It took one and a half years, but Android Nougat is now the most used version of the operating system among all operational Android devices.
The overarching problem is that usage for the latest major version, Android Oreo, has just crept over 1 percent, revealing the severity of Google's infamous Android fragmentation problem.
Android Nougat Now Most Used Android Version
The February distribution numbers in the Android Developers dashboards revealed that the usage of Android Nougat, including both Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 7.1 Nougat, has reached a total of 28.5 percent. This makes it the most used version of the operating system, overtaking Android Marshmallow, which is at 28.1 percent.
Total Android Nougat usage increased by 2.2 percentage points from 26.3 percent in the January distribution numbers. Meanwhile, Android Marshmallow, which is over two years old, only saw a 0.5 percentage point decline.
The distribution numbers collected the data from Android devices that accessed the Google Play Store over a seven-day period that ended on Feb. 5. This means that the information is not an exact representation of the Android distribution numbers. However, it does show that the Android fragmentation problem is still very much at hand.
Android Oreo Finally Over 1 Percent
The usage of Android Oreo, the latest build of the operating system that was released in August 2017, has slowly crept up. In the latest numbers, Android 8.0 Oreo and Android 8.1 Oreo combined for usage of 1.1 percent.
The slow adoption of Android Oreo is a glaring example of the operating system's fragmentation problem, as users often stick to the version of Android that came preinstalled on their mobile device. This is despite the security upgrades and new features that Google includes in each new major Android release. In comparison, 65 percent of iOS devices are powered by the latest iOS 11.
With Android Oreo just having crawled over 1.1 percent usage, Google is already reportedly planning to unveil Android P at this year's I/O Developer Conference.
Android P is expected to be one of the major announcements at the upcoming event, but the question is whether Android device users are really ready for another major version. Some smartphone manufacturers are still rolling out devices with Android Nougat preinstalled. Also, with Android Oreo at just barely over 1.1 percent usage, there's no telling how long it will take Android P to gain a significant share of Android devices.
Google laid out guidelines near the end of 2017 that developers should make apps targeting Android Oreo in 2018. It remains to be seen, however, if this result in any significant impact on the operating system version's usage.