Android 7, which is also commonly known as Nougat, has become the most widely used version of Google’s popular Android operating system for mobile devices, passing version 6, which is also known as Marshmallow.
Nougat, which was released in August of 2016, is now running on 28.5% of Android devices, based on data from Google’s own developer’s portal. This number includes devices running on both version 7.0 and 7.1.
In second place, with 28.1% of the Android market, is Marshmallow, which was released in October of 2015. Both Nougat and Marshmallow far exceed the lastest version of Android, which is version 8 and code named Oreo. This version, which was released last August, is only running on 1.1% of Android devices, making it the 6th most used version of Android. Though this is still a big improvement over last October, when the operating system was running on only 0.2% of Android devices.
Version fragmentation has long been an issue for Android and those who develop apps for it, especially in comparison to Apple’s iOS operating system. The reason this is an issue is because app developers must make sure that their software works across all commonly used operating systems, and this can be both time consuming and expensive. It often results in developers forgoing or delaying an Android edition of their software.
Part of the problem is that often those with Android devices have no upgrade path and must forever use the version of Android that originally came with the device. This problem has really become apparent now, with the news that it took Nougat more than 18 months to become the predominant Android version.
On Apple, on the other hand, 28% of iOS devices run version 10, which came out about the same time as Nougat. But 65% of iOS devices run version 11, which was actually released a month after Oreo.