate based on smartphone manufacturer, one has to consider the fact that all of these smartphones except the Samsung Galaxy S III are carrier exclusive. Droid RAZR devices are exclusive to Verizon, HTC One X to AT&T and HTC One S to T-Mobile. Unlike iOS, it is the carrier of these devices that decides the rollout of new OS releases. Based on these facts, it is also possible that the conversion rate among devices is more dependent on carrier rather than manufacturer. From the findings of this study, Android OS conversion rate cannot be attributed to one factor. Future studies from Chitika Insights will provide deeper insights into the pattern underlying Android OS adoption.