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The SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group (SS SLUG), a sub-project of SQLServerUniverse is an offline community of SQL Server enthusiasts who meet every month to discuss and learn about SQL Server and related technologies. Once registered on SQLServerUniverse.com, everyone automatically becomes a member.

Scheduled to start at 6 PM today at Microsoft Sri Lanka Office.

More info here.

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At the Northshore College premises “ROBOCOM 2014”, the first ever Robotics Competition for the college is to be held on the 24th of April 2014 from 10 am onwards.

Realizing the potential that Robotics possessed,  “The Northshore College Robotics Society” with the ultimate goal of instilling the very essence of Robotics in Northshore College, was created. In order to expose students to the robotics era of technology,  “ROBOCOM 2014” has been organized , the first ever Robotics competition at Northshore. ROBOCOM is a challenge that which tests participant groups on some of the basic principles of Robotics. Essentially the Bot needs to be able to place/pick an object and follow a line. With the announcement of ROBOCOM, almost all Robotics Enthusiasts or “ROBOMANIACS” within the Software, Electrical and Electronics respects of Northshore have collaborated and formed powerful teams, each comprised of no more than five individual. Almost all the teams have completed the construction of the Bot.

To make the competition a true race to the finish line, cash prizes will be offered to the First, Second and Third teams of the competition. DMS (PVT) Ltd. are the prize sponsors for the competition with Digit being the media partner.

All who are interested in Robotics are cordially invitedo to joins as Northshore puts first steps into the world of Robotics.

Fb event page here

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Professor Induruwa pioneered academic and research networking and Internet deployment in Sri Lanka. He served as prime mover, Principal Investigator and Project Leader of the Lanka Experimental Academic & Research Network (LEARN), to provide data communications throughout the island in 1989.

This is the Felicitation ceremony for Professor Induruwa for being inducted for Internet Hall of Fame.

See what Professor Induruwa has to about this:

 

Stay tuned with our Live Blog for detailed updates as we will bring them to you from Renuka Hotel premises.

 

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With more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for infection, dengue virus is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.

There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. When infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment can substantially lower the risk of medical complications and death.

We are living in a tech enabled world and yet to use technology to prevent and cure Dengue. #StopDengue cause talks about, using could and mobile technologies in Dengue prevention and cure in a community driven architecture. Using #StopDengue service, anyone in the world can report about a Dengue incident and that will be accepted and confirmed by Medical authorities near the reporter and then those alerts will be pushed to those who are near the danger area, thus they can take necessary measures to prevent Dengue.

Architecture

#StopDengue cloud is a platform that collect every aspects of Dengue from the community. They can report about dengue incidents, deaths, cured patient details and more. The platform save all data collected from the community ordinary people with the location details. It process the information and give alerts to other people, doctors and medical officers in the specific location. With those alerts they can prevent themselves from dengue and make proper countermeasures for the risk. People can even report about environmental pollution that boost dengue spreading through the system, so we can take legal action for the polluters.

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Microsoft technologies are being used in this platform, such as ASP, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure, Bing Maps and Office 365. Using Windows 8 and Windows Phone push notifications and Scheduled reminders, people will get the localized and generalized alerts on time. Those alerts contains, near by dengue risks, weather alerts, necessary helps such as blood, money and medical facilities for needy people. With Tile updates the apps will give brief and general methodologies to prevent Dengue.  Azure is the back end of the system, this system store all the data of the platform in Azure cloud database. Using Azure Mobile services the system provide Push notifications to the people including Doctors and Medical Officers.  Using Office 365, #StopDengue platform create documents and generate reports and  give questionnaires and other forms through this service.

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This Sri Lankan native startup has been selected as one of the finalist project in Microsoft Youthspark Challenge for Change program of 2014. This startup has taken a place with in first 20 places where there were 800+ participants all around the world.

This project needs votes and supports to make it a reality. If this project gets more votes and secure a place with in first five out of twenty, Microsoft will directly fund this project. You can give your support by visiting https://youthsparkchallenge.com/voteentry.cfm?id=76, cast your vote share http://tiny.cc/stopdengue URL in your Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

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It all started with this tweet from Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management at Microsoft, today evening 4:33 pm Sri Lankan time.

Any developer who is having a ‘developer unlocked’ device can get this Windows Phone 8.1 updated in one’s Windows Phone 8 device through Preview for Developers app. If you don’t have a developer unlocked phone or a developer account, there is an easy trick to get it. For that open  ”App Studio” through http://appstudio.windowsphone.com, here App Studio is an online service, using which anyone can develop Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 apps without any coding knowledge. In App Studio, sign in with the same Microsoft account you used on your Windows Phone. Now you have the permission to get the developer previews of Windows Phone OS. In your phone, go to Windows Phone store and install Preview for Developers app through http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=178ac8a1-6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96. Open Preview for Developers app and sign-in with the same Microsoft account used above in App Studio. Tick the Enable Preview for Developers box and tap on Done. Check the OS version in Settings > About, it must be 8.0.10521.155 before installing the WP 8.1 Preview. If your OS version is less than 10521 you will first get this update after enabling Preview for Developers. OK, now your device is READY TO ACCEPT THE WINDOWS PHONE 8.1 DEVELOPER PREVIEW!!

Again, you need to check  OS version in Settings > About, and it must be ready to install the Windows Phone version, 8.10.12358. Using WiFi, you can update your OS and to get Cortana, the Digital voice assistant for Windows Phone, you need to change the language settings to English (United States). To achieve this, head into Settings > Language and add the language as a new entry on the list by hitting the add button. Ensure English (United States) is active prior to continuing. The phone may require a reboot.

cortana_us_region_settings

Head into region settings to move your virtual self from your current location to the US by changing the region. All that’s required for this step is to head into Settings > Region and ensure “country/region” is set to the United States and “regional format” matches phone language (makes it easier when switching back). The phone may require a reboot. verything should be set up and ready to go. If you cannot see Cortana listed as an app on the app list, give the phone a final reboot. You should then be able to load up the Cortana app, which will run you through the initial setup wizard. However, if you alter the region and/or language settings from here on out, you will remove Cortana.

Caution : One side effect of doing this is it appears to disable the Store from loading on some devices. So consider this a preview of Cortana, or just be aware there could be some negative consequences!

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Windows Phone 8.1 Features

Action Center

  • Notification center – Alerts, non-Toast notifications, update history, more
  • Quick-access to customized actions, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Plane mode, etc.

Apps + Store

  • Apps can capture audio/video from themselves; be limited for copyright concerns
  • App and Game data stored on SD cards
  • Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first
  • App Suggestions by location
  • Backup of App + Game data to OneDrive (if developer enabled)
  • Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS
  • Filter through installed apps by usage/install date
  • Manual Update checks
  • New Store design and features
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
  • Single sign-in for apps (like on Windows 8) with Microsoft Account; sign in will persist across devices + apps with permissions prompt

Calendar

  • Google calendar support, with multiple calendars
  • Weather in calendar
  • Week view in calendar

Camera

  • Burst camera mode, including auto-deletion of bursts
  • New layout

Bing

  • Bing smart search (similar search system as Windows 8.1)
  • Podcast app powered by Bing, full featured

Browser

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • IE 11 to save and remember your password for websites
  • JavaScript and HTML for app development
  • Upload files through Internet Explorer 11
  • Tabs now show up individually in multi-task window
  • WebGL and Normal mapping support
  • YouTube Player including HTML5 video support

Developer

  • Background tasks: Bluetooth signal strength, Chat message notification, Device connection change, Device use trigger, Gatt characteristic notification, Location, Push notification, Rfcomm connection, System event, Timer
  • XAP replaced by APPX
  • ​​Audio/video transcoding that’s hardware accelerated
  • New dev tools including: SemanticZoom, DatePicker, TimePicker
  • Actionable notifications for apps
  • Silent/ghost notifications for apps

Email

  • Encrypted and signed e-mail support
  • New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
  • Option to always download emails and pictures within them

Enterprise and Office

  • Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
  • Password protected Office document support
  • Office Lens support for scanning documents with camera, import into Office with OCR
  • Rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive
  • VPN support built in
  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware
  • Auto-triggered VPN
  • Certificate management to enroll, update and revoke certificates for user authentication
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying the installing of certain apps.
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS

General User Experience changes

  • Start screen backgrounds with parallax motion
  • Back button no longer closes apps, instead it suspends them
  • Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
  • Double Tap to Power Off
  • Favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
  • File picker
  • Kid’s Corner – Password won’t be displayed (bug fix)
  • Live Tiles – mark as red by swiping from the left over the Tile
  • Live Tiles – Three column support (maybe)
  • Navigation bar for phones without physical keys on the front
  • Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
  • Quiet Hours – Disable notifications during pre-selected timeframe
  • Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up
  • Search button will be the new way to open Speech (aka ‘Cortana’)
  • Separate volume controls for ringtones/notifications and music/media
  • Set default Voice Navigation app for the OS
  • Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view
  • Voice Narrator for Accessibility

Keyboard

  • General keyboard enhancements, show emoji when typing
  • Swipe keyboard option

Media

  • Audio/video transcoding, Hardware accelerated
  • Media editing: audio and video; Audio effects, video effects; Slow motion video
  • Xbox Music and Xbox Video as standalone apps instead of the Music + Video Hub (allowing more updates to be pushed)

Messaging

  • Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
  • Mute Thread – Optionally silence text threads, no longer receive notifications or Live Tile updates

Phone + Contacts

  • Contact list sorting of those with phone numbers
  • Call duration (press and hold reveals a “details” menu in call history)
  • In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
  • Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
  • Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected

Sense

  • Battery Power Sense – App to monitor which apps draw the most power
  • Battery Saver (under Battery Sense) will have an app exclusion list
  • Data Sense – Operators can now control Data Sense limits remotely
  • Wi-Fi Sense – Sharing secured WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
  • Wi-Fi can auto re-enable after a set duration of time
  • Wi-Fi Direct

System

  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Chkdsk for SD cards to ensure card health
  • Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them. This would be really good for IFTTT
  • Miracast, PlayTo, mirror and project via wireless display or USB-out
  • Mouse and keyboard support (HID)
  • Stereoscopic 3D support
  • The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
  • Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app
  • Virtual SmartCard support
  • Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
  • Windows Phone 8.1 apps won’t run on 8.0 devices until they upgrade

Windows Phone 8.1 brings a wealth of new features and improvements to the table. Some of these changes are meant to bring Windows Phone more in-line with Windows 8. The more closely the two operating systems resemble each other, the easier it is for users to transition between phone, tablet, and PC. One such change comes with Windows Phone 8.1’s new and improved search feature. The Search button and Cortana app, now searches not only the web for queries but also the user’s actual phone (much like Windows 8 and RT). This makes it easier than ever to find specific information and files on your phone. Even the actual web search results share a cleaner, slicker look as well. Head past the break to see how convenient searching can be on Windows Phone 8.1.

If there was any knock on the Windows Phone 8 Start screen, it might have been that it was too electric. Every Live Tile was brightly colored, many with embedded information scrolling through. There was no obvious focal point. In all fairness, some of those problems still remain. But my god, the upgrade’s beautiful. And personalized.

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On iOS 7, the home screen is a matrix of flat icons. Microsoft redesigned its Windows Phone 8.1 Live Tiles so that on the Start screen, some would be transparent windows overlaid on a background image of your choosing. You can place a People tile that rolls through photos of your contacts. You can set another tile to flash photos from your Camera Roll. You can pin music, specific people, and even websites to the Start screen, all of which can serve updates.

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The lock screen is also customizable to some degree. You can set any number of apps to display on the lock screen, along with the time, date, your next appointment, and the number of unread emails from multiple accounts. Eventually, Microsoft will publish a lock-screen customization app (announced at its recent Build conference), allowing Windows Phone users to create the sort of radically different launcher experiences that Android users can download. But it’s not quite ready, a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

Notifications-and-actions

Within Windows Phone 8, the Start screen’s Live Tiles were the primary source of communicating information, such as the number of unread emails. With Windows Phone 8.1, that’s augmented by a new Action Center notifications pane that can be pulled down from the top of the screen, even from the lock screen.

At the top of the pane are four icons: the local Wi-Fi router (if one is connected), a Bluetooth toggle, an “airplane mode” toggle, and a rotation lock toggle. You may replace them with other functions, such as the camera. Apps have the option of swapping in their own icons, too. There’s also a small link to the Settings page, plus a “Clear All” control. As it turns out, the latter’s rather important.

By default, the Notifications pane displays what appears to be every email you’ve received that day, from multiple accounts. On my device, that means my personal Gmail and Outlook.com accounts, as well as my work email filtered through Exchange. And that’s not counting the score updates from my MLB At Bat application. That’s a lot of scrolling. In this regard, Google’s Android does it better, with miniature tiles that let you drill down for more information.

While the Windows 8.1 Update for PCs introduced a number of improvements, it all felt like Microsoft was fidgeting, trying to fine-tune the computing experience to appease its most irate critics. The updates to Windows Phone 8.1, by contrast, feel far more fundamental. Yes, the latest iteration of Android, KitKat, pushed Google’s Voice Search and Google Now into the forefront. Apple’s iOS7 added notifications and a redesigned user interface. So we’ve seen this before—it’s Microsoft just playing catch-up, right? Yes, to an extent. But with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has built significantly onto an already-decent OS, and other pieces are falling into place: Microsoft’s continued courting of developers, the imminent assimilation of Nokia, and Microsoft’s recent commitment to universal apps spanning Windows and Windows Phone.

 

 

 

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Start of this week paved way to unearthing a major security breach  at the very core  of the internet. Globally known as ‘Heartbleed’, it may have been divulging users’ personal information and passwords to hackers and other eavesdroppers for the past couple of years. Major websites such as Instagram, Pinterest, USMagazine.com, NASA, and Creative Commons together with many other web services that are using OpenSSL for encryption were badly influenced by this security flaw last Monday.

Catastrophic is the right word. On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11

This bug was discovered by a team of security engineers (Riku, Antti and Matti) at Codenomicon and Neel Mehta of Google Security, who first reported it to the OpenSSL team. According to Computer Security Expert  Bruce Schneier ”‘catastrophic’ is the right word. On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.” The severity of the flaw has demanded its own webspace at HeartBleed.com, which states:

‘The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs). The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.’

So you better change your passwords of OpenSSL used websites right now right now , if you have not done already.

Since Heartbleed bug was revealed, a Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed by Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use. Reports suggests that over half a million widely trusted websites are vulnerable to Heartbleed bug.  Mashable has compiled a list of global websites and services that were influenced by this breech. So if you have an account in major services such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, Tumblr, Pinterest and Yahoo, you better change your password right now, if you have not done already.

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Central Bank of Sri Lanka released its annual report for the year 2013 revealing statistics about the economic and the industry conditions of the country. As per the statistics provided by Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the gross inflows to the computer and information services sub sector increased by 7.2 per cent in the year 2013 which means that the industry has been growing at a significant rate. The annual report also reveals that the gross inflow from the IT, BPO and KPO industries account for USD 604 billion indicating that there is lot more to be done, in terms of achieving the industry revenue target of USD 1 Billion by 2016.

Nevertheless, the annual report of Central Bank of Sri Lanka acknowledges that Software and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) such as BPO and KPO  have emerged as a sector with high growth potential in Sri Lanka, generating significant inflows in 2013 compared to the previous year. Further, it also states that Sri Lanka has been able to win the ‘Outsourcing  Destination of the Year’ by the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), UK in October 2013 as a result of increased inflows to the country. In addition to these factors, Sri Lanka is recognized for having the ability to produce skilled human resources needed for Information Technology (IT),  BPO and KPO sectors.

Considering the activities of the government to support the IT, BPO and KPO industry,  the government has put  forward a proposal to facilitate corporate entities engaged in BPO services while offering a 5-year half tax holiday for the new companies who are establishing operations. In addition to this, a project proposal was made to develop an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zone at Hambantota as the emerging ICT Hub of South Asia.

Download the full report here

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Professor Abhaya Induruwa today (April 8th) joins the elite ranks of notable individuals who have been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the advancement of the global Internet. The Internet Hall of Fame inducted Professor Induruwa for pioneering academic and research networking and Internet in Sri Lanka. The induction ceremony was held in Hong Kong today (8th April) at 3.30pm.

Professor Induruwa shared few words with us about the significant recognition:

Prof_Abhaya_InduruwaProfessor Induruwa has been named a Global Connector, a category which recognizes and celebrates individuals from around the world who have made major contributions to the growth, connectivity, and use of the Internet, either on a global scale or within a specific region or community.

In 1989, exactly 25 years ago this month (April), Professor Induruwa articulated his vision for an island-wide computer network for academics and researchers, and proposed the setting up of LEARN, Lanka Experimental Academic and Research Network to the government of Sri Lanka.  He served as the Principal Investigator and the Project Leader of the LEARN project which he completed in 1995 when LEARN was permanently connected to the global Internet. He established LEARNmail in 1990 offering Internet email service to the Sri Lankan academic and research community.  In 1992 he architected LEARN Internet and managed to secure funds from the Sri Lankan government via the University Grants Commission to procure three 64 Kbps wireless links and associated networking devices.  LEARN became the first TCP/IP WAN in Sri Lanka when the University of Colombo and the Open University of Sri Lanka were connected to the University of Moratuwa using these links.  Today LEARN provides island-wide Internet connectivity to all Universities, Higher Education Institutions and Research Centres in the country.  His pioneering efforts also paved the way for the establishment of commercial Internet services in Sri Lanka.

He founded the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in 1985 and served as its Head until 1998.  He was appointed by H E The President of Sri Lanka to the inaugural Board of the Computer and Information Technology Council (CINTEC) in 1983.  He served as a Member of the CINTEC Board until 1998.  During this period he held the portfolios for the development of ICT education, and data communication & computer networking policy & infrastructure in the country, and chaired the respective CINTEC Working Committees.  From 1992-1996 he also served as a Board Member of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka (formerly Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Sciences) and, using funds provided under a SIDA project, introduced an on-line document delivery service by connecting the NSF-SL to LEARN.

He is the first student to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa winning the Prof O P Kulshreshtha award for the best Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate in 1975. He earned his PhD from Imperial College London in 1980.  Currently he is the Prof V K Samaranayake Endowed Professor of Computing at the University of Colombo School of Computing in addition to being the Joint Acting Head of Computing at the Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. Among his current research interests is the security of Internet of Things.

A founding member of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka, Professor Induruwa is also a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, UK; the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka; and the British Computer Society. He is the founding Treasure of the Cybercrime Forensics Specialist Group of the British Computer Society, a position he has held from its inception in 2007 until today.  In recognition of his signal contributions to the development of national ICT policy framework, for pioneering Computer Science & Engineering education, and for pioneering Internet in Sri Lanka, the Computer Society of Sri Lanka awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2003.

“The 2014 Internet Hall of Fame inductees include extraordinary individuals who have helped shape the global Internet,” noted Internet Society CEO Kathy Brown. “This historic assembly of Internet trailblazers, innovators, and thought-leaders represent many different countries and backgrounds, each with an inspiring story to share.  We applaud their achievements and determination to push the boundaries of technological and social innovation to connect the world.”

Acceptance speech by Prof. Abhaya Induruwa in Hong Kong (3.30pm SL time)

About the Internet Hall of Fame

The Internet Hall of Fame (www.internethalloffame.org) is a recognition program and virtual museum that celebrates the living history of the Internet and the individuals whose extraordinary contributions have made the Internet, its worldwide availability and use, and its transformative nature possible.  The Internet Hall of Fame was launched by the Internet Society in 2012.

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As usual, Google has published the updated data on Android platform distribution numbers. The latest report, available on the Android Developer Dashboard, is based on data collected during a 7 day period ending on 1st of April, according to Google. The latest version of Google’s mobile OS, Android 4.4 (KitKat) now hold 5.3% of the share. This may sound like an underwhelming number for an OS version that was released around 5 months ago. But as many of us know, Android updates are affected by multiple factors. There are various parties including the device manufacturers and service providers, apart from Google, who control these software releases. The good news is that KitKat has actually seen a growth of more than 50% within a month, compared to the 2.5% share it held a month ago.

Android Platform Distribution Numbers - April 2014

Android Platform Distribution Numbers – April 2014

Overall Jelly Bean versions (4.1.x, 4.2.x, 4.3) control around 61.4% of the total share, which is a very slight decline from the 62% share they held a month ago. From the older versions, Ice Cream Sandwich holds 14.3% of the share while “more than three year old” Gingerbread still holds 17.8% of the share (down from 19%, a month ago).

What is important to note about this data is that it reflects only the devices that run the latest Play Store App, which is compatible with Android 2.2 and above. So, devices that still run Android versions older than Android 2.2 (less than 1% as of August 2013 according to Google) and devices that doesn’t come with support to Google Play Store (Amazon’s Kindle Devices, Latest Nokia X series and many more devices coming from China etc.) are not reflected in this data.

For developers who are interested, the dashboard provides more data on screen sizes and Open GL Version among Android devices too.

 

Source: Android Developer Dashboards