Mobile // Mobile Business
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8/14/2014
12:23 PM
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Android Dominates Smartphone Market With 85% Share

Even Apple's iOS is a blip compared to Google's unstoppable, juggernaut mobile platform.

10 Ways Google Must Improve Android
10 Ways Google Must Improve Android
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It's not even remotely close. Google's Android platform is so far ahead of the competing mobile operating systems, it's a wonder the others bother at all. New numbers from IDC show Android is the clear leader, with iOS and Windows Phone trailing far, far behind. Apple and Microsoft have little chance of chipping away at Google's market position.

Smartphone makers shipped 301.5 million devices during the second quarter of 2013, IDC said. Of those, Android accounted for a whopping 255.3 million -- a commanding 84.7% of the worldwide smartphone market. Android owned 79.6% of the market in the year-ago period. Its growth came at the expense of iOS and Windows Phone, both of which declined year-over-year.

Apple's iOS platform shipped on 35.2 million of the 301.3 million devices, giving it a share of 11.7%. That's down from 13% in the year-ago period. Apple's iPhone shipment volumes increased by 12.7% year-to-year, but Google's shipment volumes jumped by 33.3%. IDC says much of the growth came from emerging markets.

[Is iOS in trouble? See Apple's Dominance Of Enterprise Mobility Slips.]

"With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "During the second quarter, 58.6% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices. With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher."

Windows Phone and BlackBerry are barely holding on. Microsoft and Nokia shipped 7.4 million Windows Phones during the second quarter, which is down from the 8.2 million shipped in the year-ago period. Microsoft saw its share of the smartphone market drop from a meager 3.2% last year to just 2.5% this year. In the US, Windows Phone holds just 1.5% of the market. IDC says Windows Phones actually made gains compared to the first quarter, but that's clearly not saying much.

At BlackBerry, the bottom has pretty much fallen out. The company shipped just 1.5 million devices during the second quarter, down 78% from the 6.7 million it shipped in the year-ago period. Its share dropped from 2.8% to 0.5%.

Android shipped on 170 times as many smartphones as BlackBerry did.

"It's been an incredible upward slog for other OS players – Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5% share mark, while the backing of the world's largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight," said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC. With Microsoft and BlackBerry flailing at the bottom of the market, it makes one question the sanity of those looking to break into the market. What chance do Sailfish OS, Ubuntu, Tizen, and others have if Microsoft and BlackBerry can't compete?

Things may change direction this fall. Apple is preparing two new iPhones for an early September introduction. The iPhones will be the first to offer larger screens (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches). The thinking is that larger screens will woo back consumers who left for the giganto-phones offered by Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. The larger iPhones could help Apple regain marketshare it has lost to Google's Android platform.

IT must support employees on the go as well as build mobile apps for customers. Both initiatives still have a long way to go. Get the new Frictionless IT: Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today (free registration required).

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 1:14:57 PM
Steve's impact
Android is the clear leader, with iOS and Windows Phone trailing

This may be a silly question, but you suppose Steve Job's death has been the main impact here for IOS? Or are there other, bigger factors? I know Apple's stock has been slowly depreciating.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 6:54:59 PM
Re: Steve's impact
I think overall the perception of iOS products has shifted.  At one point they were seen as being the alternative to the traditional devices (PCs), and yes, they had interfaces that are easy to use and often, just work.

That being said, part of the problem is that Apple has sat on this advantage too long.  There have been no significant advances in their interfaces, and the functionality is in line with leading devices from other manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC when it comes to mobile devices, which just happen to be the main consumption device for most people when it comes to tech.  Until Apple can bring back the innovation that made them become such a strong force in the market, people will look for the innovation elsewhere.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/15/2014 | 9:27:58 AM
Re: Steve's impact
Until Apple can bring back the innovation that made them become such a strong force in the market

Interesting. Do you think it's entirely because Jobs is gone?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/15/2014 | 7:30:09 PM
Re: Steve's impact
I don't see a lack of innovation at Apple, but its innovation is cautious, improving and expanding, rather than trying to reinvent the cash cow. Android, because of its openess, seems better suited to experimentation, like Project Ara.
stotheco
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stotheco,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 2:26:15 PM
Re: Steve's impact
Good point, Thomas. I think that's the edge Android has over Apple. In a sense, both are innovating--but Android is just doing it faster, and with more people working on it as opposed to Apple.
stotheco
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stotheco,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 2:27:33 PM
Re: Steve's impact
I don't think it's because Steve Jobs is gone. I agree that he was a visionary, and he was an exemplary presenter. But Apple wasn't created or run by just one person alone. Maybe it lacks some pizazz and Tim Cook might not have as much showmanship, but Apple (or any company for that matter) wasn't a one-man show.
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 11:53:35 PM
Re: Steve's impact
In the beginning the awe of iPhone was like a big splash. With time, it will naturally fade. Many new users will jump into iOS and Android, they will experiment and settle down. All has pros and cons. However, I am happy that there are diversity in market and it is not a complete monoploy.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
8/15/2014 | 12:10:39 PM
Re: Steve's impact
I think that's true to some extent, but it's also the main problem with a closed ecosystem. Yes it gives you total control over how the brand is perceived, but it also means that innovation is restricted to you alone and in Apple's case, it meant at most one handset a year. 

In Android's case, there's a new phone every few weeks, with many more companies competing with one another as well as with the iPhone, which means cheaper hardware, more regular updates and better products overall. 

I doubt Jobs has as big an impact as some think too. He was a hype man far more than he was an ideas man, especially in the last decade or so of his life. 
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 1:17:44 PM
free iPhone
"With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets,"

Yes, that makes sense. Although I know that Verizon did/does offer free iPhone with 2 year contract. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/14/2014 | 6:53:05 PM
Re: free iPhone
Interesting that Android is doing so well on the low-end...that points to a problem for Firefox OS.
anon8402681680
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anon8402681680,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/17/2014 | 1:48:08 PM
Re: free iPhone
You missed the main point "emerging markets". US based Verizon has no such foothold. 
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