KEY POINTS

  • Android is the most widely adopted mobile platform in the world. We estimate that in Q2 2015, about 83% of all smartphones shipped globally — roughly 282.5 million smartphones — were running a version of Android. By comparison, only 47.3 million smartphones running iOS shipped during the quarter.
  • Fragmentation is the platform's greatest challenge. One-third of consumers with Android devices are still using versions of the platform released in 2012 or earlier. The lack of a cohesive platform complicates app and security development.
  • Fragmentation is also Android's biggest opportunity. Consumers have more choice than ever as Android manufacturers proliferate. As of August 2015, there were more than 24,000 distinct Android devices from nearly 1,300 brands, many running on "forked" versions of the platform — operating systems built from the Android open-source kernel but which fall outside of Google's control.
  • Medium-sized smartphones with screens measuring between 3.5 and 4.9 inches are the most popular Android devices. Over half of all active Android smartphones in March 2015 fell into the medium-sized category. Phablets, the second-most popular devices, make up 36% of all Android smartphones.
  • The Google Play app store is outpacing the competition, but the influx of apps and developers to the platform is making app discovery — both paid and organic — problematic for marketers. Google Play surged past the iOS App Store in terms of app volume in 2014, but the premium on getting an app in front of consumers is driving app marketing costs on Android to record highs. 
  • The disparity between the volume of traffic Android drives and the volume of revenue it generates is troubling for the platform. iOS consumers tend to drive less traffic due to a smaller overall user base, but iOS exceeds Android in terms of total revenue, making iOS consumers more valuable to marketers and retailers.
  • Emerging markets hold the key to Android's future. Google wants to win the battle to bring the "next billion" online, but it faces competition from its own handset manufacturer and carrier partners, as well as from traditional rivals like Apple.



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