Android Growth -- It Just Keeps Going.

Android Growth -- It Just Keeps Going...
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The growth of Android brings to mind the Energizer Bunny -- it just keeps going and going and going.
According to a report released in early November by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Android now accounts for an astounding 81-percent of all smartphone shipments. That's up more than six-percent from last year alone, and it means that eight out of 10 smartphones worldwide are now running Android.
The IDC calls Android's "broad and deep" roster of vendors one of the primary factors in this rapid growth. And that's true -- Samsung now accounts for almost 40-percent of Android shipments.
Mobile experts agree that vendor success has helped spur Android growth to unprecedented heights.
"The explosive popularity of Samsung's recent mobiles devices, particularly the Galaxy series, has given a major boost to Android," said Arizona entreprenuer Jason Hope, mobile analyst. "For years, Android lacked a signature phone that could compete with iPhone on functionality and market appeal, so the overwhelming success of the Galaxy S3 was a game changer."
To illustrate just how explosive Samsung's growth has been, no other Android vendor even reaches double digits in total Android shipments.

For Android competitors, the last year has been a mixed bag, according to IDC numbers. Apple's iOS saw shipment volume increase from 26 to 33 million, but also saw market share drop from 14.4 to 12.9 percent, thanks to Android's overwhelming growth. Blackberry continued its downward spiral, dropping in market share from 4.1 percent to 1.7 percent, along with a shipping volume decrease of roughly 40-percent -- a far more troubling indicator of future problems. Only one competitor was an across the board success -- Windows Phone saw an increase in market share from 2 percent to 3.6 percent, and nearly tripled in shipment volume. But despite these encouraging numbers, Windows Phone remains a minor player at best. That may soon change, given Microsoft's recent acquisition of mobile giant Nokia. The integration of Nokia, which has flagged in popularity but still retains a large customer base in places like Australia, should provide Windows Phone more fuel to grow.
Android's dominance comes against a backdrop of sustained overall growth in the mobile sector -- growth that doesn't appear to be slowing down. The IDC reports that year-over-year growth in the smartphone space was nearly 40-percent.
One interesting thing to note is that Android's growth projections would likely be far higher if it weren't for the open-source nature of the system. Anyone can take Android, tweak it to their specifications, and use it to their own end.

Amazon, for example, decided to load their Kindle Fire products with their own custom, somewhat locked-down version of Android. While this may not be pure Google Android, and Google may not count it as such, it is built on the Android platform and shars many similarities.
Markets like China , where many low-end phones run a variant of Android but don't tap into Google services and therefore aren't counted, have seen exponential growth.
In the United States, market share and growth aren't nearly so skewed in favor of Android. In fact, according to the most recent quarterly data, Android has only as small edge over iOS, garnering about 54-percent of the overall market.
So, other than relationships with marketing-savvy vendors like Samsung, what's driving this explosive growth? Price is one key factor.
Because they are inexpensive and open source, Android phones are everywhere in developing countries. The replacement cycle for these cheap smartphones is far more accelerated than with more expensive models, which drives growth figures even higher.
After years of resistance, Apple decided to make a gesture toward the value market with the introduction of the iPhone 5C. Though the iPhone 5C serves as Apple's budget offering, it remains far more expensive than comparable Android smartphones. This will likely continue to inhibit the growth of iOS in developing markets.

While Apple's position in the tablet market remains much stronger relative to Android, the popularity of cheaper, Android-based tablets has slowly eroded Apple's once overwhelming market share.
Though Android's skyrocketing growth has continued unabated, there are several issues to watch. While inexpensive Android products have provided smartphone and tablet access to an underserved market, the proliferation of cheap, sometimes unreliable devices could harm Android's reputation with users. While Android's flexible, open source nature is perhaps its best characteristic, it could also prove problematic if the market is flooded with substandard products. Brand protection must remain a key consideration for Android moving forward.

WRITTEN BY :Amy Taylor is a technology and business writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. She has taken that knowledge and experience and brought that to her unique writing capabilities. She really enjoys new business related issues that are tied directly to technology.FIND OUT HOW TO WRITE FOR US
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