That places the operating system ahead of Apple’s iOS, at 17.7 percent of the market, and Windows Phone, at 1.1 percent.
“Android benefited from continued demand for affordable smartphones and from the slowdown of iOS units in the premium market in the fourth quarter of 2015,” Gartner research director Roberta Cozza wrote in a statement accompanying the data.
Android is present at all tiers of the smartphone market, from ultra-cheap devices all the way up to premium slabs. Those developers interested in building with Android should check out the SDK, which includes an emulator, debugger, libraries, and documentation and sample code. The current version of the OS, 6.0 (also known by its codename, “Marshmallow”), features some interesting APIs including fingerprint authentication, auto-backup for apps, voice interactions, and notifications.
Google will likely release the next iteration of the operating system this summer; if you believe the rumors, new features could include multi-window mode and enhanced messaging.
Once you’ve picked up on the basics of Android development, check out our articles on the benefits of switching to C++ for building Android apps, comparing development platform Android Studio to Eclipse (the granddaddy of IDEs), and setting up an Android development environment.
If you’re a mobile developer who chose to focus solely on Apple’s iOS over the past few years, Android might be worth another look; based on Gartner’s numbers, it’s certainly not going anywhere anytime soon.