Last month, WhatsApp announced in a blog post that it will stop supporting a number of mobile operating systems in 2017. The platforms due to be scrapped by the Facebook-owned messaging service include; Nokia’s mobile OS, Windows Phone 7.1 and perhaps most notably, BlackBerry OS.
WhatsApp’s plan to focus on fewer platforms is the latest of many signs pointing in the same direction: the mobile platform war is pretty much over and there are just two big winners: Android and iOS. Last year, Android and iOS devices accounted for 97.5% of global smartphone sales, up from just 38% in 2010.
As Android and iOS gobble up the mobile market, all other platforms will sooner or later be caught in the same vicious circle. Publishers and developers prefer platforms with larger audiences, and users choose platforms based on the availability of their favorite apps. Once users jump ship, app developers will follow and vice versa.
As this infographic from Statista shows, the smartphone market is clearly dominated by Android and iOS, each accounting for 81.6% and 15.9% of the mobile marketplace, respectively.
Global smartphone sales to end users totaled 403 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 9.7 percent increase over the same period in 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. However, this was their slowest growth rate since 2008. In 2015 as a whole, smartphone sales reached 1.4 billion units, an increase of 14.4 percent from 2014.
Research Director at Gartner, Anshul Gupta explained: “Aggressive pricing and entry-level segments of emerging markets are leading consumers to upgrade more quickly to affordable smartphones.
“Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continue to be the driving factors.”