Essential offers up an Android Oreo beta for the Essential Phone

But, now that the distribution numbers are out, we do know which Android versions have gained more share in the chart and which ones have dropped. For years, we've been writing about Google's failure to roll out the latest versions of its operating system to vendors in a timely fashion, but despite promises to the contrary, Google has failed to make any significant progress to date.

To be precise, the stats are based on active devices interacting with Google Play over the period of a week. There have been a couple Oreo beta tests here and there, and a few phones are launching with the latest version of Android pre-installed, but the results aren't impressive.

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At this point, it's hard to know what Google can do about Android fragmentation, short of convincing everyone to buy Pixel or Android One devices.

Programmer Dan Luu created a graph from the version distribution data, which appears to show a smaller fraction of Android users are benefitting from the latest version. The situation won't improve by much since HMD and Huawei are the ones that will offer Android 8.0 Oreo updates for some of its smartphones by the end of the year. While Oreo is advancing at a snail's pace, it should begin picking up speed as more people get their hands on the newest flagship devices such as the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 Xl, and Mate 10 Pro, among others that launched running Android 8 Oreo. While there is some hope that Google has started on the long road to recover with Android 8.0, it will be years before Google comes close to catching Apple, providing it ever does. The chart for the month of November, published earlier today, paints a not so encouraging picture for Android.

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