Internet usage numbers for the month of March 2017 show that for the first time Android has overtaken Windows to become the world's most popular operating system.
Nudging ahead of the once-untouchable Windows by a tiny fraction, Android is now the world's most-used platform for getting online according to latest figures from StatCounter, the leading web usage tracker.
The trend of mobile internet use taking over from the desktop has been a familiar one for at least the past couple of years and represents a natural progression from the difference in devices shipped every year — more than a billion units with Android versus a little over 200 million PCs per year for Windows.
In developed markets, people have been tempted away from their desks by do-everything smartphones and fast 4G connections, while newcomers to the web in poorer countries have been finding their way online via a mobile phone as both their first and only connected device. Android has been the primary beneficiary of both of these trends, consuming practically the entire mobile market outside of Apple's iPhone and iPad.
But there's an inherent limitation to tracking internet usage via websites: mobile use happens in apps at least as much as it does in a browser, and StatCounter does not factor that in. That is why Apple's iOS looks so woefully behind in the chart above. And yet, that is also what makes Android's rise impressive: Google's mobile operating system is accelerating beyond Windows without the help of apps, just via the traditional browser.