Google’s Android platform remains fragmented, new data from the search giant reveals, despite a significant recent slowing down in the release of new OS iterations.

The latest Jelly Bean version of Android (in its 4.1 and 4.2 versions) is now powering 28.4 per cent of devices globally. That compares with 27.5 per cent which are running its predecessor Ice Cream Sandwich in its 4.03 and 4.04 forms.

But it’s the superannuated Gingerbread edition of Android that’s still making the real running.. Despite being over two years old, it’s still on a whopping 38.5 per cent of Android kits out in the wild.

Making up the remainder are Froyo on 3.7 per cent, Eclair and Donut with 1.7 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively. Also on 0.1 per cent is the tablet-only Honeycomb version – a figure that acts as a testament to moribund take-up for Android tablets not too long ago.

The high numbers of gadgets stuck on earlier versions of Android can likely be attributed to the millions of cheaper Android phones and tablets sold in developing markets. The underpowered processors that these handsets pack prevent updates to the newest variations of Google’s platform.

However, it’s precisely these devices in these surging markets that have turbo-charged Android’s irresistible rise to its status as the world’s most-used smartphone operating system, leaving Google in quandary if it attempts to clamp down on fragmentation.

By Jonathan Leggett