Google recently updated its developer portal, which indicates that Android Nougat is installed on just 13.5 percent of all devices. At this point, the most popular version of Android among all devices is Marshmallow, which is holding firm with 32.3 percent. Lollipop isn’t far behind with a 29.2 percent share. KitKat, which was first released nearly four years ago is still more popular than Nougat, coming in with 16 percent of the Android installed base.
Intriguingly, Nougat’s performance is actually tracking behind that of Marshmallow at this point in its lifecycle. In August 2016, Marshmallow was sitting pretty with a 15.2 percent share of the Android OS market.
Nougat’s performance is even more disappointing when you consider what Apple is able to achieve with iOS. For all the shade thrown at Apple for its “walled garden”, its tight control over hardware and software means that its devices are more likely to be running a current version of iOS. In fact, nearly 90 percent of iOS devices out in the wild are running iOS 10, the latest version available.
For those that want to ensure that they receive the latest versions of Android and security updates in a timely fashion, your best bet is to go with a Google-branded device like the Pixel and Pixel XL. Given that Google controls the hardware and software (like Apple), these devices are always on the fast track to receive not only test versions of Android, but also all retail releases.
However even that support is limited. According to Google’s own documentation, Pixel and Pixel XL owners aren’t guaranteed to receive any new major OS updates after Android P