Android is challenging Windows as the world’s most popular operating system, according to web analytics service StatCounter.

Describing the findings as “unthinkable five years ago”, StatCounter said that Android is challenging Windows as the world’s most popular operating system in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile combined.

StatCounter said that in February 2017, although Windows remained top of worldwide operating system internet usage market share with 38.6 per cent, Android came “within striking distance” with 37.4 per cent.

Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, said: “The idea of Android almost matching Windows would have been unthinkable five years ago. In January 2012, Windows held 82 per cent global internet usage share compared to just 2.2 per cent for Android.”

He said that the development was a result of the growth of smartphones to access the internet and a slowdown in sales of traditional desktops, as well as the impact that Asia has had on the global market. In Asia, Android is now used for 51.8 per cent of internet usage, compared to 29.8 per cent for Windows.

Mr Cullen’s firm found that Windows does still dominate the global operating system desktop market – in both PCs and laptops – with a huge 84.1 per cent internet usage share in February.

He explained: “Windows has won the desktop war but the battlefield has moved on.”

Recently, StatCounter reported that in October 2016, internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop and laptop worldwide for the first time.

In Europe and North America, Windows is still the top operating system for internet usage, according to StatCounter. In North America, it maintained a 40.7 per cent share in February, followed by iOS (24.9per cent) and Android (20.3 per cent).

Meanwhile, in Europe, 51.8 per cent of internet browsing is done on Windows, with 23.5 per cent being carried out using Android.

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