Google's Android: Undisputed leader of smartphone OS
If you just look at the number of people using Android phones in the world, it would appear that Apple's iOS has only a few takers, but a look at the amount of money people spend on Apple's App Store paints a different picture.
It has been 12 years since Steve Jobs introduced iOS - then called iPhone OS - in 2007. Google bought Android Inc, a startup founded by Andy Rubin, at an estimated cost of $50 million in 2005. The first phone running the Android operating system - T-Mobile G1 (aka the HTC Dream) - hit the market in 2008, more than a year after the first iPhone.
Now the International Data Corporation (IDC), which forecasts worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 1.9 per cent in 2019 to 1.375 billion units, down from 1.402 billion in 2018, predicts that the share of the Android operating system in the worldwide smartphone market will grow to 87.1 per cent in 2023 from 86.7 per cent in 2019.
The share of iOS which take pride on the security system that it has built, on the other hand, is likely to go down to 12.9 per cent in 2023 from 13.3 per cent in 2019.
Data from StatCounter show that the market share of iOS in India is at third place, behind Android, and KaiOS that powers a new category of smart feature phones.
While Android has over 91.5 per cent share in India, iOS has over 2.6 per cent share as of July 2019. KaiOS has over 4.3 per cent share in India which has fairly good number of smart feature phone users.
The growth of Android share this year has largely been due to launch of several new models. The launch of a handful of 5G devices in the second half of this year would further boost the share of Android, according to IDC.
IDC predicts that 2019 is set to be another challenging year for new iPhone shipments with volumes expected to drop to 183.5 million, down 12.1 per cent year over year.
However, selling more of its official refurbished iPhones will help it maintain or expand its iOS installed base.
While Android has captured a far greater share of the worldwide smartphone market, Apple's App Store has continued to corner a greater share of the global app revenue.
During the first half of 2019, the world's App Store and Google Play users generated a combined $39.7 billion in spending on mobile apps and games, registering 15.4 per cent growth compared to the spending in the first half of 2018, according to a report from mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
Out of this $39.7 billion, a massive $25.5 billion was spent on Apple's App Store, a growth of 13.2 per cent year-over-year, according to the report, which disclosed that Google Play's estimated gross revenue stood at $14.2 billion for the first half of this year.
Today, it is estimated that there are about 5.1 billion unique mobile subscribers and only about half of them have smartphones.
With the prices of smartphones coming down, the migration from feature phones to smartphones is expected to continue across the world, offering the smartphone operating systems a huge opportunity to tap.