This chart shows how far behind Apple is in the global phone market

For all of its success in the United States, the iPhone accounts for only a small fraction of worldwide mobile phone sales. Historical data from Gartner and MobileWorld.org show Apple's been selling tens of millions of iPhones every quarter since the fourth quarter of 2011. But that still isn't enough to put a major dent in the global market, according to an interactive built by MobileUnlocked.com:


(MobileUnlocked.com)

Another trend worth pointing out is Samsung's increasing gains stretching back to the early 2000s, long before the iPhone was even invented. We tend to think of Samsung and Apple as being equal competitors today in that the two companies are perpetually locked in a war over patents. But this chart suggests they got there through very different routes. Apple burst onto the scene in the last five years, while Samsung patiently built a mobile device business over a 15-year period.

What's good for Samsung has also been good for Google, whose Android operating system is installed on 80 percent of the world's smartphones. Apple's iOS, meanwhile, accounts for 13 percent of global market share. To help Apple gain ground in emerging markets, the company is widely expected to unveil a low-cost iPhone "5C" this fall.

The last mystery, an "others" category, captures tiny, white-box devices. In 2010, these small-time manufacturers serving Latin America, Russia, India and other developing markets pushed sales of "other" devices to 33 percent of world market share.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

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Brian Fung · August 20, 2013

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