Last year's optimism at Google I/O 2015 was clearly misplaced. Since then, Android has lost more ground within premium smartphones, has failed to create an attractive tablet platform and was unable to gain much traction for its latest new video gaming initiative. A larger problem, however, is that very few are even getting the new Android software Google releases each year.
Last year's summary of Google I/O 2015 noted that less than a tenth (9.7 percent, according to Google) of Android's active installed base had upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop, which had been introduced the prior year (around the time of iOS 8).
Another 39.8 percent were using 2013's Android 4.4 KitKat, then two years old (comparable to iOS 7), and 39.2 percent were still on some version of Jelly Bean, which dated back to 2012 (like iOS 6). Another eleven percent were stuck using software that was from 2011 or older. Those numbers were so dismal that it looked like Google could only improve on them.
It hasn't. Instead, a year later it can only report that 7.5 percent of its active base using Google Play are running its year old Android 6 Marshmallow (a 20 percent decrease in deployment success).
Further, only 35.6 percent are now running a two year old Android (a 10 percent decrease) and only 32.5 percent are now running a three year old Android (a 17 percent decrease). The remaining 24.4 percent are now using software four or more years old. That's a 120 percent increase in the number of users running extremely old Android software (on the level of iOS 6 or older).
Back in 2013, Apple began charting its own iOS deployment, showing that 93 percent of users were then on its latest, year old iOS 6. Back then, things looked rough for Android because "only" 33 percent of Google Play users were on Google's latest version of Android. Today Google's ability to keep its platform modern has deteriorated even more dramatically. How is that even possible?