Want to know a big reason why Android smartphones are virtually ubiquitous these days? Because many of them are very affordable, that's why. IDC's latest market share estimates show that 58.6 percent of Android phones shipped in the second quarter cost less than $200, many of them from surging Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi. Simply speaking, many in China and other developing countries can't (or won't) justify buying the expensive phones that thrive in regions like Europe and North America. It's no wonder that Samsung is losing the battle at the moment, then -- while the company has budget handsets, it's heavily invested in high-end hardware like the Galaxy S line.
The influx of low-cost devices also helps to explain year-over-year dips in market share for both iOS (11.7 percent) and Windows Phone (2.5 percent), which pale next to Android's 84.7 percent slice of the pie. Apple doesn't participate in the sub-$200 realm to start with, so it won't compete in terms of sheer units; it's doing fine profit-wise. Windows Phone, meanwhile, has few bona fide hits in this space outside of the aging Lumia 520. There are new iPhones and more budget-friendly Windows Phone makers right around the corner, though, so it won't be shocking if there's a different story in the months ahead.