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Q4 2013 Smartphone OS Results: Is Google Losing Control of the Android Ecosystem?

ABI Research reports that Android once again dominated the Q4 2013 shipment numbers for smartphone advanced operating systems with 77% market share of over 280 million smartphones shipped in Q4 2013. Nearly one billion smartphones were shipped in 2013, Android accounting for 78% across the year.

Android’s dominance is not quite as rosy as it seems though, with most of the growth coming from forked Android operating systems (137% year-on-year), mainly in China, India, and adjacent markets. Forked Android or AOSP accounted for 25% market share with 71 million unit shipments, as opposed to certified Android’s share of 52%, of a total of 77% market share.

“The growth of AOSP is significant for Android’s owner Google, because AOSP does not offer Google’s services (due to their unavailability in China), impacting Google’s ability to monetize the Android ecosystem,” comments Nick Spencer, senior practice director, mobile devices.

Apple’s iOS clawed back some market share sequentially on the back of the iPhone 5s launch, moving from 15% in Q3 2013 to 18% in Q4, but down year-on-year from 23% in Q4 2012 as emerging markets accounted for most of the growth. “Apple continues to avoid a low cost smartphone product to target these markets, focusing instead on its traditional premium segment, where growth is harder to achieve due to fast approaching market saturation,” adds Spencer.

Elsewhere, Microsoft’s Windows Phone saw steady growth of 19% sequentially and 104% year on year, but still only 4% market share in both Q4 2013 and Q3 2013. The soon-to-be formally acquired Nokia accounted for nearly 90% of shipments in Q4 2013.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Smartphones & Mobile Handsets Research Service (

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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