Will Android OS be able to continue its dominance in the coming years?

According to Gartner, Android dominated the worldwide smartphone OS market with a whopping share of 84.7% share in the third quarter of 2015. Likewise, International Data Corporation (IDC) also predicted that Google’s mobile operating system will hold a dominant share of the smartphone OS space for the foreseeable future. According to IDC’s press release, “Android’s market share is expected to grow slightly from 81% in 2015 to 82% over the forecast period. Despite numerous attempts by ‘alternative platforms’ to enter the market, none have proved successful.” However, many analysts believe that the massive market share of Android will be impacted by a number of factors.

5 Factors that May Impact Android’s Massive Mobile OS Market Share

1) Fragmentation

At present Android is more popular than other mobile operating systems. But the market share of individual versions of Android differs. According to the latest statistics posted on Developer.Android.com, a large percentage of users still use Android 5.0 Lollipop and Android 4.4 Kitkat. At the same time, a small percentage of users have switched to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the most recent version of the mobile OS. The fragmentation makes it essential for developers to create apps by targeting multiple versions of Google’s mobile operating system. The fragmentation may also affect the massive market share of Android in the longer run.

2) Low Penetration Rate

Many observers even feel that the penetration rate of Android has always remained low. When Apple released iOS 9, over 77% of iPhone and iPad users switched to the latest version of iOS within a short amount of time. But the penetration of Android 6.0 Marshmallow is still less than 1%. The statistics indicate the latest version of Android often fail to attract and impress users despite having several new features and enhancement. Google must take solid steps to increase the penetration of the latest and upcoming version of its mobile OS in future.

3) Emergence of Android-based Firmware

Google launched the Android Open-Source project to make it easier for device manufacturers to customize the core mobile operating system according to their specific needs. Many companies take advantage of the project, and launched new Android-based firmware. Within a short amount of time, Android-based firmware launched by companies like Cyanogen and Xiaomi accomplished remarkable adoption rate. At present, many users prefer the new Android-based firmware to core Android OS to avail additional features, enhanced performance, and better security. Hence, many analysts believe that the new Android-based firmware will affect the dominance of core Android OS in the longer run.

4) Revenue and Profitability

Android currently has a larger market share than iOS. But many reports have highlighted that iOS apps are more profitable than Android apps. Likewise, the people using iPhone and iPad are more likely to indulge in mobile commerce transactions and in-app purchases. Hence, a large percentage of Android developers prefer building apps by targeting iOS. There are also many apps that are available initially in the Apple App Store. The trend may continue in the future till most companies start using cross-platform mobile apps.

5) Google has no control over Devices

Many analysts have highlighted that Apple generates more revenue due to its tight control over different versions of iPhone and iPad. Unlike iOS, Android is open source. Despite updating Android at regular intervals, Google does not exercise any control over the devices powered by it. Hence, the mobile hardware manufacturers often make several changes to the code Android OS provided by Google. The changes made to the core Android OS sometimes results in new bugs and security issues. As Google does not have any control on the hardware, it often fails to fix the bug quickly and efficiently. That is why; iOS devices are used more widely by enterprise customers and in business environments.

However, Google will definitely take several initiatives to retain the massive worldwide market share of Android. The company will keep updating its mobile operating system with new features and enhancements. Likewise, Google will also take a number of steps to boost Android’s low penetration rate. So there are also chances that Android will keep dominating the worldwide smartphone OS market for next few years.

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