Android is crushing Apple and Microsoft in the mobile device market

In five and a half years, Android has come from nowhere to crush Apple and Microsoft in the mobile device market. How long until PC OEMs decide to take a gamble on the winning mobile OS and load Android onto PCs?

In five and a half years, Android has come from nowhere to dominate the mobile landscape during the first quarter of 2013, according to a new report from research firm Canalys.

The market — which takes into account smartphone, tablet, and notebook shipments — grew to 308.7 million, representing year-on-year growth of 37.4 percent. But despite this market segment including traditional notebook devices powered by Windows, it is Android, a product of the Open Handset Alliance, that is making the biggest gains.

During the quarter, Android was the operating system powering 59.5 percent of smart devices shipped. Behind Android was Apple's iOS with a 19.3 percent market share, and Microsoft, with 18.1 percent.

And it is tablets that are driving this growth, not smartphones, and definitely not notebooks. Over the period, worldwide tablet shipments increased by 106.1 percent year on year, to 41.9 million units, and while Apple continues to be the big fish in the tablet space with a 46.4 percent share, even the iPad is not immune to Android, as it lost share for the third consecutive quarter.

The Canalys data for the quarter speaks volumes.

Image: Canalys

But let's take this data and bake it into a pie.

Image: Canalys/ZDNet

Presented this way, it is clear that Android is crushing Apple and Microsoft in the mobile device market, putting the squeeze on not only Microsoft, but Apple, too, the company that sparked the smartphone and tablet revolutions in the first place.

While some analysts are pondering Android's demise, I really can't see how the operating system can put a foot wrong. About the only weakness I can see is that one company — Samsung — dominates the Android landscape.

Given Android's success in the mobile market, one has to wonder how long it will be until we see the operating system loaded onto PCs and go head to head against Windows and iOS. Given the way that buyers (consumers and enterprise alike) have embraced Android on smartphones and tablets — activations of new devices sit at 1.5 million daily, or 45 million every month — it seems logical to give consumers what they want, and put this operating system onto notebooks, convertibles, and hybrid systems.

When it comes to PCs, neither Windows nor OS X seem to be igniting the imaginations — and opening the wallets — of consumers. Cheap (possibly in the region of $200) PCs would be just what PC OEMs need to inject a new lease of life into the stagnating market.

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