NEW DELHI: Apple may have pioneered the smartphone but it’s Google’s Android operating system that brought it to the masses. While Apple maintains end-to-end control of its products, Google offers Android to phone manufacturers for free. The free OS, alongside growing middle-class markets in Asia and Africa and ambitious manufacturers, has been the primary driver behind the ballooning smartphone industry. On August 9, China’s biggest phone manufacturer, Huawei, threw it hat into the ring by announcing its own opensource OS, Harmony. As the OS race hots up, a look at the global influence of Android and how it got there.

WHY ANDROID IS EVERYWHERE

➤ Rather than monetise its OS, Google offered it out free, which kick started its global spread.

➤ Though Android is open source, Google makes up for it by attaching its widespread online advertising machinery to every Android device.

➤ The growing middle class in China and Samsung’s adoption of Android across several price tiers further pushed the OS into the mainstream.

➤ Nine out of every 10 smartphones sold in China are Android.

9 OF EVERY 10 PHONES ARE ANDROID DEVICES

➤ But global smartphone sales have been on the decline for the past three years and though nearly half the world’s population has a smartphone reaching the other half is a tall order.

os market share

Since Google acquired Android 14 years ago, the OS has grown at a searing pace, obliterating competition along the way to the top.

FROM OBSCURE STARTUP TO WORLD’S TOP OS

Source: Media reports, Graphic: Karthic R Iyer



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