Google has always been displaying a statistical compilation of its Android distribution. This shows what percentage of Android devices across the globe are using what version of Android. However, the service was not updated in almost a year for some reason. Now, Google has finally decided to take the page down. Also Read - Google launches braille keyboard for Android devices and it doesn't require additional hardware
The Android distribution chart was mainly to inform app developers who create new apps. The chart would let them know where to set the ‘minimum Android version required’ bar based on the user-share. However, the numbers weren’t exactly satisfying. For instance, even much older versions of Android like Android 6 Marshmallow, which came out in 2015 showed a 15 percent share. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy A10, Galaxy A20e and Galaxy A60 get Android 10 update
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A big reason is the presence of Google’s OS on many devices that did not require regular updating. This includes digital signing devices, for example. Brands like Apple often took advantage of this and even used Google’s data to showcase its own update frequencies. Also Read - Android 11 to enable seamless software updates with virtual A/B partition, reveals Google's Vendor Test Suite
You can still find it in Android Studio
As a result of this and probably some other reasons, Google stopped updating the chart back in October 2018. Suddenly in May 2019 around the time of Google’s annual I/O 2019 event, the chart was updated again. However, it has been stuck with that data ever since. However, now the outdated page is completely taken down. Instead of it, users will find a notice that will ask seekers of the chart to find it in Android Studio.
While it may seem like a bad decision to hide the data behind a bulky site, it does make sense. The data shown in the chart is useful to only developers, and to anyone else, it might even give off a wrong interpretation.
The new format of the data displays a cumulative distribution percentage rather than a simple pie chart. Developers are now asked what its the minimum version of Android that they want to support. The cumulative numbers let developers know what share of users they will be missing out on based on how high they choose their minimum mark.