It's not even remotely close. Google's Android platform is so far ahead of the competing mobile operating systems, it's a wonder the others bother at all. New numbers from IDC show Android is the clear leader, with iOS and Windows Phone trailing far, far behind. Apple and Microsoft have little chance of chipping away at Google's market position.
Smartphone makers shipped 301.5 million devices during the second quarter of 2013, IDC said. Of those, Android accounted for a whopping 255.3 million -- a commanding 84.7% of the worldwide smartphone market. Android owned 79.6% of the market in the year-ago period. Its growth came at the expense of iOS and Windows Phone, both of which declined year-over-year.
Apple's iOS platform shipped on 35.2 million of the 301.3 million devices, giving it a share of 11.7%. That's down from 13% in the year-ago period. Apple's iPhone shipment volumes increased by 12.7% year-to-year, but Google's shipment volumes jumped by 33.3%. IDC says much of the growth came from emerging markets.
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"With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "During the second quarter, 58.6% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices. With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher."
Windows Phone and BlackBerry are barely holding on. Microsoft and Nokia shipped 7.4 million Windows Phones during the second quarter, which is down from the 8.2 million shipped in the year-ago period. Microsoft saw its share of the smartphone market drop from a meager 3.2% last year to just 2.5% this year. In the US, Windows Phone holds just 1.5% of the market. IDC says Windows Phones actually made gains compared to the first quarter, but that's clearly not saying much.
At BlackBerry, the bottom has pretty much fallen out. The company shipped just 1.5 million devices during the second quarter, down 78% from the 6.7 million it shipped in the year-ago period. Its share dropped from 2.8% to 0.5%.
Android shipped on 170 times as many smartphones as BlackBerry did.
"It's been an incredible upward slog for other OS players – Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5% share mark, while the backing of the world's largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight," said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC. With Microsoft and BlackBerry flailing at the bottom of the market, it makes one question the sanity of those looking to break into the market. What chance do Sailfish OS, Ubuntu, Tizen, and others have if Microsoft and BlackBerry can't compete?
Things may change direction this fall. Apple is preparing two new iPhones for an early September introduction. The iPhones will be the first to offer larger screens (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches). The thinking is that larger screens will woo back consumers who left for the giganto-phones offered by Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. The larger iPhones could help Apple regain marketshare it has lost to Google's Android platform.
IT must support employees on the go as well as build mobile apps for customers. Both initiatives still have a long way to go. Get the new Frictionless IT: Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today (free registration required).Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio