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2018 rewind: by the numbers

A lot has happened in the world of tech this year. Here's a look at some of the most significant numbers in the smartphone industry throughout 2018.

Published onDecember 31, 2018

Android phone by the numbers

2018 has been a year of excellent smartphones, pleasing and shocking news stories, as well as firsts and lasts for a number of tech companies. Here’s a look at some of the most significant numbers in the smartphone industry throughout the year.

1.48 billion: smartphones sold

Almost a billion and a half smartphones shipped this year, according to researcher estimates. It’s a hefty number to be sure, but this is actually a slight decline compared to previous years. Global smartphone shipments have been mostly flat since 2016, declining by roughly one percent this year, depending on which calculations you look at.

The global picture is made up of major growth in India and a few other newer markets. Meanwhile, traditional Western consumers are holding onto their smartphones for a little longer these days, hence the overall plateau. The picture will probably look very much the same in 2019, and this is expected to have a knock-on effect for some of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

300 million: Facebook pictures uploaded every day

That’s a pretty staggering number of pictures being uploaded every single day, and that’s just to Facebook. If you factored in Instagram, Google Photos, and various other sources the figure could be well over half a billion. Still, with over 2 billion consumers using some form of Facebook-owned service every single day, this much engagement perhaps isn’t so surprising.

It’s worth remembering this number when we look at arguably the biggest trend in smartphones this year — dual and triple cameras. Most of us document our lives through pictures, and the medium’s enduring popularity is why phone manufacturers pay so much more attention to camera designs these days, whether they use a wide range of camera lenses or follow Google’s pursuit of AI-assisted perfection.

$2,430: the price of the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS

Our bank accounts know about the increasing prices of flagship smartphones all too well, but the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS costs enough to make a Saudi Prince’s eyes water. The top of the line 512MB storage version of the phone retails for or around 2,095 euros or 1,990 pounds, putting it just south of $2,500 if the phone was available in the U.S. Ouch!

The Mate 20 RS isn’t the most expensive smartphone ever though — Vertu still retains that particular accolade. The company returned from bankruptcy this year with its $5,000 Aster P model, which you would have to be absolutely insane to cough up for a Snapdragon 660 powered handset.

$300: the cost of the POCOphone F1

You could buy eight Pocophone F1 handsets for the price of a single Mate 20 RS. Xiaomi’s affordable handset set a new bar for high performance on a budget in 2018, offering a Snapdragon 845 chipset for just 21,000 rupees (~$300).

Pocophone F1 vs OnePlus 6: Can POCOphone steal the crown?

Even though the cost of the average flagship phone is around the $1,000 mark today, Android continues to provide a diverse ecosystem catering to the wide range of consumer needs all around the globe. At $300 the POCO is one of the best bargains of the year.

19 percent: Samsung’s global market share

Samsung retained its spot as the world’s top smartphone manufacturer in 2018, accounting for 19 percent of global shipments in Q3 2018. That’s not really good news. Year-on-year shipments declined by 13 percent over the period, according to Counterpoint Research.

Its rival HUAWEI had a much better year, reaching 13 percent market share in Q3, up from 10 percent the year before. This squeezes the company ahead of Apple, although Cupertino tends to perform strongly at the end of the year following its latest iPhone releases.

36: days spent a year staring at your phone

Digital Wellbeing Hands-On

That’s right, according to an eMarketer report, the average U.S. adult spends 2 hours and 23 minutes on their smartphone each and every day, or 3 hours and 35 minutes once you throw other mobile gadgets like tablets into the mix. That’s 52,352 minutes, 872.53 hours, or 36.4 days on a phone each year. For some of us “power users,” that number will probably be much, much higher!

A few days in with Digital Wellbeing, and it’s already changing my life
Digital Wellbeing Hands-On

If you’re alarmed (I am!), there are tools to help you make changes to this frankly unhealthy habit. Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool unveiled during Google I/O 2018, is designed to help you keep tabs on your time spent on your phone. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Pixel and Android One smartphones running Pie at the moment. There are also some alternatives apps available on the Play Store.

4.3 billion euros: Google’s fine from the EU

The EU fined Google a record-breaking 4.3 billion euros earlier this year for imposing anti-competitive terms on companies using its Android OS. Google is contesting the ruling, which has kicked the check writing down the road a little bit, but this almost certainly won’t be the last fine Google has to contend with.

That’s more money than small countries like Tonga, Comoros, and Dominica make in a year combined — by a lot. You could buy three Buckingham Palaces, or three or four NFL teams with that money. However, Google makes around $30 billion in revenue per quarter and its parent company, Alphabet, turned over more than $100 billion last year. That’s just how crazy rich Google is.

78.3 million: monthly Fortnite players

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This is the featured image for the most controversial Android apps from 2018

You probably won’t find a bigger pop culture phenomenon this year than Fortnite. At last count, Epic confirmed 78.3 million peak monthly players across all support platforms, which includes the Android version of the game. There are also now over 200 million accounts registered for the game, so you’re almost bound to know someone who has played at some point.

I doubt anyone predicted a video game would garner more monthly players than the entire population of the United Kingdom after barely a year. Fortnite is expected to generate $2 billion in revenue for Epic this year, an equally impressive statistic for a free-to-play game.

650,811: votes cast for the Best of Android Reader’s Choice award

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Best of Android 2018 Reader's Choice

After 24 days and 23 different head-to-head matchups in our inaugural Best of Android Reader’s Choice award, Android Authority‘s most passionate readers spoke. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is your pick for the best phone this year.

Honorable mentions in the voting include the fan favorite OnePlus 6T, alongside the powerhouse HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro. Ultimately, your huge response to our Reader’s Choice award goes to show smartphone enthusiasm is alive and well in 2018. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to pick next year.

Next: The state of smartwatches and fitness trackers going into 2019