In the battle between Android and iOS, the former emerged victorious as the preferred operating system in 2017.
According to market researcher Gartner, over 1.5 billion smartphones were sold last year, with 1.3 billion of them being Android devices. It was followed by 215 million iOS devices and 1.5 million smartphones using other operating systems such as Windows Phone and Blackberry.
Leading the Android pack is Samsung that sold 321 million units last year, an increase from the 306 million in 2016. Apple trailed with 214 million units, showing a slight drop from the 216 units sold in the previous year. Chinese brands followed suit with Huawei selling 150 million units, Oppo with 112 million units and Vivo with 99 million devices sold.
Gartner believes that the overall success of Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+ contributed to the South Korean tech giant's market share last year, and expects the launches of its next flagship devices to boost Samsung's smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2018.
As for Apple, iPhone sales fell 5% in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to the same quarter in 2016.
"Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before," said Gartner research director Anshul Gupta. "It had three new smartphones – the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X – yet its performance in the quarter was overshadowed by two factors. First, the later availability of the iPhone X led to slow upgrades to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as users waited to try the more expensive model.
"Second, component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints preceded a long delivery cycle for the iPhone X, which returned to normal by early December 2017. We expect good demand for the iPhone X to likely bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018," he added.
Overall, in 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales to end users increased 2.7% from the 1.4 billion units sold in 2016.