Android Smartphone Shipments Top 1 Billion For The First Time, Windows Phone Barely Budges

Not only is the market for Android handsets far from being saturated, its growth each year seems to suggest that a shipment ceiling doesn't exist. We know that's not correct, but wherever that ceiling rests, the market hasn't found it yet. In fact, after splashing the market with 780.8 million Android smartphones in 2013, consumers responded by purchasing over a billion more in 2014.

It's the first time that Android smartphone shipments have topped 1 billion units in a single year, and in doing so, Google's open source operating system now accounts for 81.2 percent of all smartphones, up from 78.9 percent in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.


Meanwhile, it's next closest competitor (iOS) went from 153.4 million smartphone shipments in 2013 to 192.7 million in 2014, or exactly 850 million less than Android. And even though Apple's smartphone shipments increased year-over-year, its share of the market dropped half a percentage point to 15 percent.

Now chew on this -- between Android and iOS, 96.2 percent of the smartphone market is already spoken for, leaving only scraps for the remaining players. The biggest of those is Microsoft, though with just a 3 percent share on 38.8 million shipments (up from 35.8 million in 2013), it's walking a fine line between niche and mainstream.

"Microsoft shipped 38.8 million smartphones for a relatively niche 3 percent market share worldwide in 2014. Microsoft’s Windows platform dominates PCs, but it continues to struggle in smartphones. Microsoft still lacks multiple major hardware partners to build its phones, while Microsoft’s retail presence in important countries like China remains tiny," Strategy Analytics said.

While Android dominates the market in terms of market share, it will be interesting to see what impact the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have on things. Consumers have responded well to the bigger size displays on these handsets.