Google’s Android mobile operating system has long been the world’s most popular. In the third-quarter of 2016, however, Apple’s declining iPhone sales pushed it to new heights, according to new research.
Android managed to capture 87.5 percent of global smartphone market share to end the month of September, according to analysts at Strategy Analytics. For those bad at math, that means nearly nine of every 10 smartphones on the planet is running Google’s mobile operating system. Last quarter alone, Google managed to ship 328.6 million devices running the OS — an increase of 10.3 percent year-on-year.
Apple, during the same period, shipped 45.5 million iPhones, down 5.2 percent from the same period last year. The numbers aren’t as bad as they seem for Apple; it shipped its new phone — the iPhone 7 — in September with only a few weeks remaining in the quarter. Sales are projected to be strong through the holiday season.
The report also notices the decline of mobile operating systems by other manufacturers, including Microsoft, Samsung, and Blackberry. Combined (and with others added), these fringe systems make up just 0.3 percent of the total smartphone market.
In it’s colossal rise to good fortune, Google owes much of the thanks to China and low-cost Android device manufacturers. It’s not all smooth sailing from here on though, Android has some real hurdles in place for future growth. According to Strategy Analytics director Woody Oh:
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.
Google, however, could placate some of these concerns with strong sales numbers in first party devices — the Pixel and Pixel XL. Other manufacturers, however, might not be as lucky. Samsung has a bit of a reputation problem these days, and we’ve noted previously that few mobile phone manufacturers have figured out the keys to profitability.