Android, iOS Dominate Smartphone Platforms - InformationWeek

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8/8/2012
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Android, iOS Dominate Smartphone Platforms

Google's Android and Apple's iOS accounted for 85% of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter. Microsoft's Windows Phone made gains, but BlackBerry OS and Symbian lost ground.

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Android's dominance of the smartphone market is commanding, and perhaps overwhelming to some. Google's smartphone platform shipped on 68.1% of all smartphones sold during the second quarter of the year. Eight vendors shipped a combined 104.8 million Android smartphones, with Samsung responsible for almost half of those at 44% of all Android shipments. according to a research report from IDC. In total, Android's market presence grew more than 106% year-over-year.

Apple's iOS is a distant second, with shipments of 26 million units in the most recent quarter. Those shipments gave iOS a 16.9% share of the smartphone market during the second quarter. iOS grew at a much more modest pace when compared to Android and increased shipments by 27.5%.

Android and iOS's positions as the top two mobile platforms shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Android's 106% growth is certainly eye-popping. Android has four times the market share that iOS does. IDC attributed some of the drop-off in demand for iOS due to speculation about the iPhone 5's arrival in the next few months.

[ How well will the new iPhone from Apple do? Read Apple iPhone 5 Sales: 170 Million In 12 Months? ]

"Android continues to fire on all cylinders," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC. "The market was entreated to several flagship models from Android's handset partners, prices were well within reach to meet multiple budgetary needs, and the user experience from both Google and its handset partners boosted Android smartphones' utility far beyond simple telephony."

With Android and iOS accounting for 85% of all smartphone shipments during the last quarter, the other platforms are left fighting for the scraps.

Sales of BlackBerry devices plunged 40% compared to the year-ago quarter. RIM's aging BB7 platform accounted for a meager 4.8% of all smartphones purchased, with shipments of 7.4 million. IDC said that RIM's delay of BB10 until the end of the year has left it "vulnerable" to the competition.

Nokia's Symbian platform saw an even steeper plunge, dropping 62.9% year-over-year. Nokia's out-dated platform, which is being phased out by the Finnish phone maker, accounted for 4.4% of all smartphones purchased, with shipments of 6.8 million. IDC notes that Symbian's sinking sales can be blamed on Nokia's transition to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, and slackening demand for Symbian in Asian markets, which now prefer low-cost Android smartphones.

Speaking of Microsoft, its Windows Phone/Windows Mobile platforms continue to chug along. As with Android and iOS, it saw growth in the most recent quarter. Microsoft's two mobile platforms (one growing, one shrinking) managed to account for 3.5% of all smartphones shipped during the second quarter. With sales of 5.4 million, Windows Phone/Mobile saw a 115% increase in its market share. The growth can largely be attributed to Nokia's Lumia line of devices, which added two new models during the second quarter.

"The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. "With much of the world's mobile phone user base still operating feature phones, the smartphone OS market share battle is far from over. There is still room for some mobile OS competitors to gain share, although such efforts will become increasingly difficult as smartphone penetration increases."

Chart: Worldwide Smartphone OS Market Share, 2Q 2012Description: Tags: Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

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