3-29-androidsGartner published its latest smartphone market figures yesterday, and they’re notable because they cover sales to ‘end users’ – actual people, rather than shipments to retailers and operators.

The research has been making headlines for its claim that smartphones accounted for 51.8% of all mobile phone sales in the second quarter of this year: the first time they’ve surpassed sales of feature phones.

We think Gartner’s breakdown of sales by operating system is just as important though. It estimates that Android accounted for 79% of all smartphones sold in Q2: a cool 177.9m handsets. That’s up from a 64.2% share this time last year, with Apple having dropped from 18.8% to 14.2% in the same period.

That still means 31.9m iPhones sold in Q2, but Gartner’s focus on sales not shipments dents perceptions (often fuelled by Apple execs) that more Android devices than people think are languishing in warehouses.

Despite this scale, Android is still second in the priorities of many app developers – see estimates earlier this year that if you add app revenues from iOS and Android, Apple’s platform takes 73% of them.

But as industry analyst Benedict Evans noted earlier this week, as Android’s lead in terms of devices in hands continues to grow, developers and digital services will increasingly treat it equally to iOS, and perhaps even start seeing it as their lead platform.

There’s still some iOS v Android fun being had in the tablet market, though. A separate report published by Canalys yesterday claimed that 30% of the 50 top paid and 50 top free iPad apps still aren’t available for Android.

Although what wasn’t stated very clearly was the fact that of those 30 unavailable-on-Android apps, 11 are made by Apple – which of course doesn’t port its own apps to Android.

In any case, Music Ally’s view remains the same: the competition between Android and iOS, driving Apple and Google to innovate in each iteration of their software, is good news for everyone building apps and services, music included.