Project Treble, Coming into its Own

Project Treble is the biggest re-architecture of Android since it was born, and Google announcing that the Android P beta will be supported by nearly a dozen smartphones is the clearest indication yet that it is working.

The following shows the one year adoption rate of each version of Android:
50.6%, Gingerbread                
23.7%, Ice Cream Sandwich
25.0%, Jelly Bean                    
30.2%, Kitkat
25.6%, Lollipop
24.0%, Marshmallow
7.1%, Nougat
5.7%, Oreo (August 2018 will mark one year since its release.)

Gingerbread was a fluke for many reasons, so it’s safe to say that 25% penetration after one year has historically been the norm. The drop off in Nougat and Oreo can be explained largely by the maturity of the smartphone market. The year over year improvement in devices isn’t as much as it used to be, inclining users to hold off on replacing their smartphone for a longer period of time. This downward trend is about to change dramatically.

The following are my predictions for the one year adoption rate of future Android versions (+/- 2.5%):
Android Oreo, 9%
Android P, 15%,
Android Q, 19%
Android R, 22%
Android S, 24%
Android T, 25%
Android U, 25%

There are two levers driving my predictions. The first is the fact that new Android devices will support Treble and thus contribute to an increased one year adoption rate. The second is the fact that the smartphone market is maturing and users are replacing their devices at an increasingly lower rate. And since even devices with Treble won’t receive updates for more than ~3 years, the one year adoption rate will taper off to ~25%.

Let’s see what happens.