The mobile phone rat race has been going on for some time now. Apple and Google have carved out massive swathes of the global population as their own, and these people are now often wholly committed to both their devices and specific app ecosystems.
This is the story told, once again, by the latest report on the state of the global mobile market from Kantar. Since the debut of its larger iPhone models, Apple has enjoyed strong growth in China, as well as achieving record device shipments around the world. Though iOS continues to suffer from small declines in various markets, including the USA, the fruity firm was recently revealed to have become the most valuable corporation in recorded history.
As for Google, Android is still achieving record market share globally, with it now being possible to claim that Android is now the most common OS globally, whether desktop or mobile. The operating system suffered from a small 2.9% decrease in Europe this quarter, which was taken by iOS, however the Galaxy S6 has aroused strong interest, and as such this situation may yet change.
And of course, there is Microsoft. Windows Phone has traditionally struggled to gain any momentum in the mobile space. Yet, given that this report is a quarterly gathering of data, and this has been a quarter with relatively few device released from Microsoft, Windows Phone has achieved some small successes. In France, Windows Phone accounted for 14.2% of devices sold this quarter, an increase of 5.2% from the previous year. This was also the case in Australia, where the OS accounted for 9.3% of this quarter's device sales, an increase of 4.3% from the previous year.
Growth was also achieved in the USA and Japan, though in each case this represented only a 0.3% and 0.1% increase, respectively, from the previous year.
Less good news comes from Italy, China and Great Britain, where the OS suffered a decline in every instance. Sales in China fell by -0.2%, in Britain by 1% and in Italy (a traditional Windows Phone stronghold) by 1.7%.
In all, these figures paint a mixed picture. The first quarter of the year has increasingly become a barren time when it comes to phone releases, with very few manufacturers opting to debut their devices until at least the beginning of March, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Windows Phone has not been up against a new iPhone launch, or a new Galaxy device, this has been open track territory, even despite few Windows Phone device launches.
Given the current state of affairs, and Microsoft's current direction, it is reasonable to expect that this state of affairs will continue for the time being. For next quarter's results, Windows Phone fans have the launch of the Lumia 640 and 640 XL to look forward to, and beyond that, at least a possibility of new flagships coming with the launch of Windows 10, due "this summer".
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