back to article Standing out from the crowd with an Android phone? You and 90 per cent of the market

Android smartphones currently account for nine tenths of what analysts say is now strictly a two-brand market. Strategy Analytics estimates that over the third quarter of 2016, Android handsets claimed precisely 87.5 per cent of all shipments, the highest market share ever for the Google-backed operating system. Apple was …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Numbers of handsets is not everything

    Apple probably made more profit from their 40 odd million devices than the rest of the industry put together. Does not seem to get a mention in the report. I wonder why?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      Let see largest market cap in the world with a pretty sizable majority of its profits made on handsets kind of speaks for itself. So does the second largest market cap company in the world giving away handsets pretty much at cost loaded with trojan apps that can't be uninstalled without voiding the warranty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      "Does not seem to get a mention in the report. I wonder why?"

      Probably because the report is about market share, not profits. Like it or not, Android currently has 87.5% of the market, regardless of whether individual manufacturers are making doodly squat.

    3. Donn Bly

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      Perhaps because Market Share and Profit are two different, often unrelated, metrics and not every study needs to study or report on both?

      Manufacturer's profit is a meaningless metric if you are a developer looking to set priorities on how you are going to allocate resources. If 87% of the market is Android, then I am going to do an Android app first and the remaining 13% of going to be an afterthought. I could care less which phone manufacturer is making more money, as it has absolutely zero impact on those decisions.

      If you are an administrator responsible for deciding which devices you are going to support, or trying to project what types of devices are going to be coming in the door, then you look at market penetration of the devices not how much profit is being made by the manufacturer.

      Profit is as meaningless as the color of the aftermarket case the user has slapped onto the handset.

      1. Snowy

        Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything @Donn Bly

        Yes but if you want profits it is best to follow the money part of the market not the cheaper end.

      2. Dr Scrum Master

        Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

        I could care less which phone manufacturer is making more money

        It's nice to know that you could.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

          >I could care less which phone manufacturer is making more money

          Sure Kin owners (all three of them) thought the same thing.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

        I couldN'T care less which phone manufacturer is making more money, as it has absolutely zero impact on those decisions.


    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does not seem to get a mention in the report. I wonder why?

      El Reg asked them to comment, but got no reply?

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      "Does not seem to get a mention in the report. I wonder why?"

      Probably because they only account for ~10% of the market? You think that might have anything to do with it?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      They need to high RRP to give out press and influencer freebie handsets...

    7. itzman

      Re: Numbers of handsets is not everything

      Apple probably made more profit from their 40 odd million devices than the rest of the industry put together. Does not seem to get a mention in the report. I wonder why?

      No one likes to be reminded that they were suckered into buying overpriced junk?

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Profit and Apple

    Only matters to Apple Shareholders, and indirectly to how much the buyer is over paying.

    To shops, accessory makers, IT support, App developers, Malvertisers, black hats, people wanting support, it's market share.

    Perhaps people are realising that Apple is almost x2 overpriced for what you get. Despite having only 13% of market, they have maybe about 70% of the profits. It's not due to especially clever manufacturing, though the glue helps reduce cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Profit and Apple

      >Perhaps people are realising

      that an unsolicited MMS that can root your phone is garbage and praying your phone will ever get an update is garbage on fire in a dumpster.

  3. Planty Bronze badge

    Somone else

    That clearly has trouble differentiating between a brand of phone and a mobile phone operating system...

    Oh dear...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Somone else

      And anybody that buys a phone from a company that doesn't have control over the OS on the phone is asking for a big bag of hurt (unless you buy out of warranty cheap and go 3rd party rom route).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There's a lesson for future business strategists.

    And how did Microsoft plus Nokia get to equal zero?

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: Blackberry

      Would be an interesting lesson. The product actually was pretty good. Pretty pretty good.

      Got myself a Q10 this summer (when they were on sale for 99EUR) and it feels like bringing a combat shotgun to a pillowfight. This QNX thing just works, and the touch is more precise than on the company issued 5S. The built-in android emulation eats battery, though, I rarely get three days out of a charge.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Blackberry

        And of course 'BlackBerry' means two separate things. There's BB10/QNX, and then there's the Android based ones.

        BlackBerry must be continually annoyed to be dismissed as irrelevant when they have what is probably the best spin of Android out there.

  5. DownUndaRob

    and the other .1%??

    87.5% of phones are running the Android platform.

    12.1% are Apple

    00.3% the rest



    So what are the other 0.1%??

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: and the other .1%??

      A rounding difference? Eg it might actually be 87.54+12.13+0.33.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and the other .1%??

      They're probably "just phones" without all the android/apple apps and games and fluff.

  6. naive

    Is market share relevant ?

    Until the early 70's the VW beetle had by far the largest market share, only a few weird people would argue the beetle was a better car than a Mercedes S-Class of the time, which looked like alien spaceships to me when watching them buzz by with their big tail lights, sitting in the back of my parents beetle which was battling to make a 110 km/h against the wind.

    Maybe the market share discussion between $100,- Androids and $700,- IPhones is like arguing that a $4000,- 73 beetle 1303S is the better car compared to a $ 30,000,- Mercedes 450SE

    1. Ozymandias

      Re: Is market share relevant ?

      An S-Class is only better than a Beetle if you can afford it, and afford to run it. The definition of quality is fitness for purpose. So for a middle income Asian Android is usually better than Apple, but if you're a high income Californian the money isn't such a big part of the equation.

  7. DerekCurrie

    Apple's Market Share Of Smartphone Profits Is 92%

    As of a July estimate by the Wall Street Journal, Apple's market share of smartphone profits is 92%.

    I always wonder why that particular statistic is left out of articles such as this one. It portrays great meaning as well as Apple's success.

    Then add to that the quality question. Which smartphones are the best designed, built and supported? I don't have to answer that question. We all know.

    Security? Compared to Apple's iOS devices, every Android device is a malware magnet. Users can't even count on apps at the Google Play Store to be free of malware due to the security vetting of apps being so poor. This is Google who run the famous Project Zero that finds security flaws in everyone else's software. But Google does a terrible job finding malware infesting their own Android app store.

    Then there is the impossible-to-kill fragmentation of the Android market that forces users to have insecure devices that cannot be updated to the latest, safest versions of Android.

    You buy cheap and you get cheap. Cheap stuff gets great market share! But you end up paying for it after the initial cost. No thank you.

    1. DerekCurrie

      Re: Apple's Market Share Of Smartphone Profits Is 92%

      Apologies! Make that 104% Apple market share of profit!

      How can that be? So many companies making losses on smartphones.

      Apple iPhone Grabs 104% Of Smartphone Industry Profit In Q3

      "...Apple was No. 1 by a mile in smartphone operating profit in Q3. Among major vendors, Samsung was No. 2 in smartphone profits with a tiny 0.9% share, he said. Money-losers in the smartphone business last quarter included LG and HTC, Long said...."

  8. MonkeyJuice

    If only they'd actually cease training.

    As a freelance developer, market share means nothing to me. Developing an App costs money, and those who invest in these hope to get their money back. Even if Apple's market share drops to 1%, if fanbois are 101x more likely to whip out their credit cards, then iOS is still the only sane business decision from my clients point of view, and thus we all still have to put up with Apple crap.

  9. Cody

    This is Windows all over again.

    Apple will stabilize at single digit market share, basically becoming an irrelevancy. A sort of Louis Vuitton of phones, as it is of computing.

    Same thing all over again - initial lead, keep it to your own hardware, other guys OS catches up, lose share.... get irrelevant.

    Fans then argue share doesn't matter....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Dominates All!

    Domination is not about selling phones or even making money. Domination is about building a cult-like following around your brand. Apple has been doing this for years with tremendous success. Microsoft never really got there - they have some enthusiasts, but even those folks pretty much skipped Vista and Windows 8 unless they happened to buy a new machine and couldn't downgrade for whatever reason.

    Google has finally achieved cult status. Granted, they were a bit underhanded in how they did it. Android was going to be the open mobile OS... fully open-source, install software from anywhere. Do. What. You. Want. "Don't be evil! Freedom for the masses (we just want the search revenue)!" End-users jumped on board - you got replaceable batteries, MicroSD card memory expansion, a million open app stores (or just download whatever from a web site), and more source code than you could read. Plus, the top-end devices were a couple hundred dollars less, and with more CPU cores! And Megapixels! And RAMs! OEMs got to play in the smartphone market without having to develop a mobile OS, get app developers on board, etc. Plus they and the carriers got to load up the phones with whatever crapware they wanted. Winning!

    Fast-forward the better part of a decade later. Turns out that security is a big deal on a mobile device that's always connected to the Internet. And pushing out patches involves work. And those patches have to go through Google, the OEM, and the Carrier. So they got pushed out kinda sorta maybe eventually, if all of the parties involved still felt like supporting the device... which is not something they were accustomed to. They almost never did it with the old flip phones and candy bars, unless it was something that affected the carrier network. And then the end-user had to figure out the update process. The techies did, and maybe they took care of a few friends and family, but everyone else was screwed. But whatever. You still had replaceable batteries, upgradeable memory, phones where you could replace the OS, and the freedom to run whatever apps you want.

    Then it turns out that governments have an appetite for the data in your phone the way vampires have an appetite for blood. Google loudly and boldly announces "Don't worry! We've got this! We'll encrypt the shit out of your cat photos!" Six months later they mutter into a few forums "Umm... you know guys... turns out encryption is kinda hard. And slow. So... ummm... we'll cover a few new models, but the rest of you can... just buy another phone. Mostly. As long as it's expensive enough."

    In the mean time, it turns out that the ignorant unwashed masses don't care about removable batteries and expandable storage. And they don't really want to install a custom OS build. The savages! So these features slowly started disappearing in the top-end models, and prices for those models went up to parity with the fruitier competition... and occasionally beyond. Security has gotten a bit better, but it's still very much in "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" territory. And let's be honest: the writing is on the wall for open app usage.

    For the carriers and OEMs... well, it turns out that customers don't like crapware and random user experiences. So vendors that insisted on those are being squeezed out of the playing field. And speaking of vendors... gee... umm... there's a lot of them. And their users are mostly shopping on price. So one company, Samsung, got to make a little bit of money. But it turns out that they have a problem building phones that don't reliably not autodestruct... so there went that money. And now Google is hinting that maybe it doesn't even need third-parties to build phones... they'd do a much better job themselves, thank you! After all, Microsoft did it, and see where it got.... never mind.

    So Google has basically played the greatest bait-and-switch in the history of computing. To the users they promised openness, expandability, and freedom... all at a lower price. To the manufacturers they promised profits and a level playing field in the smartphone game. And then they slowly took it all away, like putting a frog in water and slowly turning up the heat without it noticing. But they still wound up with a following that's every bit as cult-like as Apple's and that's where the real money is made. Just look at the comments and voting in this forum. Turns out that being evil was a lot more fun, and a hell of a lot more profitable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Dominates All!

      But they still wound up with a following that's every bit as cult-like as Apple's

      Don't be so hasty. Apple users believe in that company, in that brand, in the whole Apple experience. Whether others do is immaterial, but Apple users are (a) loyal, (b) happy to pay high prices for devices, apps and content, (c) confident that Apple looks after its customers. They are also happily locked in by an eco-system and app store that don't work anything like as well with Android.

      Now consider the Android user. Price conscious, unaccustomed to high prices, used to free apps. We Androids KNOW that Google don't give a toss about us. We know our devices are insecure, usually poorly supported. And that's the thing - Apple users have to give up a lot to move to the Android world, for few obvious gains. For Android users moving to Apple, any purchased Play content can still be accessed, most apps they'll lose but didn't pay for, so broadly speaking there's a smaller cost to switching out of Android. And now Google are making things worse by pushing their over-priced Pixel range. There are reasons for buying Pixel devices, but personally if I'm paying Apple money, I'd rather have an Apple product.

      My thinking is that Google are actually sowing the seeds of their eventual demise. If they won't (as appears to be the case) sort out the security and app vetting, then it is only a matter of time before something really nasty gets into the Play store. There are real nasties already there, but there reach and effectiveness has been limited. The whole device updates debacle is a continuing slow-mo car crash.. Likewise Google's free and easy approach to privacy doesn't look a compelling bet for the longer term.

      I don't use Apple devices, I don't much care for the company. I've always used Android smartphones, I'm typing this on a Chromebook. But my loyalty to Google is non-existent - if I could get a decent, alternative phone OS at a reasonable price I'd drop Android like a stone.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical brain dead manufacturers with razor margins doing what the do best - LOSE MONEY

    It is very simple. Do the OPPOSITE of what Microsoft/RIM/Apple and Android have all tried and failed at.

    1. Communicate. Answer emails.

    2. Be open and welcoming. Allow proper access to hardware (hackable) + driver source/specs/instruction set so people can do interesting things with only token barriers, including API/access to the the RIL and lower level functions, like BBOpen

    3.Sell a phone with bands enabled or configurable for USA/Europe/Asia like the Nexus 5x.

    4. Sell phone in USA,UK and elsewhere and on Amazon for ease of access and anywhere there are smart people with time on their hands (Eastern Europe etc)

    5. Tell all the jailbreak/hacker groups + Replicant etc they can play and make money with commercial apps. Let them run wild.

    6. Tell and/or make available to industry groups that need a general purpose computer with 4G who will put it to uses they never could have imagined, like cardiac monitor, aviation maps, restaurant ordering, embedded controller, remote camera, etc

    7. You will have a thriving ecosystem in about 12 months.

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