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Unlike Apple, which tightly controls all devices using its iOS operating system, Google, and the Android open source project which it leads, by contrast, has very limited control over who gets which version of the Android OS, and especially when. Android's release problems are two-tiered. When a new version is first released, it typically runs only on the Nexus line of products that are manufactured with a Google partner, like the Galaxy Nexus phone produced by Samsung, or the Nexus 7 tablet by ASUS.
The Android release must then be picked up and fitted to work with a wide range of device manufacturers, 15 in the US and over 20 worldwide as of this recording. If there are any custom features or interface elements, those must be integrated into the release. Android has a nice gallery of devices on their site that you can find at android.com/devices. Once the manufacturers are done, it has to be turned over to the wireless networks, who have their own enhancements and testing to complete.
When they're done they'll ultimately roll it out to the devices. The Nexus devices get the latest updates the soonest. Others may not get the update for many months, if ever. According to Google stats, Gingerbread which is Android 2.3, still has the bulk of market share, 55%. Currently Jelly Bean 4.1 is on the Galaxy Nexus, the Google Nexus S, Galaxy S III in Singapore, the HTC One X and HTC One S, and the Motorola Xoom, as well as the Droid.
There is word that it's coming soon to the Samsung Galaxy Note, Note 2, S II, Ace 2, Beam, and Ace Plus. LG has announced that it will be on all of their 2012, models and Motorola has said that it will be on all of their US 2012 models and across their 2011 line. It's important for developers to understand the devices on which Jelly Bean is available, so that they can better gauge their market potential and structure the development plan accordingly.
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