Since the beginning of the year Android Marshmallow adoption has been surging, moving from 0.67% of the Android Market on January 1st, to 4.7% on February 21st, a 7X increase. It’s taken quite some time for the OEMs and carriers to agree to the rollout — it’s been 4 months since the general availability of the OS. For comparison sake, iOS 9 was at 79% adoption after 4 months.

Why is this important? Android M is a big investment towards a rich internet of things ecosystem for Google and OEMs like Samsung and HTC. For example, the update includes a voice API for developers (especially useful for car, wearable, and TV apps), enhancements for enterprise device management, and additional context-aware features such as Google’s “Now on Tap.” The update also includes hardware enhancements like support for 4K displays and 64-bit ARMv8.

Android Marshmallow Adoption

Let’s take a deeper dive into the sources of growth for Android’s latest operating system. Google’s Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus Player devices have been running Android M for some time and do not explain the recent growth in the OS. The primary reason for the recent growth is that HTC and LG have been received the Android M update in a few primary markets, notably France. Karbonn’s Android M release in India has also caused an uptick in Marshmallow usage. The table below lists the top devices that have received the update:

Android Marshmallow Growth By Device

Device % of Android M Usage Jan 1 % of Android M Usage Feb 18 Growth
HTC One (M8) 1.15% 21.22% 18.5X
Karbonn Sparkle V 0.04% 6.43% 160X
LG G4 2.52% 16.3% 6.5X


Android Marshmallow Adoption by Country*

Country Jan 1 Feb 18 Growth
France 1.96% 15.89% 8.1X
Germany 8.03% 10.39% 1.29X
India 7.00% 9.39% 1.34X

*% of Android M usage by Country

The growth in France is attributable to the HTC One and LG G4.

Not everyone that has an eligible device upgrades, and not all carriers support the upgrades. Thus another important question is, on which devices is Android M the most popular operating system? Also, how does this change by country? Again for this analysis we will exclude the aforementioned Nexus Devices.

Device by Country in which Android M is the Most Popular OS

Country Device
Albania General Mobile 4G
Denmark Moto X
Germany Moto X
India Moto X, Pixel V1, Sparkle V
Indonesia Journey One
Russia LG G4
Turkey General Mobile 4G
United Kingdom Moto X

All of these devices have relatively small traction (<1% share) to the market at large. Interestingly enough, the only Android M device with meaningful traction is the Nexus 5 in Nepal. It is the 16th most popular device with about 2.5% market share. Even in the United States, the Nexus 5 is only the 140th most popular Android device (0.07% share), followed by the Nexus 6 in 145th place, and the Nexus Player in 294th.

The Hard Truth

The fact is that although Android M upgrades are starting to roll out, it’s relative adoption among the entire Android ecosystem is still relatively small. The graph below illustrates this point — Lollipop, Android 5.X, represents 68% of usage; KitKat, Android 4.4-4.4.4 represents 20% of usage; and Jelly Bean, Android 4.1-4.3.1 represents 7.5% of usage.

We do however feel there is strong growth ahead for Android Marshmallow. The primary reason is that Samsung, only a few days ago, started to release Android M to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices. Those devices have impressive global market share. Now it is up to the carriers in various regions to approve the update!

android marshmallow adoption by usage 2

A special thanks to our data analyst Mike Murano and the SDK team for making this report possible.