Android climbed to 79 percent of smartphone market share in 2013, but its growth has slowed

Android may have quickly reached the top of the smartphone world, but there are signs that this red-hot growth is cooling off... if only just. Strategy Analytics estimates that the platform claimed nearly 79 percent of smartphone market share in 2013. While that's both a record high and a big step up from almost 69 percent in 2012, it also represents Android's slowest annual growth rate since its birth. As the analysts note, Google is facing an increasingly saturated market; there are only so many more customers it can reach.

Not that things were rosy for other mobile operating systems last year. Apple shipped more phones in 2013, but not enough to avoid a dip to 15.5 percent market share. Windows Phone grew to 3.6 percent share, although its one-point improvement over 2012 wasn't going to make Apple or Google nervous. And for smaller platforms, 2013 was downright ugly. BlackBerry, Symbian and others fell from a collective 9.1 percent in 2012 to just 2 percent. The smartphone market in 2014 is effectively a three-horse race, and it's doubtful that the rankings will change any time soon.