To understand why South Korean tech giant Samsung had such a terrible year, it helps to know how far they had to fall.

According to San Francisco-based mobile app research firm Apteligent’s latest “Mobile Year in Review” report, released Wednesday, Samsung’s now-discontinued Galaxy Note 7 was the most widely adopted Android device released last year by a wide enough margin that, despite a mandatory recall that will soon see the devices forcefully prevented from charging their batteries, the number still in use outweighs the combined number of LG V20, OnePlus 3T, and HTC 10 Evos currently in circulation, as seen in the chart below.

Apteligent graph
Courtesy Apteligent (click for larger version)

There is, fortunately, a silver lining for Samsung, as in spite of Google Inc.’s best efforts the company was behind all 10 of the world’s most popular Android devices last year, as seen below:

Courtesy Apteligent

That written, Samsung shouldn’t rest too comfortably on its laurels, since with the Note 7 removed from the equation the Pixel and its premium counterpart, the Pixel XL, came in second or third place among the most popular Android devices launched last year – behind the Sony Xperia XZ and (until Black Friday, anyway) the Motorola Moto Z, neither of which were manufactured by Samsung:

Apteligent graph
Courtesy Apteligent (click for larger version)

Meanwhile, September’s launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were about as successful as you would expect, accounting for more than 11 per cent of the iOS device market as the year limped to a close, though Apteligent uncovered a few cracks beneath Apple Inc.’s armour.

Apteligent graph
Courtesy Apteligent (click for larger version)

For example, the iPhone 7’s user base did not expand as quickly as its predecessor’s did, a fact Apteligent demonstrated by comparing the market share enjoyed by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus after their Sept. 19, 2014 launch with their successors:

Apteligent graph
Courtesy Apteligent (click for larger version)

And when it came to current adoption rates, there was simply no comparison. Not only are the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus currently in ninth and tenth place when it came to the most popular models among Apple’s user base, only five per cent of iPhone 6 users and 1.4 per cent of iPhone 6 Plus users upgraded their devices. The rest – perhaps heeding the advice of ITBusiness.ca’s own Andrei Barany – appear to be waiting for the inevitable iPhone 8.

Courtesy Apteligent

However, Apteligent noted that the majority of iPhone devices being replaced are either 6, 5S, or 6 Plus models, indicating that iOS device upgrades were concentrated on consumers with those devices.

You can read the full report, which also includes operating trends and global carrier performance (Canada came in fourth place – with a score of 60 out of 100) on Apteligent’s website.

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