Smartphone OS Share: Android Tops, iOS Surging

Smartphone OS Share: Android Tops, iOS Surging
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The success of iPhone 6 led to a healthy chunk of market share for Apple’s iOS in 2014, but in terms of total phones shipped, it’s still very much an Android world.

Picture: Getty Images

Gartner’s figures for total smartphone shipments in 2014 show that while Apple had a massively successful year — and shipped more phones than any other vendor in the fourth quarter — it’s still a smaller player in volume terms compared to Android, which accounted for over a billion phones. Here are the sales by mobile platform (which is the most useful metric for developers), compared to 2013:

Operating system 2014 units (000s) 2014 market share 2013 units (000s) 2013 market share
Android 1,004,675 80.7% 761,288 78.5%
iOS 191,426 15.4% 150,786 15.5%
Windows 35,133 2.8% 30,714 3.2%
BlackBerry 7,911 0.6% 18,606 1.9%
Other OS 5,745 0.5% 8,327 0.9%
Total 1,244,890 100.0% 969,721 100.0%

Apple’s strong fourth quarter give it a much healthier share of new shipments than had been evident three months ago.

The lesson for developers remains the same: right now, Android and iOS are the platforms that matter if you want to build a profitable application. Microsoft will be hoping its universal apps approach will boost the fortunes of Windows Phone, but the impact of that won’t be clear until Windows 10 appears later this year. And one other thing to note? Smartphones account for two-thirds of total sales, which means there are still a lot of call-and-text-only devices being sold.



  • The ‘in the world’ part of the story is important.

    There are a lot of developing countries getting into smartphones, and price points need to be low to get decent sales. You can get relatively full-featured Android phones for under $100, whereas the average price of an iPhone is closer to $700, making it available to only a small part of the population.

    It’s a very different story in more developed countries like Europe, the US and Australia. Android is still ahead, but not by the kind of margin shown in this story.

  • typical Apple worshipping.

    iOS LOSES market share yet is reported as “surging”.

    Then there’s the misreporting of terms such as “vendor” and “OS platform” (neither Google nor Apple make their phones, other OEM’s do).

    Where Apple’s iOS only sold ~40 million units compared to Android’s 239 Million units.

    If iOS’ 40 million units is “Surging” then what superlative would you use to describe a company selling more than 6X that number ?

    for shame Lifehacker.

      • who’s “hating” ? this is a rational discussion about poor reporting.

        Please don’t let your own emotional insecurities lead you to overreact. This is clearly a bad article choosing to ignore it’s own premise in favour of supporting Apple.

        From starting with “iPhone 6 led to a healthy chunk of market share …” in a time when it’s market share went DOWN, through 3 paragraphs of more Apple commentary.

        Despite iOS losing share (losing is “healthy” ?) all you can do is talk about Apple, when their share drops and the leader gains 6x unit sales and increases it’s lead by 2.2%.

        It’s embarrassing how the tame Apple press fawns over itself to give Apple free advertising, pretending it’s somehow a two-horse race.

        The reality is one horse is meters from the finish line, while the rest are barley meters from the start line.

        Just because you’re #2 doesn’t mean you’re close to #1.

        It’s simply bad statistical reporting, and is summarised beautifully by this:

      • Apple contract Foxconn to make iOS products.

        Companies like LG, Samsung, etc make their own products. I.E. they OWN their own factories.

        Know the difference.

        • LG and Samsung do assemble their products from parts manufactured by 3rd parties. It is really no different to apple using 3rd parties to assemble their products. Apple just use a higher percentage of 3rd party labour.

          • Don’t be facetious, you know exactly what we’re talking about.

            Companies like LG and Samsung own nearly everything in their phones, from the batteries, the screens, the processors, the memory, and even the factories.

            Apple own ZERO.

            Don’t even pretend they’re the same scale and “no different” when describing which companies make their own products, because you sound as dumb as someone saying humans are “really no different” to other animals because we all have arms, legs and a head.

          • The Foxconn factories that make apple products are built and manned specifically to make apple products nothing else. It is no different from LG building a factory.
            Sure there pay slips don’t say apple Inc. But they are working exclusively for Apple. Not much different to a company else where renting a building and staffing it with labour hire from a 3rd party recruiter.

          • Keep deluding yourself it’s the same, not that you’ll find a way to explain the fact Apple doesn’t own or make their own hardware as I mentioned.

            I’ll not waste anymore time with you. Goodbye.

    • iOS LOSES market share yet is reported as “surging”.

      Why can’t it be both? They sold 40 million more phones than last year, a 27% YoY increase. That surely counts as a surge?

      And yes, their market share dipped by a fraction of a percent. Both statements are correct.

      Like I said above, when you consider that the average price for an iPhone jumped up to $687 this year while Android dropped to $254, you’re looking at market shares that will vary quite a bit between developing and developed parts of the world.

      (Disclosure: have only owned Android phones since iPhone 3G)

      • as i said, if Apple is considered to be “surging”, then what shall be called something 6x that growth ?

        apparently, nothing, as it doesn’t deserve any similarly superlative description at all, because the only thing this article is doing is advertising Apple, even when Apple loses market share..

    • You know, that’s a really terrible deconstruction of this piece, which is entirely correct. Your lack of understanding is the issue, not the writing.

  • It’s a little sobering to see that WP has actually dipped in % marketshare, and it was never great to begin with. When people say that it’ll be the 3rd big boy OS, i Just can’t see it.

    • Yeah, it’s a bit sad. I just got a (really cheap) Lumia 1520 yesterday – it’s two versions behind in the OS, but it’s really slick and smooth, far more so than KK on the OnePlus One (which I really like). The 6″ screen is awesome, and I’d forgotten how good wireless charging is.

      But man, the app selection is really really lacking. Like, really REALLY lacking.

      Lovely device, though. (Nano-sim, so haven’t tried it as a phone yet.)

      • I got a 530 for $40 during a sale to play with and 1) it shocks me how much ‘phone’ you can buy with $40 these days, 2) the OS is pleasant enough. There are just no apps and even the WP apps that are, are several versions behind iOS and Android, or lacking basic features. Even Instagram, that white whale WP fans thought they finally caught, still lacks video and I don’t blame the devs.

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