Which Android versions are most important for testing?

In the last few months Android Nougat (7.0/7.1) has started to gain market share according to the statistics that Google published. From previous new Android versions, we’ve seen that it takes about 6 months to gain more than 5% market share. Another sign of change is that Android 6.0 growth is slowing down. Here you can apply the same rule of thumb that within 6 months, this version will not increase its market share any more, instead the numbers will start to decline instead. And last but not least, Android 5.1 is finally showing a drop in market share.

I was a bit surprised by this last fact. This is because after the stagefright android bug, I assumed manufacturers would put more effort into upgrading their devices to the latest versions. Even if manufacturers have taken some steps in that direction, we’re far away from devices that can be used for more than a couple of years.

In my previous blogpost I promised to give you more insight into the screen size and density statistics. I’ll start with the Android versions/names and below that you’ll find the new screen-related statistics.

Here are the Android version and Android codename statistics.

Fig.1 Overview by version (click to enlarge)

Fig.2 Overview by codename (click to enlarge)

Highlights include:

  • Android 7.1 Nougat has popped up in the statistics since January
    • It will take at least 8 months before this version will catch up with Android 6.0
  • Android 7.0 Nougat is there for some months, but has still less than 1% market share
    • The estimation is that this version will not get much market share, because 7.1 is already gaining market share
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow keeps on growing, but growth is slowing. This version is currently #1 with 30,7% market share
    • The market share of 6.0 will keep on growing for some months unless a huge amount of 6.0 devices get upgraded to 7.0/7.1
    • After 6 months it will decrease in market share
    • After 8-12 months it will lose the #1 position to Android 7.1
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop starts to decrease slowly. It is back to the #2 position since January
    • It will remain at #2 for about 4-5 months
    • For a couple of months this Android version will decrease slowly
  • Android 5.0 and lower are losing market share
  • Android 4.4 is decreasing the fastest with -0.7% but it is still at #3, just below Android 5.1
  • Android 4.2 is still worth testing with, although slowly dropping towards the 5% marker
  • Android 4.3, 4.1, 4.0, & 2.3 I would skip unless these versions still generate revenue for you

The trend in screen size remains stable over the last 12 months.

  • The Normal size is still the most popular one (88,2%)
  • Followed by Large (6.8%)
  • Then Xlarge (3.8%)
  • And last is Small (1.2%)

Android screensize “Normal” over the last 12 months
Android screensize “Large” over the last 12 months
Android screensize “XLarge” over the last 12 months
Android screensize “Small” over the last 12 months

For VR games, a high screen density is required for the best experience. Therefore it makes sense for new phones to come with these screens. The trend we see below therefore make sense.

  • hdpi (37,5%) – #1 but decreasing trend
  • xhdpi (33,8%) – increasing trend
  • xxhdpi (16%) – increasing trend
  • mdpi (9,2%) – decreasing trend
  • tvdpi (2.1%) – decreasing trend
  • ldpi (1,4%) – decreasing trend

Fig.7 Android screen density over the last 12 months (click to enlarge)

Fig.8 Android screendensity “hdpi” over the last 12 months

Fig.9 Android screendensity “xhdpi” over the last 12 months

Fig.10 Android screendensity “xxhdpi” over the last 12 months

Fig.11 Android screendensity “mdpi” over the last 12 months

That’s it for this blogpost. If you have any questions/suggestions/comments/alternative source, feel free to leave something behind in the comment section.