Video shows how Android grew to dominate the global mobile OS market



Right now, Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world with an impressive 85% share of the global market. But which mobile OS did Android top to take the crown? A video posted on YouTube by Data is Beautiful shows the top mobile operating systems from 1999-2019. What is interesting is watching as names on the top of the list, such as PalmOS which dominated with a share of 73.94% back in 1999, lose share, drop down and disappear. Keep in mind that PalmOS, BlackBerry OS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile were all originally developed to run personal digital assistants (PDA) and later versions were used on smartphones.

As PalmOS lost market share, Windows Mobile picked up steam. By the third quarter of 2001, PalmOS had a 51.28% slice of the pie while Windows Mobile was next with 31.30%. Symbian and BlackBerry OS were third and fourth with 3.32% and 2.79% of the mobile operating system market, respectively. In 2002, both PalmOS and Windows Mobile started to lose ground to Symbian which soon was installed in smartphones including Nokia's top media-driven "N" series phones. By the first quarter of 2003, Symbian overtook Windows Mobile, trailing PalmOS by a count of 35.41% to 24.28%. Six months later, Symbian was at the top with nearly 35% of the global market. PalmOS and Windows Mobile kept losing share while BlackBerry OS remained stable.

No operating system, no matter how dominating it is at one point in time, will stay on top forever


By the first quarter of 2006, Symbian had a commanding 60.08% share of the global mobile operating system market. In second was PalmOS (12.72%) followed by Windows Mobile (9.25%) and BlackBerry OS (8%). In January 2007, when Steve Jobs held up the brand spanking new Apple iPhone in front of an adoring MacWorld crowd, PalmOS had dropped to third with Symbian remaining on top with basically the same share it had the year before. And during the second quarter of 2007, when the iPhone was finally launched, iPhone OS (later named iOS) had just .64% of the market. By the end of 2007, a shakeup was taking place as a result of the iPhone. While Symbian still led with a higher than 59% share, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS were neck and neck for second place. Apple's iOS was third with PalmOS now last. As 2008 kicked off, BlackBerry moved into second place and Symbian was beginning to lose market share. Android first appeared in the fourth quarter of 2008 and debuted in sixth place. A new challenger, Palm's webOS, came into the picture with the release of the Palm Pre in 2009.

By the second quarter of 2009, Android moved to fifth place with a 2.18% share. That trailed the 48.58% owned by Symbian, BlackBerry OS' 19.05%, and the 13.71% owned by iOS. But it took the release of the Motorola DROID in November to really give Android a jump-start; it was the first phone to be powered by Android 2.0. The DROID and the Nexus One helped Android move into fourth place during the first quarter of 2010. By the next quarter, Android had overtaken iOS and was trailing only Symbian and BlackBerry OS. During the next quarter, fast-growing Android had jumped ahead of BlackBerry OS and had its sights set on Symbian. Finally, during the first quarter of 2011, Android took the top spot as one out of every three smartphones sold was running the operating system. It is a position that Google's open source OS has yet to relinquish. By the end of this year, Android had a market share of slightly over 50%. Apple's iOS was now second with a bit over 19%.


During the first quarter of 2014, Android had a market share in excess of 81%. Apple's iOS was next with 13.95% while the remaining names on the list (Windows Mobile, BlackBerry OS, Bada and Firefox OS) were barely clinging to life. Symbian, which once had a 60% share, was gone. By the second quarter of 2016, BlackBerry OS was down to .14% and was at .04% just two quarters later. KaiOS, which brings smartphone functionality to low priced phones, joined the club at this point, moving into third place mid-way through 2017.

The latest data covering the third quarter of 2019 (which ended at the end of September) shows Android with a global market share of 85.23% followed by 10.63% for iOS, 4.13% for KaiOS and .01% for Windows. But Google cannot afford to sit back and relax. If history has taught us anything about mobile operating systems, it's that no OS stays at the top forever and even those dominating the market can always end up disappearing in the future.

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23 Comments

1. rick_mobile

Posts: 359; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

take that apple

14. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

? :) Apple have never tried to play the marketshare game. IF they want marketshare they would release $100-200 iPhone. They don't need to, they are already in best position and collecting almost all the money from the market and leaving leftovers for Android companies, so.. ;)

15. koioz

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 29, 2018

And you are proud getting ripped off by an american branded china made prouduct?:

16. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Why you think i'm getting ripped off? I own best smartphone in the market. Quality cost money, and i couldn't be happier with this phone. Just like if you want best from the android world it cost a lot of money. (note 10+/Mate 30 etc.)

18. koioz

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 29, 2018

Because you are ripped off. Samsung and Huawei ripping off their customers too.

21. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Like i said quality cost money, also big companies need to run business and pay for their workers etc. I'm perfectly fine to pay for a product which i know will be very good, no matter what it is. Would you run a company without doing any money? i really doubt that.

22. Deadeye

Posts: 131; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

"best smartphone in the market" Had a good laugh at that. Apple´s marketing managed to brainwash you greatly as it seems. Also, in the game of selling services instead of hardware, market share is everything.

23. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

I guess all the tech sites are brainwashed too because almost Everyone says new iPhone is handsdown best smartphone in the market Marketing has nothing to do with that, amazing device is ;) "Also, in the game of selling services instead of hardware, market share is everything." And wrong again, userbase is and value of it

2. haruken

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Not a single mention of Samsung, you know the leading (Android) smartphone manufacturer.

4. yalokiy

Posts: 1101; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Because it's about mobile operating systems and not companies?

3. yalokiy

Posts: 1101; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

It's open source, that's its main strength.

5. RevolutionA

Posts: 473; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Apple at around 10.xx%. I won't believe that. Almost Everyone uses Apple iPhones. I don't understand how these stats have come-up

7. Vancetastic

Posts: 1752; Member since: May 17, 2017

Where do you live? This is worldwide.

8. OneLove123

Posts: 1257; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

In America, yeah, but there’s 7 billion people not living in America.

9. Vancetastic

Posts: 1752; Member since: May 17, 2017

Whaaaat??

10. Anilu7

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 13, 2017

That’s because it’s a global statistic. In the US and Canada, iOS and Android are about 50/50. In some cities or areas such as New York’s Manhattan iOS dominates. In others Android dominates. It’s often economics too. For 2018/19 US market share for iOS was 55.65% while Android was 44.15%. The rest was rounding and “other”.

11. blingblingthing

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Facts seem different when you limit your sources.

17. riteshrkm

Posts: 164; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

There is a Country called "INDIA" If U have heard the name. @2nd Largest Populated country in the world where less than 1% people use iPhone.

6. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2487; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I wish we could go back to the old days of when there were different options for an OS. I know you still have “skins” for Android and all of that, but it’s not the same as a full ground up different OS. Competition was great back then and people were able to find that niche product for them. Palm OS, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone were all great in their own way. Now it’s just a binary choice really (until Tizen or Huawei become a thing).

12. lmao2016

Posts: 87; Member since: Mar 17, 2016

I had no idea what OS was my phone till around 2009 lol

13. Charlie2k

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

KaiOS is SOOOO bad. Feature-wise it took until 2014-2015 until iOS had more capabilities than Symbian. And Symbian was even able to run on simple phones, like Nokia C5... Which KaiOS is trying to replace. I am tired of Google snooping and Apples bad ethics and want an alternative. Windows phone was good.. But I want to use my phone less and be focused on my family even more. So I bought an KaiOS phone.. Wow.. It's SOOOO bad. Thousand times worse than iOS was in its early days, and it was true crap. Anyone got a Nokia C5 5MP for sale?

19. hemedans

Posts: 761; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Seems am not alone, i bought Nokia 8110 too but kai os is so bad, i returned to symbian.

20. Poptart2828

Posts: 460; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Thankful that we have options. If we were in an ios only world, I'd probably would have never bought another smartphone after being severely displeased with the limited options of my first and only ios device.

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