In two short years Android has blown up the mobile market, going from 142m users (57% market share) to 709m users in just over two years. This incredible growth is surely one of the most rapid marches to market dominance in history. iOS has also grown substantially from 75m users in Q2 2011 to 232m users in Q3 2013 (19% market share). The big loser is Symbian, which has fallen from a 20% market share to 5% in just two years. This is followed by Blackberry (down to 5% share) and Windows Mobile (6% market share), although Windows Mobile has recently started to grow again in 2013.
Interestingly, “Don’t know” has fallen from 20% market share to 5% market share, indicating how important the OS experience has become to users.
These results underline how mobile operating systems have radically reshaped the internet experience. Today, thanks to OS integration of internet services (e.g sharing via Twitter), in-built aggregation tools and the central positioning of app stores means the operating system is increasingly defining how we use the internet. This has far-reaching impacts across all aspects of digital behavior and can be crystalized in the example of the growth of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Line. No longer do we need one service to do it all;operating systems promote the usage of an increasing number of services that do one thing, and do it well.