Google’s Android Begins to Top Out
Rolfe Winkler in the Wall Street Journal:
Android ran 84% of smartphones shipped globally in the third quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, down slightly from 85% in the second quarter.
“Android’s global smartphone market share is peaking,” said Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics. “Unless there is an unlikely collapse in rival Apple iPhone volumes in the future, Android is probably never going to go much above the 85% global market share ceiling.”
Market share over 80% is still an amazing figure. I’d like to see sales in emerging markets broken out, as I suspect China and perhaps India look completely different from the U.S. and E.U.
There’s also bad news for Samsung:
Meantime, Samsung Electronics Co.’s dominance over other Android handset makers is waning, reducing the threat that the Korean hardware maker could wrest more control from Google. In the third quarter of this year, 25% of smartphones shipped were Samsung devices. That figure fell from the year prior, when it stood at 35%.
Samsung ships mostly Android devices and long has been dominant among Android vendors thanks in part to big commissions it pays to smartphone distributors, particularly in emerging markets. That gives them an incentive to push its devices over rivals.
Yet Samsung is losing out to startups like China’s Xiaomi Inc., which are undercutting the Korean giant on price.
This was entirely predictable. Samsung is fundamentally a copycat company that makes second-rate products. Their hardware is mostly cheap plastic, even on high end devices, and their expertise in the most important differentiator for smartphones, software, is non-existant. Given the consumer-centric nature of the smartphone business, they’ve always been vulnerable to Apple closing off their high-end differentiators (screen size, some of Android’s software configurability), and commodity hardware vendors eating away at their low end.