The smartphone operating system market has been a two-horse race for a while now, with Google's Android leading the pack and Apple's iOS at No. 2. That's perhaps more true than ever, according to data from Gartner, which puts the combined Android-iOS global market share at 99.6 percent.
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That's up from an already impressive 98.4 percent a year earlier, Gartner said. But Android is clearly in the lead with 81.7 percent market share followed by iOS with 17.9 percent.
That leaves little room for rivals; Microsoft's mobile OS has only 0.3 percent of the market (down from 1.1 percent a year ago) while BlackBerry's share dropped to zero (from 0.2 percent a year ago). Yes, that's right: BlackBerry's share of the smartphone OS market in the fourth quarter of 2016 was literally 0.0 percent, according to Gartner.
Smartphone vendors together sold 432 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 7 percent increase from the same period in 2015, the market research firm said. Breaking it down by vendor, Apple was able to jump past Samsung to secure the No. 1 spot.
"The last time Apple was in the leading position was in the fourth quarter of 2014, when its sales were driven by its first ever large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus," Gartner Research Director Anshul Gupta said in a statement. This time, Apple posted strong iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sales, and "also benefited from the weakened demand for Samsung's smartphones," Gupta added.
Thanks in part to its exploding Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Samsung's smartphone sales declined 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
"This is the second consecutive quarter in which Samsung has delivered falling quarterly smartphone sales," Gupta said. "Samsung's smartphone sales started to drop in the third quarter of 2016, and the decision to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 slowed down sales of its smartphone portfolio in the fourth quarter. The withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 left a gap in its large-screen phone range."
For 2016 overall, smartphone vendors sold nearly 1.5 billion handsets, a 5 percent increase compared to 2015.