Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system currently holds 76.6% of smartphone operating market share worldwide and in 2014 more Android phones shipped than the total amount of smartphone shipments in all of 2013.
So why does Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have a reason to celebrate?
Because according to a new Gartner report Android smartphone makers are having a difficult time standing out from the rest of the crowd -- while Apple's offering just what they want.
"Android vendors at the high end are finding it hard to differentiate and add value beyond technology and features. Furthermore, Apple's brand clout and ecosystem -- alongside the new large-screen iPhone models -- are strong alternatives," Gartner's research director Roberta Cozza wrote.
Apple keeps moving ahead
Apple's already riding high on a record-breaking quarter where it sold 74.8 million iPhones and took the top-selling smartphone vendor title away from Samsung in Q4 2014.
As if that weren't enough, 9to5Mac reported earlier this month that Apple may soon unveil a trade-in program to entice Android users to switch over to iPhone by offering them Apple Store gift cards in exchange for their phones. The company already has a similar program for iPhone users who want to upgrade to newer versions of Apple's phone.
All of this comes as Samsung's smartphone profits have suffered recently. In the most recent quarter ending in December, Samsung saw its device earnings fall by 64% year-over-year, which was the fifth consecutive quarterly decline.
Samsung's beating everyone but Apple
IDC notes that though Samsung fell behind Apple's smartphone sales in Q4 the company still shipped more Android phones than the next five vendors combined.
The problem for Samsung is that beating out the other Android vendors isn't nearly good enough.
To help differentiate itself from its Android competitors, Samsung's new Galaxy S6 significantly upgrades the build materials compared to its previous high-end devices. The new Galaxy S6 ditches the plastic back found on previous Galaxy S models and opts for a Gorilla Glass 4 back instead, complete with a metal frame around the device.
Samsung is also launching its own mobile payments platform, Samsung Pay, later this summer. The system will compete directly with Apple Pay, but should give Samsung an edge over other high-end Android devices.
Aside from premium Android users migrating over to the iPhone, Gartner says Apple's iPhone upgrade cycle is going strong as well.
"We also estimate that, despite Apple's premium price tags, the iOS base replacement cycle that started in the fourth quarter of 2014 with the larger iPhones will carry on into 2015," Cozza said.
Between current iPhone users upgrading to new Apple phones and high-end Android users switching over to the iPhone, it appears 2015 is shaping up to be a huge year for Apple's smartphone.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Gartner, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.