When Google first took the wraps off its Honeycomb release of Android at CES in January, the world sat up and took notice – was Google going to finally do to the world of tablets and the iPad what it did to the smartphone market? Would Honeycomb kick start the Android tablet space and create some competition for the runaway success Apple was enjoying with the iPad?
Well, nearly a year later it appears that no, none of that happened. In fact, according to new numbers, very few Android devices out there are running on Google’s tablet-only Honeycomb release of its open source mobile operating system.
The figures, courtesy of ad. firm Chitika and taken from millions of ad. impressions over a period of a week, show that despite all the hype Honeycomb device only account for 1% of all Android devices. By contrast, Gingerbread was the number one version of Android used with 67% of impressions.
Next on the list is Gingerbread’s predecessor, Froyo, which come in at 28% of all Android devices. If these numbers are to be believed then Android’s last two releases – taking Honeycomb out of the equation – account for the vast majority of the Android devices out there. With Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, still barely out of the blocks it is not really fair to hold its extremely low percentage against it.
Aside from the absurdity of seeing a pie chart with words like Froyo, Gingerbread and Cupcake on it, we find it difficult to be too surprised by the results. Honeycomb was always seen by many as a stop-gap until Ice Cream Sandwich came along and unified both the smartphone and tablet versions of Android. With the technorati perhaps waiting for the next generation of tablets and Joe Public seemingly being drawn to the iPad 2 it was always going to be difficult for the likes of Motorola’s ill-fated Xoom to make a dent in the market.
Things will really hot up when Ice Cream Sandwich finds its way onto some tablets, and then we will see how the landscape changes. Of course, by then we will probably be looking at Apple’s iPad 3, and if any of the rumors are to be believed, we could be seeing the market change once again.