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Android, iOS Crush BlackBerry Market Share

IDC's worldwide ranking of smartphone platforms sees RIM dip below 10% as Android and iOS continue to make big gains.
How IT Views RIM's Future: Exclusive Research
How IT Views RIM's Future: Exclusive Research
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Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform dropped from 13.6% of the world's smartphones in the first quarter of 2011 to just 6.4% of the world's smartphone in the first quarter of 2012, according to numbers released by IDC. The new stats show RIM's share dropping precipitously, while its competitors grow stronger and stronger.

Google's Android platform is the top platform worldwide, with 59.0% of market thanks to 89.9 million units shipped during the first quarter. Android grew an astonishing 145% year-over-year. Much of that growth can be attributed to the never-ending onslaught of new devices that range from entry-level handsets to flagship hero devices.

Apple's iOS platform follows Android with 23.0% and 35.1 million units shipped. It, too, saw massive growth with an 88.7% increase year-over-year. The iPhone 4S--even though it wasn't the iPhone 5 that everyone wanted--has proven to be a very popular device.

"The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC. "Neither Android nor iOS were the first to market with some of these features, but the way they made the smartphone experience intuitive and seamless has quickly earned a massive following."

[ What's in store for Android? Read Android 4.0: HTC, Motorola, Sony Chart Different Paths. ]

The next closest platform is Nokia's aging Symbian, which held onto just 6.8% of the market thanks to shipments of 10.4 million units. Its presence shrank 60.6% year-over-year. Sales of Symbian devices fell off a cliff a year ago when Nokia announced that it would transition away from Symbian in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

BlackBerry's 6.4% of market can be attributed to shipments of just 9.7 million smartphones. It wasn't too many quarters ago that RIM was shipping nearly double that number of smartphones. While the company resets itself with BlackBerry 10, its aging lineup of BlackBerry 7 devices aren't enticing buyers.

What's pathetic is that Linux actually managed to grow its market share to 2.3% on shipments of 3.5 million devices. Linux shipped more than Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 combined.

Microsoft's mobile platforms together held onto 2.2% of the worldwide smartphone thanks to shipments of about 3.3 million devices. This despite the fact that the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 saw decent sales across most markets in which they were available. IDC's numbers (thankfully) don't include the Lumia 900's contribution because it didn't launch on AT&T's network until April. Since the Lumia 900 has "exceeded expectations" at AT&T, there is some hope that Microsoft's struggling platform might eventually get off the ground.

"In order for operating system challengers to gain share, their creators and hardware partners need to secure developer loyalty," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. "This is true because developer intentions or enthusiasm for a particular operating system is typically a leading indicator of hardware sales success."

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