In the UK, Smartphone Balance Tips Toward Android - eMarketer
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In the UK, Smartphone Balance Tips Toward Android

OS update KitKat could help with faster share gains

November 7, 2013

This year, more than 80% of the UK population will own and use a mobile phone, and almost two-thirds of those will be smartphones. It’s no wonder, then, that the operating systems (OS) battle continues to rage.

Recent data from Strategy Analytics indicated that during Q3 2013, the number of Android smartphones shipped worldwide accounted for 81.3% of the market. The research firm also indicated a slight slip in share of iOS devices, from 15.6% in Q3 2012 to 13.4% in Q3 2013, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone seeing a share increase, albeit from a very small base.

The smartphone balance in the UK is not weighted as heavily in favor of Android devices, but nevertheless, more of these devices are being used in the country than those running any other OS. eMarketer estimates Android users will account for almost half of all UK smartphone users in 2013, and this share will continue to rise, reaching 53.0% in 2014. iOS devices will account for 29.0% of the total this year, with a small rise in share forecast come 2014. Windows Mobile, meanwhile will continue to make small inroads.

UK Smartphone Users, by OS, 2011-2014 (millions, % change and % of total)

Data in May 2012 and May 2013 from comScore MobiLens indicated similar market shares in mobile OS among UK smartphone subscribers, with the only differences being slightly faster annual growth rates for Android and Windows phones.

Mobile OS Share Among UK Smartphone Subscribers, May 2012 & May 2013 (% of total)

Whether faster share gains are on the horizon for Android devices may depend on the success of the recent OS update—KitKat. For Google, the long-term aim is that the software update will be supported on a much wider range of devices, from low-end smartphones to more advanced devices. This should help resolve some of the fragmentation issues leveled at the OS, paving the way for greater engagement from third-party developers, which will, in turn, lead to a far richer consumer experience. For now, though, KitKat has only made its way to a number of high-end devices, so until wider rollout is implemented, its effect on total OS share remains to be seen.


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