Android and iOS have been the two dominant mobile operating systems for close to a decade now. Where did everyone else go?
For a few years, at least, it seemed that a third OS could challenge for a legitimate share of the market. There was BlackBerry’s platform, which helped pioneer the space and held significant market share until Apple’s iPhone launched and eroded BlackBerry’s stake year after year. Then came Microsoft’s effort with Windows Phone, which gained some momentum for a couple years before fading into obscurity.
A new report from research firm Gartner shows that Android and iOS are the only true options now; their competitors have been vanquished. Combined, the two systems account for more than 99% of the worldwide smartphone market.
Windows Mobile? A paltry 0.6%. And BlackBerry? A staggeringly minuscule 0.1%. These platforms are far out of contention—and their shares are actually still trending downward.
Microsoft knows this. The company still makes Windows phones (for now) but has shifted its focus to improving its suite of apps on Android and iOS. Meanwhile BlackBerry now runs Android software on most new devices.
Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 344 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 4.3 percent increase over the same period in 2015, according to Gartner. Overall sales of mobile phones contracted by 0.5 percent with only five vendors from the top 10 showing growth.