Android sales went into decline in Q4 of 2014, the first time ever the operating system has seen a dip in sales, with shipments falling from 217m in Q3 to 206m in the final three months of last year.
The news comes as Android celebrates 1bn smartphones sold in 2014, an impressive milestone that main competitor Apple is nowhere close to achieving for several years. However, with Apple dominating the high-end smartphone market and the rise of alternative operating systems, particularly in fast-growing emerging markets, Android is feeling the squeeze.
The figures, which come from ABI Research's report into smartphone sales, pointed towards Apple's massive growth at the end of last year as the main driver behind Android's fall.
With the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple saw 90 per cent growth in sales, from 39.3m to 74.5m. Apple's amazing finish to the year saw it take 93 per cent of all profits in the smartphone industry, despite its minority market share, and resulted in Samsung's figures taking a tumble.
For the first time in several years, the iPhone is outselling Android handsets in the US, while Android 'forks' – independently developed versions of the operating system that Google has little to no control over, are on the rise.
"Google's Android is being attacked by Apple's iOS at the high end and forked Android and AOSP (Android Open Source Project) at the low end in high growth emerging markets," said Nick Spencer, senior practice director of mobile devices at ABI Research. "The Android One initiative has slowed forked Android and AOSP growth outside China, but Apple's success has taken the high end of the market away from certified Android's premium tied vendors."