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BlackBerry's market share is now zero despite smartphone sales booming

A new report from Gartner says Apple outsold Samsung for the first time in eight quarters, but Android is still the dominant OS.

According to tech research company Gartner, Samsung can recover from this year's stumbles by seizing the momentum generated by the Galaxy S7.

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

According to tech research company Gartner, Samsung can recover from this year's stumbles by seizing the momentum generated by the Galaxy S7.

Worldwide smartphone sales grew by seven per cent in 2016’s final quarter, but Canada’s BlackBerry OS looks to have been pushed out of the market.

According to Gartner, an IT research company, more than 430 million devices were sold in the fourth quarter, helping to push 2016’s total sales to nearly 1.5 billion.

However, very bad news for BlackBerry is buried under those glowing numbers. The Ontario-based company’s operating system captured a zero per cent market share in Q4, a limp finale to a tepid year that saw them hold onto to a paltry 0.2 per cent share overall.

BlackBerry’s near-evaporation from the market may provide some small solace for Samsung, who surrendered the top spot to a resurgent Apple.

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“This is the second consecutive quarter in which Samsung has delivered falling quarterly smartphone sales,” said Gartner research director Anshul Gupta, adding that the South Korean company’s device dropped by eight per cent in Q4.

The primary culprit for Samsung’s sinking sales was the botched launch of the Galaxy Note 7, which was pulled from the market after they proved to be prone to bursting into flame.

That vacancy at the top of Samsung’s large-screen phone stable wasn’t the company’s only pitfall in 2016, according to Gartner. Other Asian manufacturers like Huawei and Oppo are also gnawed their way further into Samsung’s share of middle-tier and entry-level devices sold.

However, even after all those stumbles, Samsung finished with 17.8 per cent market share in Q4, an extremely tight second to Apple’s 17.9 per cent share. Huawei was atop the next tier with a 9.5 per cent share.

The launch of the Google Pixel is an opportunity for the Android OS to make further gains in the premium market.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The launch of the Google Pixel is an opportunity for the Android OS to make further gains in the premium market.

But even though Apple won the quarter, Samsung still held a commanding lead on device sales for the year – a 20.5 per cent share versus Apple’s 14.4 per cent.

Android Rules Them All

While the competition for devices sold is heating up, Google’s Android operating system remains the undisputed market champion with a whopping 84.78 per cent market share in 2016.

Android was also the only operating system to grow its market share last year, courtesy of Google Pixel’s entry into the premium market and continued growth of Android device sales in emerging markets.

The continued success of Android and Samsung’s slipping but still strong performance in 2016 means the company is poised to make gains this year — if they play their cards right.

“Samsung needs to successfully launch the next Galaxy flagship phone to continue the momentum Galaxy S7 generated,” said Gartner’s Gupta. “And win back lost (Galaxy Note 7) customers by launching a new large screen and stylus-equipped smartphone.”

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