Gartner: Android Commands 84.1% Of Global Smartphone Market While Windows Phone Flatlines At 0.7%

Remember the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that lumbered through New York City in the original Ghostbusters? That's how big Android has become, which coincidentally is on its Marshmallow release. That's not to say that Android is bloated and slow, just that it's really big—out of the 349 million smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2016, Android was installed on over 293.7 million of them, according to Gartner.

Android now accounts for 84.1 percent of all smartphones in the world, up from 78.8 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, its closest rival (iOS) is now at 14.8 percent, down from 17.9 percent in the same time frame. That's an 8.4 percent swing in the gap separating first and second place, which now stands at a gulf at 69.3 percent.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Apple wasn't the only one to lose ground, so did Microsoft. It's Windows platform dropped below a single percentage point, that undesirable place that was once the exclusive domain of BlackBerry and the catchall "others" category. Now Microsoft joins them with a 0.7 percent share of the global smartphone market, down from 2.5 percent a year earlier.

Microsoft's position isn't likely to change anytime soon. It hasn't given up on the smartphone sector and plans to pursue Windows 10 for Mobile, a point it recently made clear in an internal email to employees, but by and large its focus has been on other areas as of late.

As for the smartphone market as a whole, it remains large, albeit growth is slowing. This has opened the door for Chinese brands to peddle low-cost handsets.

"In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands' long-standing business models to increase their share," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 percent of the market."

The value end of the spectrum is where Chinese players Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi reside, the three of which collectively grabbed hold of 17 percent of the market.