We’ve talked quite a bit about smartphones in terms of form factor, browser support, and operating systems. If this new chart from Statista is correct, then soon there won’t be much talk about operating systems. There really will only be two choices: Android or iOS.
The play on words for duopoly is almost more a monopoly when you see that Android has 81.5% of the market, up from 23.3% just five years ago (some other studies claim it to be as high as 93%). Even the share of iOS has decreased some from 15.6% to 14.8 in the same time period. Most notably are the tiny percentages for BlackBerry and “other” phones. In 2010, the “other” category dominated the landscape. Not so any more.
It’s really a strange thing how Android has become pretty much everything to everyone (except iOS users). There are practically as many different versions out there as there are smartphones. Since Android is open source, smartphone manufacturers can create anything they want from a low cost device for developing markets to a high end model to compete with the iPhone. That fact helped it literally take the world by storm, pushing virtually every competitor out of the way.
Windows phones still hang on by a thread, though a much smaller one than they had back in 2010. The small percentage of BlackBerry devices left will likely disappear too, as the company has shifted focus to software rather than hardware sales. They are now supporting Android, iOS and Windows devices on their servers. The company’s claim to fame of being a business oriented environment is what they hope will save them. They are working to include those features on the remaining successful smartphone platforms.
Goodbye to “other” choices of operating systems. And it might be the end of Windows phones too. Some are predicting the Windows 10 phone (referring to the next iteration to be released along with Windows 10) is dead before arrival. It just won’t be able to crack into the good thing Android has going. It’s a sure thing though, that iOS won’t be going anywhere. Apple users are loyal. There will always be some portion that buys an iPhone because it’s an Apple product.
The good news for anyone streaming mobile video, is that it should get easier. You still have to consider screen size and browsers, but the variety of browsers will decrease. Few operating systems means fewer options to develop other browsers. Until something changes of course. Which in the technology sector is the one thing you can always count on.