On the one hand, Gartner’s latest global smartphone sales numbers held some relatively good news for the industry: sales were up 3.9% in Q1 2016 over the same period a year ago. A total of 349 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter of 2016, up from 336 million in Q1 2015. On the other hand, there was some bad news as well–sales of Windows phones dropped precipitously, down from an already low 2.5% in the first quarter of 2015 to a paltry 0.7% last quarter.
Over the same period, Android continued its dominance, increasing to 84.1% of the market while iOS dropped to 14.8%. Looking at the numbers, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is putting some effort into making sure its various solutions work with Android devices. Ignoring a platform that represents nearly 85% of the market would be a bad idea.
Regarding manufacturers, Samsung remains in first place with over 81 million smartphones sold worldwide. Apple came in second with over 51 million, albeit down from last year’s 60 million or so sold in the first quarter. Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi took up the next three spots.
These results should come as no surprise as Microsoft’s own financial results told precisely the same story. Windows phones are clearly on hiatus, at least until Microsoft releases the highly anticipated Surface Phone, likely sometime in 2017. Gartner notes that most of the increase in smartphone sales worldwide have been due to low-cost devices and increasing 4G carrier promotions. Smartphones have reached 78% saturation of the overall mobile phone market–meaning that Windows 10 Mobile and the Surface Phone are likely to face some serious obstacles if Microsoft hopes to achieve any kind of success in the current or near-term future mobile landscape.