It's Official: Samsung Owns Half of Android

Samsung always seemed destined to rise to the top of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android platform. Nokia saw it coming, which is precisely why it wasn't interested in embracing the search giant's operating system and went with Microsoft Windows Phone instead.

OpenSignal has now released a new detailed report on the fragmented state of Android, and Samsung's dominance is abundantly clear. The South Korean conglomerate now owns nearly half of the entire Android market. Samsung's broad portfolio of devices targeting every market segment comprises 47.5% of all Android gadgets. That's an immense lead over the No. 2 Android OEM brand, Sony-Ericsson, who has just a 6.5% market share within the platform. (Sony bought out Ericsson's stake in the joint venture years ago, but many of those devices are still floating around out there.)

Source: OpenSignal.

While HTC was once a major player within Android, the Taiwanese company's recent missteps and refocused strategy has made its share decline to less than 3.9%.

Overall fragmentation within Android continues to rise, in terms of both hardware and software. OpenSignal recorded nearly 12,000 distinct Android devices this year and operating system versions remain primarily split among 3 different major Android releases (Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean). In no uncertain terms, the report asserts that Android is "the most fragmented it has ever been."

Samsung's overwhelming power over Android is particularly meaningful considering its recent efforts to undermine Google's underlying operating system in favor of promoting its own differentiated interface and features. The most influential OEM is now also the one most interested in downplaying it to the extent that it can set itself apart.

Google certainly appreciates everything that Samsung has done in contributing to Android proliferation, but Samsung's rise still presents a very real risk to the search giant. Motorola may be bleeding, but it's still an insurance policy should Samsung ever decide to go rogue.

It's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped by just a handful of companies like Google and Samsung. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.

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  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2013, at 10:17 PM, ScottAtlanta wrote:

    Yes Evan....we get your point, Android is "Fragmented," Apple is not (you've pointed this out elsewhere). You own Apple, therefore Apple must be better. This is another anti-android/anti google article.

    It's all consistent with Apple's message about its superiority due to "consistency" and control of the user experience....But sadly, as many dictators and monopolists have discovered, people don't want to be controlled especially when they're being exploited to maintain "margins" or more colloquially, profits.

    People want variety and choice and VALUE. I can think of one example that may hold up under scrutiny, idk, it's off the top of my head: Microsoft windows Office/Word Processing Software. There were many versions being actively used over the course of could call this "fragmentation" or you could call it variety and flexibility. It didn't stop MSFT from building an empire. When users were ready, they just upgraded. Later Software made allowances for earlier versions.

    Interestingly, despite the fears thrown up by the spectre of "fragmentation," Android continues to grow and replace market share of the grand monopolist, Apple.

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