In a recent report, ABI Research revealed that while Android dominated the worldwide smartphone landscape in the fourth quarter of last year, things aren’t looking as good for Google, which may be “losing control of the Android ecosystem.” The new research notes that the different “forked” Android OS versions that are popular in Asia do not include Google’s apps, thus depriving the search giant of ad-based revenue.
According to ABI Reasearch, more than 280 million smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter, with 77% of them being Android devices. But of the 221.5 million or so Android devices shipped, only 150.4 million included Google services, while 71.1 million ran a forked Android version (AOSP).
In other words, a shocking one in three Android devices that shipped in the fourth quarter did not come with Google apps pre-installed.
By comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2012, 146.7 million Android devices were sold including 116.7 million smartphones with Google services on board and 30 million devices without Google’s apps.
Forked Android devices accounted for 25% of all smartphones sold during Q4 2013, with this particular product section seeing the biggest year-on-year growth, 137%, thanks to increased sales in Asian markets including China, India and other countries. Google’s Android meanwhile grew 29% during the period, accounting for 52% of all the smartphones sold.
“The growth of AOSP is significant for Android’s owner Google, because AOSP does not offer Google’s services (due to their unavailability in China), impacting Google’s ability to monetize the Android ecosystem,” ABI Research senior practice director for mobile devices Nick Spencer said.
iOS and Windows Phone were the second and third most successful smartphone operating systems, accounting for 18% and 4% of the market during the period with 51 million and 10.9 million smartphones sold in Q4 2014.