Google’s Android OS has come a long way since its introduction in 2008 (commercially, at least) and a recent market study now shows that Android is found on nearly 9 out of every 10 smartphones globally.
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The specific market share of Android from Strategy Analytics is 87.5 perfect with shipments of Android smartphones at 328.6 million, which is an increase of 10.3 perfect from this time last year.
The biggest reason for this dominating market share is due to the huge number of different Android smartphones from different Android manufacturers. Numbers from 2015 put the figures at as many as 24,000 unique Android devices from about 1,300 brands. This is huge and often cited as the biggest reason for Android’s fragmentation problems and lack of software updates to recent versions of the OS.
Now while it certainly may seem like great news for Google that its Android OS is so widespread, there are still obstacles to overcome and profitability is one of the most common issues for virtually all Android smartphone manufacturers. Woody Oh, who is the director at Strategy Analytics states:
“… 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 is very much aware of the setbacks with such a huge pool of different Android smartphones out there as rumors earlier this year even pointed to the Mountain View company developing a “shame list” to highlight manufacturers that are and are not staying up to date with the latest software versions.
Whether or not that was true, it does show that the issues are not being ignored. But with the popularity of low-cost Android smartphones especially in countries such as China and India, and the free and open source nature of Android itself, it’s not too surprising that the market share is this high as manufacturers can relatively easily build a “basic” smartphone with low or mid-range specs that may not need or require the latest and greatest software from Google. This is no excuse of course, especially when it comes to security issues, but if nothing else it is understandable that the statistics would appear as they do.
Despite the popularity of the Android, what do you think it will take for the OS to increase profitability while still catering to the huge variety of smartphone needs and costs?