Android has continued to see explosive growth throughout the world, but no market has been hit as hard by Google’s (GOOG) mobile operating system as China. The country is now the largest single Android market in the world according to the latest research from Informa Telecoms & Media. The firm notes that almost two-thirds of handsets sold in China this past year were powered by Google’s operating system, and the country totaled a third of all Android devices sold in 2012. In the U.S., which is the second-largest Android market with an 11% share, the platform is predicted to account for at least one out of every two mobile phones sold in 2013.
“Despite the economic downturn, the global smartphone market is enjoying healthy growth and consumers are actually spending more to acquire more technologically-advanced devices,” said Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “It is estimated that around 786 million smartphone devices were sold in 2012 (including the devices powered by non-certified variants of Android that are proliferating in China), which is 45% more than the total number of smartphones sold in 2011.”
The Chinese smartphone market is growing faster than any other with year-over-year growth of 85% in 2012. Despite selling more than 2 million iPhone 5s during its opening weekend in China, Apple (AAPL) only has a 5% market share in the country and is expected to lose out to Nokia (NOK) and Windows Phone.
“Looking forward, Android is expected to continue gaining market share globally and, by 2015, one in every two handsets sold worldwide will be powered by it,” Saadi said. “However, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, the market share of this platform could potentially peak – or even decline – after 2016 owing to a more aggressive penetration of the alternative OSs, most notably Windows Phone.”