Android’s rise to a position of dominance in the key markets of Latin America has been meteoric. According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, smartphones running Android OS now account for over 75% of the smartphone market in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Chart Android market share at six month intervals since May 2012, and the remarkable pace of uptake becomes apparent.
Smartphones running Android OS now account for 75% of the Argentina market, 86.9% of the Brazil market, and 80.4% of the Mexico market. The nearest OS competitor in each country are on the margins. Windows Phone has 10.9% share in Argentina and 5% share in Brazil. BlackBerry has 6.5% in Mexico.
While BlackBerry is in decline in Mexico (down from 32.3% share in May 2012), Windows Phone is gaining ground everywhere: up from 1.8% in May 2012 to 10.9% in May 2014 in Argentina; up from 4.2% in May 2012 to 5.5% in May 2014 in Brazil; up 2.2% in May 2012 to 6% in May 2014 in Mexico.
It is possible that Windows Phone – with its open-source approach – has started eating into Android share in some markets. There has been a slight plateau in Android shipments over the past six months. Yet for Google, the battle for Latin America – and other emerging markets – has only just begin.
As Google rolls out Android One (starting in India in late-2014), it will be interesting to see to what extent it can undercut Windows Phone, Apple, and others in Latin America.
With Android One, Google will pay for the hardware development process so that manufacturers can offset the R&D costs, lowering Android prices even further and leveraging an important advantage in emerging markets.
In India, Google is initially teaming up with Indian brands such as Karbonn and Spice to provide Android One devices with dual-SIM and SD card slots, a 4.5-inch display and FM radio priced at just $100. If similar partnerships can be brokered with smartphone manufacturers in Latin America, Google will be well-positioned to consolidate its position as market leader.
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