Android Gingerbread Still on More Than Half of Devices, Ice Cream Sandwich Up to 0.6%

Google updated its chart showing the penetration of all the different versions of Android, with the latest one, Ice Cream Sandwich, climbing up to 0.6 percent of all devices.

Since just the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S are the only devices with this version of Android out right now, that implies that more than 1 million of these devices have been activated. (That’s given Google’s recent announcement that 200 million Android devices have been activated to date.)

Gingerbread still has the farthest reach, with 55.5 percent of all Android devices. The previous version, Froyo, declined to 30.4 percent. Honeycomb, the first version of Android specifically dedicated to tablets, rose to 3.3 percent — still a very low number underscoring the platform’s weakness against Apple’s very dominant iPad.

It may take several months to an entire year for Ice Cream Sandwich to reach majority penetration, as Gingerbread was originally released one year ago and only crossed the 50 percent market in the last quarter.

Bringing Android updates to the latest devices is a complicated process for device manufacturers. They have to take the latest source code and make sure it compiles with their development branch. They also have to add patches to the historical code, stabilize the software and do localization work. Then they have to certify it with Google to make sure it’s Android compatible (and therefore have apps like maps, mail and Android Market). Then they have to pass regulatory requirements around health and environmental impact. It’s this last part that is the most time-consuming, not the software development part.