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back to article IDC: Android, iOS now own 91.1% of global smartphone sales

The latest data on smartphone sales from analyst house IDC shows an increase in the reach of the global Android/iOS operating system duopoly, with RIM and Microsoft left squabbling over the scraps. "The dominance of Android and Apple reached a new watermark in the fourth quarter," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's …

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Silver badge
Linux

Linux brings up the rear again?

But I thought Android was Linux? This penguin can't win for losing.

It's because Billy Gates is a better kernel hacker than Linus, isn't it?

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Re: Linux brings up the rear again?

Android isn't "Linux" if one actually means "GNU/Linux", and that's what most people do mean when referring to desktop OSs like Ubuntu etc. Maemo was/is a full GNU/Linux I believe.

Android is (or almost is) "Linux" in terms of it's kernel. Not being a l33t uber-hacker, I'm a bit fuzzy on how closely the Android and Linux kernels actually are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux brings up the rear again?

There is andoid code being added to the mainline kernel.

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Re: Linux brings up the rear again?

The BigYin:

The kernel in android was a fork, but much if not all has been remerged back with the main kernel tree.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux brings up the rear again?

"Android isn't "Linux" if one actually means "GNU/Linux", and that's what most people do mean when referring to desktop OSs like Ubuntu etc."

It depends on the conversation. A few weeks ago someone said "Linux" is really bad on tablets and 100% of commenters shat a brick saying "Android is Linux, period!!!!11"

It was clear he was talking about GNU/Linux and Ubuntu and all that, but he failed to say "GNU/Ubuntu/Gnome/Linux/X/etc." in every reference. Bastard.

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Lies, damn lies, statistics...

and then there's IDC.

If they don't even know that Android is Linux based, then how do we believe anything they make up.

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Meh

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics...

I'm no in league with any brand, but you raise a valid question. It does show strongly that a lot people do not know what OS runs their mobile phone.

So, Linux now runs 70.8% of the game?

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Devil

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics...

>"So, Linux now runs 70.8% of the game?"

91.1% really. iPhone users are tethered to the Linux-powered Google cloud. Unless, of course, they want to take their chances with Apple Maps and die of heat stroke in the Australian desert....

Satan - because 45 degrees celsius in Murray Sunset National Park equals a hellish 113 degrees farenheit.

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Separate figures for Android and Linux

IDC know that Android uses a Linux kernel, but want a name for the Linux based phones that are not Android. Moblin (Intel Linux) + Maemo (Nokia Linux) -> MeeGo (Strangled by Elop because it was outselling Windows). Tizen (Samsung + Huawei + others version of Moblin) will be on phones this year as will Sailfish (Ex-Nokia MeeGo developers Linux OS for phones). Also on the way are Linux phone OS's based on Firefox and Ubuntu.

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IDC is not as ignorant as you think

Have you read their report or a summary of it? It makes a clear distinction between Android and Linux outside Android.

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Pint

Re: IDC is not as ignorant as you think

Weren't IDC the outfit that forecast WP7 to launch out of the gate with 50 million first year sales? How did that work out?

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WTF?

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics ... a lot people do not know what OS runs their mobile phone

Do people have to really care or know? Just like a car engine, you turn it on and drive, you don't have to know it's inner workings.

Likewise, people don't give a hoot about OS other than how many Apps there are; and the fact that iOS6.1.1 sucks batteries fast. And Android is freedom where as iOS is jail.

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Re: IDC is not as ignorant as you think

MIKEL, your comment is a non sequitur, and does not change the _FACT_ that the IDC report did make that important distinction. A fact is a fact, even if IDC has had a spotty history of prognostication.

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FAIL

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics...

It's amazing how many people, in their ignorance and blind antipathy towards Apple products, are willing to make Apple maps the culprit, when in fact it was Google maps!

http://www.slashgear.com/australian-police-issue-warning-about-google-maps-13260906/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics...

From YOUR ref.

Curiously enough, a few days after police in Australia warned that Apple Maps was sending drivers off into a waterless, scorching desert-like national park, another Australian authority, this time in Colac, has issued a warning about Google Maps. The issue at hand seems far less severe, however, and Google has a reasonable explanation for why Maps sends drivers where it does.

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Silver badge
Linux

Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics ... a lot people do not know what OS runs their mobile phone

"Just like a car engine, you turn it on and drive, you don't have to know it's inner workings."

It helps if you know whether to put diesel or petrol "apps" in it though.

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What if Android did not exist…?

I find myself wondering. Android is a very good choice for most manufacturers; they get an OS for free, with a large ecosystem of apps (yeah, yeah, some fragmentation). What would have happened if Android did not exist? Would Symbian be the standard? Would RIM still have 30% market share? Would Microsoft stand a chance? Or maybe Samsung would rule the same way it does now, but with Bada…?

I have to say that as a user, I am still thankful for Android. Even if there is less choice of OS, compatibility is king. I prefer to have a few large dominant OSes than a smattering of incompatible systems. (Typed on iPhone)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What if Android did not exist…?

If Android didn't exist, then iOS would probably still have a majority of the market. They would be becoming increasingly entrenched, and we would be on our way to a hellish tech dystopia, about 1000x worse than Microsoft in the 90s, where one company makes the dominant hardware that will only run their tightly locked down, crippled by design OS, and only allow you to run apps that go through their store, taking a 30% cut.

Luckily, most of the world are now on phones that they can unlock and run a variety of OSes on, the dominant OS open source which means people can (and have) forked it, and there are a variety of manufacturers making the hardware.

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Re: What if Android did not exist…?

I highly doubt iOS could ever become that deeply entrenched, their phones have such high price points. The vast majority of the world doesn't want to spend that kind of money on a phone.

Feature phones are still selling in the same number as smartphones, but dropping rapidly. This is mainly due to the swathes of sub-£100 Android phones.

Thing is, these budget smartphones don't run apps so well, yet they account for a huge portion of the market. People don't buy apps for them, because all they ever really wanted was a phone that did email with a touchscreen. They may as well be feature phones. Yet they are still classed in these smartphone figures, so it is somewhat skewed.

My guess is if Android didn't exist, Microsoft wouldn't have dropped Windows Mobile and they would have focused their efforts on developing it for touch screen.

Fact is, Windows Mobile died because manufacturers dropped it rather than users. It was very popular in 2007, almost 50% of the US market IIRC. But Android is a far more compelling OS for them, they don't have to pay Microsoft a $25 per device fee, so it means more profit in the low end market. They can brand it to give them USP.

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Hard to say

I'd say the market would be more fragmented. Maybe Windows Phone would have had a chance gathering some of the "don't want Apple" crowd, while Apple would gather the "don't want Microsoft" people.

Android is just a huge pot for people who don't want any of those.

I'm not sure if Android was _the_ game changer. It's just the "cheapest" (regarding license costs) of the mobile touch and slide OSes.

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Re: What if Android did not exist…?

"If Android didn't exist, then iOS would probably still have a majority of the market."

IOS never had a majority of the market. Although I agree with the rest of your statement - I'm glad something like Android did win :)

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Bronze badge

Nokia gifted most of their Symbian sales to Android.

Quite how they expected to retain Symbian fans, I totally fail to see, when the OS obviously targets the iOS market.

But of course don't Microsoft get a nice patent income from Android, that they didn't from Symbian?

They probably do better from that than pushing out No-Win with a partial (?) subsidy.

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Pint

Re: Nokia gifted most of their Symbian sales to Android.

Microsoft (SB anyway) was telling us they had loads of patents that Android and Linux infringed long before they slipped Elop into Nokia. Those have never seen the light of day

Now MS has the Nokia patents, or at least has a willing servant who has. Google bought Motorola apparently for their patent holdings.

Some gullible or small companies may be paying "licence" money to MS but is Samsung? Will they?

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Dominant is Android - not a duopoly

I do get annoyed at this constant myth of putting iphone on the same level as Android. The breakdown is Android at 70%, iphone at 20%. That's Android dominant, with everything else making up the remainder.

Also note that Q4 results are always better for iphone, shortly after a new release - more generally, it's more like Andoid 75%, iphone 15%. Consider that the gap between smaller platforms like BlackBerry and iphone is *smaller* than the gap between iphone and Android, either by proportion or absolute numbers. It's playing the classic trick of "let's only count platforms that only sell at least as much as Apple" (when Apple was 3rd, 4th, 5th place it was still acknowledged in the list of important platforms; look at mp3 players, and the media will say how it's only Apple that are dominant, and 2nd place is ignored; look at desktops, and all we hear is the "Windows and Mac duopoly" - but you can bet they'd still include Apple if ChromeOS overtakes them...)

It's particularly annoying that we never heard these kind of stories all the years that Symbian was number one (as late as 2011). We never heard stories about the "duopoly" of Symbian and Android, instead the media just went on about iphone, or perhaps iphone and Android, all the time.

The smartphone market was dominated by Symbian, then Android and Symbian, and now Android. Not "Android and iphone".

Plus there's the whole problem that "smartphone" is completely ill-defined anyway - the IDC ignores Nokia's new low end Asha smartphone platform (which is selling more than WP!) - it makes no sense to not include that, when the original iphone couldn't even run apps, but was counted a "smartphone". The actual mobile market is much bigger. Given the "smartphone" here just means "runs one of an arbitrary set of OSs", it's a bit of a pointless stat to say "This arbitrary set of OSs is dominated by only some of them".

Meanwhile, my arbitrary set which includes S40 and iphone is dominated by S40.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dominant is Android - not a duopoly

iOS has about 40-50% of the US market, and most tech sites are US based. Also, most tech journalists are Apple fanboys, as they fit into the category of people who like gadgets, but aren't very good with computers.

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Anonymous Coward

"It seems the Apple Maps fiasco did little to deter buyers."

Far to early to claim that. Most iPhone owners I know are still very upset over their shit maps, and plan on getting an Android phone when their contract is up, they have finally worked it out, that most of the apps they want to use on their phones are Google apps and services anyway, and the latest Google phones are really good (S3, Nexus4 etc).

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