The world of mobile has just passed an important milestone: Android is now the world’s most popular operating system for accessing the internet.
Research carried out by analytics firm StatCounter has found that in the month of March 2017, internet usage on Android surpassed internet usage on Windows.
Yet StatCounter’s CEO, Aodhan Cullen, was ecstatic:
This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era. […] It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago.
Android is indeed making enormous leaps in the wider IT space, seducing millions of new users every year. Android has provided a viable platform for the world to access the internet. The shift to mobile has not been uniform accross the globe: In Europe, Android has just has 23.6% of the market share; in Africa it owns 53.5% (versus 35% for Windows), in Asia, 52.2% (versus 29.2% for Windows).
However, Android’s bigger worldwide market is so by a small margin: 37.93% versus Windows’ 37.91%, so we’re talking about two hundredths percentage points. Can we call it “the end of an era” just yet?
Whether or not it will depends much on the kinds of tasks people need their internet devices for, and the kind of input those tasks require. If we take a look at the world’s top 10 websites, as ranked by Alexa, we find websites that mainly offer reading text, watching media, or commenting on the aforementioned (YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Qq). From the point of view of a user, these types of interactions can be perfectly accomplished with a tappable screen; a desktop computer would be an excessive amount of hardware to accomplish that task.
Is Cullen right in claiming this is the end of an era, or do you think this is still premature?
Ariel is the former editor of SitePoint's Mobile Channel. He worked on more than 10 different apps currently available on the App Store, and plans to release many more. He loves writing, mobile devices, hackathons, and blockchains.