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How Google Fares in a Peak Smartphone Age

The global smartphone business hasn’t quite peaked, but growth from here will be harder to come by. Oddly, that could be good for Google.

The Alphabet GOOGL -0.45 % -owned Web search giant already has a commanding position in the business. Its Android mobile operating system powered nearly 80% of smartphones sold last year, according to International Data Corp. Google has already released a developer preview of this year’s version of the operating system, dubbed Android N. A full launch is expected later this year, though the company is expected to showcase the software at its I/O developers conference this week.

Android’s prominence has put Google in the sights of European regulators, creating some long-term risk. And its position might look less impressive given growing signs of an unprecedented smartphone slump.

Global smartphone shipments for the first quarter were flat year over year for the first...