Has Android Peaked at 70% of The Global Market Share?

The headlines sure look good for Android these days, the latest of which heralds the operating system’s impressive 70% global market share.

But has the operating system reached the crescendo of its climb?

According to a new report out of Strategy Analytics, 152.1 million Android phones were shipped in Q4 of 2012 alone last year, leaving Android with a whopping 70 percent global market share.

Android, of course, is thriving inside of a market that is growing like wildfire in and of itself.

“Global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually from 157.0 million units in Q4 2011 to 217.0 million in Q4 2012,” says Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, increasing robustly from 490.5 million units in 2011. Global shipment growth slowed from 64 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012 as penetration of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.”

The only question now is whether Android’s perch can be sustained or even built upon.

“The growth has been off the charts for Android,” says independent business analyst Roger Keds with IGC Tech,” but a case could be made that iOS and Android aren’t yet on a level playing field. iOS devices remain more expensive and off limits to emerging markets. If Apple releases a cheaper entry-level device, that could quickly erode Android’s market share. You also have to consider Apple’s growing presence inside of China, a market that remains dominated by Android. But that, too, could change as Apple invests more into this critical market for mobile.”

According to Keds, Android may presently be winning the war for mobile supremacy, but it’s also Android’s war to lose.

“I don’t think Android’s global market share can get much bigger,” he concludes. “But it doesn’t have to. If Android can stave off the growing challenge from iOS, Windows, and even BlackBerry – and hold on to a better than 50% share – that will be a huge victory. It isn’t realistic to think that a market so competitive can continue to see such lopsided dominance by one player.”

Do you agree?