It's hard to appreciate just how much the smartphone landscape has changed over the past few years, and it's easy to attribute most of that change to the work of Apple. But Google's open-source platform Android has done more to shape the ecosystem than iOS has, and in three years it has come from nowhere to crush the competition.
Horace Dedui, analyst at Asymco, posted an interesting chart to Twitter that shows just what a sweeping influence Android has had on the smartphone market in just one-and-a-half product ownership cycles.
In that time, Google's platform has grown from having a four percent unit share of the market to having a commanding 72 percent unit share, crushing the likes of RIM, Windows Phone, and Nokia's Symbian platform.
The only platform that can stand up to the pressure is Apple's iOS, and even that has lost one percentage point over the period.
It is Android, and not iOS, that has effectively killed off the competition and turned the smartphone market into a two-horse race.
But this isn't to say that Android doesn't have some challenges to face. Google, along with its hardware partners, have been effective in getting handsets into the hands of users, but keeping those handsets updated with the latest versions of Android is turning out to be quite difficult. According to Google's own data, more than half of the Android devices out there are powered by Android 2.3 'Gingerbread,' a version that hasn't seen an update since September 2011.
Compare this to Apple, which managed to get more than 60 percent of iDevice users to upgrade to iOS 6 in under a month.
Image source: Asymco/Twitter.