2014, Android even more popular, but what’s the whole story?

Operating System

3Q13 Shipment Volumes

3Q13 Market Share

3Q12 Shipment Volumes

3Q12 Market Share

Year-Over-Year Change

Android

211.6

81.0%

139.9

74.9%

51.3%

iOS

33.8

12.9%

26.9

14.4%

25.6%

Windows Phone

9.5

3.6%

3.7

2.0%

156.0%

BlackBerry

4.5

1.7%

7.7

4.1%

-41.6%

Others

1.7

0.6%

8.4

4.5%

-80.1%

Total

261.1

100.0%

186.7

100.0%

39.9%

Android is here to stay in the rugged market now and according to latest figures it’s still growing globally, pushing past the 80% of the market figure at the end of 2013.  However overall the OS market share doesn’t tell the whole story so I wanted to highlight a few things that m ight be changing in the OS market.

1. Android is the biggest but is it the best?

Whilst 80% of the planet use it, the up take in the newer versions isn’t what you think with most people sticking at Jelly bean 4.1, that leaves the 3 latest versions lagging on up take.  Are people fed up with the amount of change and vendors also aren’t upgrading existing phones, trying to get customers to buy new models so the story isn’t quite all rosy perhaps?

2. Weak foundations?

In the rugged market Android devices are still not as supported as their Windows Mobile counterparts. SDK’s aren’t as deep and whilst the OS itself is more open and programmable it’s still a sign that vendors are still possibly hedging their bets. Smartphone vendors too, can’t seem to get a hold of the market with  Samsung taking the lions share of 40% of those shipments with everyone else in single digit share and many under 1%. With Samsung already working on it’s own OS (which recently saw a major Japanese pilot pull out on it), the platform for Android could easily be drawn out from under it.

3. The Apple’s still fresh

Despite falling market share, Apple still saw growth and is still dominant in the developed world. IOS still has a wonderful platform to build on and whilst Apple needs to make some right decisions, it’s still in a hugely powerful position to win back market share at any time.

4. Microsoft bounding back?

Windows phone posted the largest year on year growth. OK so most of that came from buying Nokia, which accounts for about 93% of all WP sales but either way Microsoft are slowly but surely starting to gain traction and are pulling ahead in the race for 3rd place.  There’s still time to get Windows 8 embeded right and with that they could build a string business based platform to grow back from. Having Bill Gates back will also make a difference to them. Don’t forget that the “Gates” factor is as strong as the “Jobs” one!

5. Blackberry sized up by the undertaker

BB continued it’s slide with the largest decline it’s ever had year on year as well as putting itself up for sale, at least informally anyway! The new Android based BB10 OS simply didn’t hit, demand for its older BB7 OS held its strength in developing nations but even with a new CEO and $1B of investment I think BB is the place i’d least want to be working at right now.

So on the face of it the mobile OS market probably doesn’t give us any surprises but have a look at the currents underneath and there seems to be plenty of change going on that could impact it hugely in the year to come which will probably bring a lot more uncertainty to the market as it still tries to find it’s feet.  One thing is for sure though…We’re certainly employing a deeper multi-OS strategy to everything we do here now so everyone is rolling up their sleeves and working on multiple platforms from now on.

www.ruggedandmobile.com

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.