The South African mobile scene is interesting, to say the least. Apple and iPhone may dominate the market in other parts of the world, but it doesn’t work like that in SA.
For years, BlackBerry dominated the mobile sphere, primarily because it was affordable. A BiS bundle cost R59, and that was all you needed to access the Internet and send messages on BBM.
Even when BlackBerry’s popularity spiraled into obscurity, it remained the glue that kept South Africans – mostly teens and students – connected to the outside world.
South Africa’s most popular mobile operating system
And then came the rise of Android. Data collected from StatsCounter show that, for the past year, Android has consistently remained the favourite mobile operating system among South Africans.
In October 2018, 81.23% of mobile users rely on Android, while only 13.94 used iOS. A year on, and not much has changed. Today, 83.54% use Android, while 14.65% use iOS.
Other names hardly even make it onto the chart, with Tizen comprising of 0.59%, followed by 0.33% Series 40 users, and 0.29% Windows users.
BlackBerry OS, the previous reigning champion, has been knocked down to the last spot, with a meagre 0.21% of mobile users.
Back in 2017, Vodacom revealed the extent of the Android domination over the South African marketplace. Of their 13.4m active users connecting to the network at the time, 61.4% of them used Android.
Android’s rise as the world’s most popular operating system
By the first quarter of 2006, Symbian had a whopping 60.08% share of the global mobile operating system market, followed by PalmOS, Windows Mobile and BlackBerryOS.
The following year, Steve Jobs released a new iPhone, forcing PalmOS and Symbian to drop drastically. Do you even remember Symbian, PalmOS and BadaOS? Neither do I.
The new iPhone was launched later that year, even though it only made a 0.64% dent when it was first announced. By the end of 2007, a shakeup was taking place as a result of the iPhone.
“During the first quarter of 2014, Android had a market share in excess of 81%. Apple’s iOS was next with 13.95% while the remaining names on the list were barely clinging to life. Symbian, which once had a 60% share, was gone.”
According to Phone Arena, Apple’s iOS was third with PalmOS dropping to the bottom of the list. Since then, it opened the way for Android the dominate the market, thanks to Huawei’s introduction of fast and affordable phones.