Why Android And iOS Are The Only Smartphone Platforms That Matter

Further proof that for developers, smartphone platform choices really comes down to the two main players: in 2014, Android accounted for 81 per cent of smartphone sales, and Apple another 15 per cent.

Picture: Josh Dionne

Here's the data from Strategy Analytics. Yes, that's one billion Android phones sold in 2014:

Platform Unit sales 2015 (millions) Market share (%)
Android 1042.7 81.2%
iOS 192.7 15.0%
Windows Phone 38.8 3.0%
Other 9.3 0.7%

Figures from Australia suggest much the same pattern, though there's a slightly higher proportion for "others". As Apple's recent figures show, having 15 per cent of the market can make for a mighty profitable business, but as an individual developer, it's a lot harder to make money.

Strategy Analytics [via Business Insider]


    Don't underestimate Firefox OS - it's shitty at the moment, but it's growing fast, and it has a good chance of capturing the "don't sell my data" zeitgeist.

    Android makers SHIPPED 1042.7 million phones, most of which are low end devices sitting in warehouses or on shelves.

    iOS SOLD 192.7 million phones that are in end-user hands.

    Suggest you read the original article a bit more closely. Apple only reports sold phones, not shipped.

    Last edited 03/02/15 1:18 pm

      The article says "Apple iOS shipped 192.7 million smartphones worldwide in 2014"

      So over half a billion devices are sitting in warehouses or on shelves? Genius to just keep making them, then.

      Perhaps a little less Koolaid before posting might be a good idea.

    So IOS matters because it's a mere 5.4x less popular than Android
    But Windows Phone doesn't matter because it's a massive 5.0x less popular than IOS

    I'm looking forward to hearing how the metric gets justified :)

      I agree. While 38.8 million may not be as significant as 192.7 million or 1042.7 million, it's still 38.8 MILLION.

        Raw numbers are illusory because your net is going to catch only a sliver of that 38 million. How many of these users are in your market? How many are likely to pay for your app? If big banks like Chase or Bank of America are culling their WP apps, then the Venn diagram overlap between Americans/WP users/customers of these banks must be tiny.

        If I made a game, how many are 1) WP users, 2) like my game, and 3) willing to pay for it. This applies to every platform, but WP is doubly hamstrung because it has relatively few sales, and most of those are in low and middle-income countries.

        Last edited 22/02/15 6:24 pm

      iOS matters because its phones are high-end, its users tend to spend money on apps and media, and their data is more valuable to advertisers in high-income markets. That's why it gets the most developer attention despite being 15%. Android doesn't dominate high-end like Apple does, but it's still present there and its mid-range and low-end sales are un-ignorable.

      WP has neither of these. It has relatively low sales, plus if you look at sales breakdowns, most of that comes from 2 handsets, the low-end 520 and 530. I'm not saying WP users are cheap (I bought one after all), but it's safe to say that someone who spends $50 on a phone is probably not going to be spending $50 on apps and movies. That's why it 'doesn't matter' to developers.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now