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How Android put smartphones in every pocket

OS for the masses

OS for the masses

Apple may have pioneered the smartphone but it's Google's Android operating system that brought it to the masses. While Apple maintains end-to-end control of its products, Google offers Android to phone manufacturers for free. The free OS, alongside growing middle-class markets in Asia and Africa and ambitious manufacturers, has been the primary driver behind the ballooning smartphone industry.

OS race

OS race

On August 9, China’s biggest phone manufacturer, Huawei, threw it hat into the ring by announcing its own opensource OS, Harmony. As the OS race hots up, a look at the global influence of Android and how it got there.

Why Android is everywhere

Why Android is everywhere

* Rather than monetise its OS, Google offered it out free, which kick started its global spread.
* Though Android is open source, Google makes up for it by attaching its widespread online advertising machinery to every Android device.
* The growing middle class in China and Samsung’s adoption of Android across several price tiers further pushed the OS into the mainstream.
* Nine out of every 10 smartphones sold in China are Android.

Getty Images
OS market share

OS market share

Global smartphone sales have been on the decline for the past three years and though nearly half the world’s population has a smartphone reaching the other half is a tall order.

Since Google acquired Android 14 years ago, the OS has grown at a searing pace, obliterating competition along the way to the top.

Reaching the top

Reaching the top

Google bought Android for $50 million in 2005. Apple launched its first iPhone two years later and selling over 6 million units worldwide. First Android devices entered the market in 2008 a time where Nokia's Symbian and RIM's BlackBerry OS were the most popular with 52% and 17% of the market respsectively. Motorola, HTC were the early adopters of Android.

In 2009, Samsung launches its first Android device. iPhones make up about 15% smartphone sales. Android, the sixth-most popular OS has almost 4% of the market share. In 2012, Android's market share surpasses iOS. Four Android devices are sold for every iPhone sold.

By 2018, the market expanded to 1.4 billion devices yearly and iPhones still make up 15% of sales and about 80% of smartphone sales are Android devices.


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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service