Apple loses smartphone market share as Android figures swell

4 Nov 2016

Android growth continues. Image: Flickr/Rob Bulmahn/CC BY 2.0

The release of several impressive Android smartphones in the past year has helped the operating system increase its dominance over iOS. Seven in eight devices are now Android.

The global market share enjoyed by Android has hit new heights, with 87.5pc of all smartphones now using the operating system – up from 84pc last year. Apple’s iOS is down 3.5m units, from 13.6pc to 12.1pc. Emphatic.


Future Human

A “lacklustre” performance in China and Africa has cost Apple in the past 12 months as, despite the smartphone market still growing, it saw its device numbers and market share drop.

Dominant force Android saw its position underlined on the back of several impressive devices released in recent months, with the trend set to continue following Google’s issue of the new Pixel smartphone.

Indeed, Pixel’s popularity is such that Google can’t keep up with demand. “We’re thrilled to see the excitement for our new Pixel phones, and frankly, pre-order demand has exceeded our expectations,” said the company after customers complained of delays. “We’re working to restock our inventory as soon as possible.”

That was only last month, so it had little impact on the market figures, provided by Strategy Analytics, with the crowded Android market showing no signs of saturation just yet.

During the summer, Google revealed plans to train up to 2m software developers in India on its mobile platform. This came two months after Apple announced 4,000 new jobs in Hyderabad, and also established a new iOS apps development centre in Bengaluru to accelerate the Indian tech start-up ecosystem.

Calling Android’s market share lead “unassailable”, Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics, said the low-cost alternative to iOS is too appealing to developers and manufacturers.

“However, several challenges remain for Google,” he added.

“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.”

Android 7 is gradually coming on stream over the next few months, with several devices loosely divulging their adoption rates so far. Huawei’s Mate 9 was the first of many, revealed earlier this week.

The other operating systems, like Microsoft Windows Phone and BlackBerry, now make up just 0.3pc of the market.

Android growth continues. Image: Rob Bulmahn/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic