Android Dominates Rival OSes, But Google Faces Challenges

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Apple’s iPhone may be popular, but nearly 88 percent of smartphones shipped last quarter were running Android, according to new data from Strategy Analytics.

The research firm this week reported that overall global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually to 375.4 million units in the third quarter of 2016 — the smartphone industry’s fastest growth rate for a year.

Android was the big winner; its “domination of global smartphone shipments remained strong in Q3 2016,” Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement. “Android’s gain came at the expense of every major rival platform.”

Google’s mobile OS captured a record 87.5 percent of the market, while Apple’s iOS lost ground, dipping to 12.1 percent market share worldwide thanks to “lackluster performance in China and Africa,” Mawston said. All other smartphone operating systems together accounted for just 0.3 percent of the market.

“BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Phone have all but disappeared due to strategic shifts, while Tizen and other emerging platforms softened as a result of limited product portfolios and modest developer support,” Mawston said.

Strategy Analytics Director Woody Oh added that “Android’s leadership of the global smartphone market looks unassailable at the moment,” but it remains to be seen what the future holds.

“Its low-cost services and user-friendly software remain attractive to hardware makers, operators, and consumers worldwide,” he said. “However, several challenges remain for Google. The Android platform is getting overcrowded with hundreds of manufacturers, few Android device vendors make profits, and Google’s new Pixel range is attacking its own hardware partners that made Android popular in the first place.”


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