The big picture: Android 13 broke into the distribution charts this month. While Google has made it a little harder to track changes in release market share in recent years, its latest operating system appears to be off to a strong start thanks to platform partners.
Google’s latest graph showing the distribution of Android versions across devices is the first since the release of Android 13 last August. The company’s latest mobile operating system is already installed on just over five percent of Android phones. Version 12 has also increased its share over the past five months.
Originally, Google periodically and publicly released its data comparing the market share of Android versions to let developers know which versions their software should target. However, in 2018 the company limited this information to its internal development platform, where updates became irregular. Since 2020, 9to5Google has accessed updates and released them through AndroidDistribution.io.
Another thing to consider is that, unlike iOS devices, Android phones don’t uniformly upgrade to new versions as soon as Google releases them. Manufacturers like Samsung and Sony update their systems on their own schedule, which is reflected in Google’s distribution data.
When Android 13 launched in August, it was exclusive to Google’s Pixel phones. Samsung released its OneUI 5 based on Android 13 soon after. OnePlus, Sony and other manufacturers also launched phones supporting Android 13 last year, contributing to the operating system’s relatively rapid growth.
Android 12 first appeared on Google’s charts in the previous update last August – just before the launch of Android 13 – with 13.5% of Android’s overall market share. Since then, that number has increased to 18.9%, while Android 11 has dropped from 27% to 24.4%. Versions 10 and 9 also still retain significant user bases.
The Android team has introduced many features and updates since 13 debuts, and more are on the way. Support for the popular Backbone One mobile game controller came to Android late last year, and Google recently gave Android Auto its first major overhaul. Additionally, Google and Windows have teamed up to extend connectivity between Android and Windows 11.
Qualcomm is also working to bring significant advancements to Android. In November, the company unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip with Wi-Fi 7 support, improved AI performance, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, Unreal Engine 5, and more. Qualcomm is also introducing a satellite communication service to Android phones to meet Apple’s SOS system for iPhones.
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