Market research firm IDC's latest numbers showcase the continued rise of Android, which now commands an 81.3 percent market share, up from 78.7 percent in 2013. The entry-level segment was seen as the major growth driver in 2014 as device sales crossed a billion units for the first time. The firm noted that Android and iOS now account for 96.3 percent of all smartphone shipments, a slight increase from the 95.6 percent commanded by the two leading mobile platforms in 2013.
iOS claimed a market share of 14.8 percent, a slight decrease from the 15.1 percent it witnessed in 2013. Windows Phone and BlackBerry also saw a decline in market share from 3.3 percent to 2.7 percent and 1.9 percent to 0.4 percent. Year-on-year growth for BlackBerry declined by 69 percent, while Windows Phone saw a growth of 4.2 percent.
Even though Samsung faced a decline in sales last year, the handset manufacturer sold more devices than the next five vendors combined. Most of the growth, however, came from Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE. Xiaomi announced that it sold 61.12 million smartphones in 2014, with Huawei achieving 75 million sales.
Both vendors are set to continue the momentum into 2015 by focusing heavily on India, which is the fastest-growing market in Asia, according to the IDC. With LTE services finally rolling out across a majority of the country, affordable 4G handsets will pave the way for sales in India. Samsung already announced three 4G-enabled devices for the budget segment in India, and Xiaomi counts the Redmi Note 4G in this space. Huawei struck a deal with carriers in the country to test their 4G networks, and the vendor is set to introduce budget handsets that offer LTE connectivity in the coming months.