Any question that the smartphone wars are over has been put to rest again with a new report showing that nearly nine out of 10 phones shipped in the last quarter were running Google’s Android operating system.
The report from Strategy Analytics Inc. detailed global smartphone shipments increasing 6 percent in the third quarter from 354.2 million a year ago to 375.4 million in the third quarter of 2016, the highest growth rate for a year. Much of the growth came from emerging markets in Asia and Africa that previously had low smartphone penetration rates, with India and South Africa leading the growth numbers.
Of the 375.4 million phones shipped, Android phones accounted for 328.6 million, up 10 percent compared with the same quarter in 2015, while Apple only managed to ship 45.5 million units, down 5.2 percent. Other operating systems, which includes Windows Phone devices, only managed to scrape in at 1.3 million units sold, down a whopping 84 percent.
In terms of share, Android came in for the quarter at 87.5 percent market share versus Apple on a measly 12.1 percent share.
“Android’s domination of global smartphone shipments remained strong in Q3 2016, with a record 88 percent of all smartphones now running Google’s OS. Android’s gain came at the expense of every major rival platform,” Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement. “Apple iOS lost ground to Android and dipped to 12 percent share worldwide in Q3 2016, due to a lackluster performance in China and Africa. 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.”
Although the report is highly favorable to Android, there is a note of caution in the report.
“Android’s leadership of the global smartphone market looks unassailable at the moment. Its low-cost services and user-friendly software remain attractive to hardware makers, operators and consumers worldwide,” Strategy Analytics Director Woody Oh noted. “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.”
Indeed, another report estimates that only Apple is making significant profits. According to BMO Capital Market analyst Tim Long, Apple had almost 104 percent of operating profits in smartphones in the third quarter. That means Android smartphone makers collectively are losing money.