99.6 percent of new smartphones run Android or iOS

The latest smartphone figures from Gartner are out, and they paint an extremely familiar picture. Between them, Android and iOS accounted for 99.6 percent of all smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. This duopoly has been the norm for a while now (in the second quarter of 2015 this figure was 96.8 percent), but it’s always impressive — and slightly terrifying — to see how Google and Apple continue to wring the last decimal points of market share from global smartphone users.

Of the 432 million smartphones sold in the last quarter, 352 million ran Android (81.7 percent) and 77 million ran iOS (17.9 percent). But what happened to the other players? Well, in the same quarter, Windows Phone managed to round up 0.3 percent of the market, while BlackBerry was reduced to a rounding error. The once-great firm sold just over 200,000 units, amounting to 0.0 percent market share.

It’s worth noting that although, in retrospect, this state of affairs seems inescapable, for years analysts were predicting otherwise. Three years ago, Gartner said that Microsoft’s mobile OS would overtake iOS for market share in 2017, while BlackBerry would still be hanging around as a sizable (if small) player.

In this latest report, Gartner doesn’t make any future predictions, but notes that the smartphone market continues to shift. In the last quarter it grew 7 percent to 432 million units sold; Samsung’s sales fell for the second consecutive quarter, dropping 2.9 percent year on year; and the middle ground continues to be fought over by a number of successful Chinese brands (including Huawei, Oppo, and BBK). That’s just vendors jostling for position, though, and with Google and Apple’s supremely dominant market share, no one is predicting the rise of a new mobile OS for the foreseeable future.

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