Mobile Learning: Why it's only about Apple and Android

Posted on March 6, 2016


When you create a mobile learning course you will want it to be accessible to all your users. You don't want them to have an incompatible device as that will mean they can’t access your course. Why then, do almost all mobile learning management systems only offer Apple and Android solutions?

While other types of phone are available, the reality is that in mobile learning, only Apple and Android counts.

iPhones, iPads and iPods are Apple devices that use the iOS operating system. Android is Google’s operating system, used on a wide range of different types of phones including Samsung, LG and HTC. Two other operating systems do exist in the market - Microsoft's Windows Phone platform and BlackBerry. When you go into a mobile phone shop you will probably be able to buy a device on any of these platforms - iOS, Android, Microsoft or BlackBerry. Why should you only care about Apple and Android users, then?

User Base

The simple reason is user base. According to the latest data from research firm Gartner, 98.4 percent of phones currently in use around the world are on the iOS or Android operating systems. That leaves just 1.6 percent for Windows, Blackberry and a handful of other obscure and rarely used operating systems.

World market share of mobile operating systems for the fourth quarter of 2015:

ApplevsAndroid

When you look at individual countries you see some variations, but the statistics are still heavily weighted towards Apple and Android. In the US, for example, ComScore research shows that 96.2 percent of mobile phone users are either on an Apple or Android device. This is a three month average ending December 2015:

USMarketShare

Google and Apple trade blows in the battle for market share, but everyone else is a minor player.

Predictions For The Future

What about trends though? Back in 2010, for example, the BlackBerry operating system was on 33.5 percent of devices and was the most widely used operating system in the world.

Current trends, however, show that Apple and Google are strengthening their grip on the mobile phone market. Both Microsoft and BlackBerry are losing market share, and there is no significant new players entering the market.

What This Means For Mobile Learning

Developing applications for multiple devices increases cost. This applies to mobile learning as much as it does to any other industry. It therefore comes down to a question of numbers – should you spend money developing a mobile learning course that is available on operating systems only a tiny percentage of potential learners are using?

Offering your mobile learning course on both Android and Apple is essential to reach the widest possible audience and ensure the best user experience. The other options available add no value, so are rarely worth considering. In mobile learning, all that matters is Android and iOS.


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