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Why the Smartphone Ecosystem Duopoly is Set

How can second-tier mobile device manufacturers innovate in a global marketplace that's dominated by the presence of two vendors that guide industry standards, shape design principles and lead the efforts of an established applications ecosystem?

The current assessment is that this continues to be a challenging scenario.

The ​ABI Research device portal sales channel analysis reveals tough times are ahead for most smartphone vendors, as the balance of power remains with Samsung and Google Android -- combined with the legacy Apple iPhone and iOS influence.

The smartphone market is entering a new, more mature stage in its growth, where execution rules over innovation. Samsung is dominating the mobile sales channel, with more than double the number devices on offer than any other vendor across the 13 markets and multiple online retailers studied.


"Our analysis showed that Samsung is dominating the sales channel at nearly every price point, with only Apple challenging Samsung at the high end of the market," said Nick Spencer, senior practice director at ABI Research.

This leaves little room for the other vendors to compete, especially the other Android vendors and those using uncompetitive operating system ecosystems.

Despite some carrier’s efforts to create a more balanced smartphone device vendor industry with their use of subsidy, ultimately they are obliged to fulfill consumer demand and at the moment that means Samsung/Android and Apple.

According to Spencer's assessment of the upside market opportunities, "The balance of power looks set to remain with Apple and Samsung for the foreseeable future."

The course of the smartphone market is looking increasingly set as it enters a more mature stage on the current innovation curve. This is bad news for the players vying for the third ecosystem position.

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