According to latest data released on the official Android blog, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich both gained during a 14-day period ending March 5, 2012. Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest and greatest Android version found on the Galaxy Nexus device, is rising slowly. Although, its growth remains hindered by both limited availability of the announced ICS devices and slow roll out of ICS updates to existing devices. It is worth noting that the numbers represent only active Android devices that accessed Android Market in the past 14 days.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) powered 1.6-percent of all active devices in the past 14 days, a 0.5-percent increase. Gingerbread (Android 2.3) also grew to 62 percent, up from 58.6-percent in February, which likely due to a greater number of inexpensive and entry-level Gingerbread handsets hitting the market. Froyo (Android 2.2.) still accounts for one-quarter of all active devices. Éclair (Android 2.1) fell to 6.6-percent, and Donut (Android 1.6) and Cupcake (Android 1.5) together accounted for 1.2-percent of active devices.

Google also said in a blog post that Android apps could now be larger than 50 megabytes in size.

More information is below.

Historically, Google noted, Android apps were limited to a maximum size of 50 megabytes par an APK file. Whilst 50MB is just fine for most consumer apps, games and other media-intensive apps struggle to pack all their content under 50 megabytes. This forced developers to host the additional resources on their servers (costly) and download them when the user opens the app. Well, developers can now breathe a collective sigh of relief as Google announced it is expanding the Android app size limit to 4GB. Now, this does not mean APK files can be larger than 50 megabytes due to secure on-device storage limitations.

Instead, apps can retrieve extra content from two expansion files with each up to 2GB in size. These expansions files are hosted on Android Market (at no cost) alongside the main APK file and users will “see the total size of your app and all of the downloads before they install/purchase.” Furthermore, expansion files are saved in shared storage and are readable by any app—unlike APK files. This is how the new system will work on different devices:

On most newer devices, when users download your app from Android Market, the expansion files will be downloaded automatically, and the refund period won’t start until the expansion files are downloaded. On older devices, your app will download the expansion files the first time it runs, via a downloader library.

More information on expansion files and ways of using them is available here.

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