Android the top dog in smartphone market share

Posted by a staff writer

Together, Android and iOS make up a staggering 92.3 percent of all smartphone shipments for Q1 2013, at least according to IDC's latest worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker.

Shipments for the top two operating systems reached 199.5 million units globally for the first quarter, an increase of 59.1 percent compared to the previous year.

Android is indisputably the top dog in terms of market share, which seems to have been Google's plan all along: tempt the manufacturers with a quality OS to rival Apple's and flood the market. Samsung was leading the charge, holding an impressive 41.1 percent of the total Android vendor market. Many others maintained single digit market share but there were yet more with share of less than one percent.

IDC believes competition among the Android vendors has not leaned negatively on their overall mobile strategies but is shaking the market into each trying to come up with their own proprietary experiences on top of it.

Contrasted with its own performance, Apple's iOS was a record breaker - enjoying the biggest ever Q1 volume on the back of iPhone shipments. However, for the wider market it posted a yearly decline in both share and shipments. IDC mirrored other recent criticisms from the technology community: that although there is still demand for the iPhone, the iOS experience has been pretty much the same since the first model hit the market back in 2007 - which could change with the next iteration of the OS.

Windows Phone has picked up the pace compared to its sluggish debut, doubling its market share since last year thanks to Nokia's contribution. Nokia Windows Phone devices accounted for 79 percent of all shipped in the quarter. Although other vendors do ship Windows Phone, these are largely alternatives to flagship Android smartphones.

IDC believes the slow climb of Windows Phone - even with its measly shipment volumes of seven percent - represent some sincere support from both manufacturers and the consumer.

Blackberry's revamp from RIM does not yet show its potential. Although there are double digit declines from the same time last year, IDC recognises that Blackberry is trying to turn what punters thought was a last hurrah into something more viable and long term. IDC points out that BB7 smartphones made up the majority of shipment volumes, which was not necessarily bad news because their cheaper prices did seduce customers in the company's key markets. The jury is still out on BB10.

It won't surprise anyone that Symbian's popularity plunged: Nokia scrapped the OS and has moved on to Windows Phone instead, while remaining Japanese vendors who relied on Symbian have picked up Android. IDC believes there is a chance Symbian shipments will go on into 2014 but at even lower volumes.

Linux may yet win over some corners of the market with the launch of Mozilla, SailFish, Tizen and Ubuntu on the cards this year, however for now the open source alternative dropped to levels unheard of since the first quarter of 2010.