Android widens lead over iOS: Now it ships on 88 percent of phones worldwide

The only smartphone makers that are growing right now don't sell phones in the US, though that will change with Huawei's new Mate 9.

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The figures suggest Samsung is losing its grip on the smartphone market.

Image: Strategy Analytics

Worldwide phone shipments for the third quarter grew by six percent to 375 million units compared with the same time last year due entirely to Android, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Android phone shipments made up 87.5 percent of shipments for the quarter, up 3.3 percentage points year on year, according to the analyst. In total, Android vendors, still dominated by Samsung, shipped 328.6 million handsets or 10.3 percent more devices than the same period last year.

Apple, which shipped 45.5 million iPhones in the quarter compared with 48 million in Q3 2015, saw its share decline 1.5 percentage points to 12.1 percent.

Not surprisingly, BlackBerry, Tizen, and Windows Phone which made up "other platforms" have basically vanished. Just 1.3 million devices running these platforms shipped in the quarter and account for 0.3 percent of all shipments.

"Apple iOS lost ground to Android and dipped to 12 percent share worldwide in Q3 2016, due to a lackluster performance in China and Africa. BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Phone have all but disappeared due to strategic shifts, while Tizen and other emerging platforms softened as a result of limited product portfolios and modest developer support," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics

He added that consumers in China and Europe are facing "iPhone fatigue".

Samsung is still the world's biggest smartphone maker, but shipments are well down in the wake of its Note 7 disaster, which hasn't benefited Apple much but may open the door for Huawei and its first Huawei brand phone for the US, the new high-end 5.9 inch Mate 9. It will be sold online in the US from January.

Samsung shipped 75.3 million in the current quarter, down from 83.8 million units last year, according to Strategy Analytics. Its share slid from 23.7 percent to 20.1 percent.

The real growth engine for Android at the moment are Chinese brands Oppo and Vivo, which doubled shipments over the past year to 21.6 million and 18.3 million, respectively.

Huawei's US launch comes as its period of rapid growth tapers off. Shipments are up 26 percent to 33.6 million units this quarter, but it grew 62 percent this time last year.

Nevertheless, its overall share climbed 1.5 percentage points to nine percent, leaving it in a clear third position behind Apple but a long way from its goal to be the world's biggest smartphone maker.

The numbers differ slightly to those from analyst firm IDC's for Q3 2016, though its figures tell the same story.

According to IDC, the smartphone market grew 5.3 percent year on year, driven entirely by Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. IDC notes that China now accounts for 53 percent of Huawei sales, compared with 60 percent last year.

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