May 5, 2014 Last Updated 7:44 am

Google says KitKat now on 8.5% of devices running Android

The number of devices now running the latest version of Android has hit 8.5 percent Google announced on its developer page this weekend. KitKat, API level 19 of the Android platform, was released in early September of last year, appearing on the Nexus 5 at the end of October.

Android-chartUnlike Apple, which releases major updates to it mobile operating system each fall, Google is bit less predictable. Jelly Bean, the version that appeared before KitKat, was released in July of 2012, and the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0, appeared in November of 2011.

Of course, the biggest difference between the two mobile systems lies how updates get distributed. In the case of Apple, they announce the update and it appears available on the device, no third party is involved. As a result, Apple, which released iOS 7 about a week after the appearance of KitKat, now says 87 percent of devices have been upgraded to the new OS.

OS-chart

Android devices owners, on the other hand, are at the mercy of their carriers who release updates on an unpredictable schedule. Tech writers may not be so concerned about all this, after all, they often use the latest versions of devices to test out and use. But do consumers care?

Not that much. The reason is that we are still in a situation where many new owners of Android devices are migrating from feature phones, where the operating system is never updated.

For media app developers, making sure their apps function properly under the latest Apple OS continues to be a challenge. But poor adoption rates for Android continues to convince many to continue to develop of iOS first, and hope their digital publishing platform vendors keep up with the changes with the other mobile platforms.

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