Thursday, May 16, 2013

Android and iOS control more than 90 percent of global smartphone market share: IDC

Market research firm IDC released its latest quarterly look at the global smartphone market on Thursday, and -- although it is still a two-horse race, with Android and iOS far ahead of anyone else -- there was a significant change to the rankings. Windows Phone has, for the first time, eclipsed BlackBerry in terms of platform market share.

In terms of Q1 2013, Windows Phone shipped 3.2 percent of devices, topping BlackBerry at 2.9 percent. It also posted the largest gain, year-over-year, showing a 133 percent increase in shipments (7 million devices shipped vs. 3 million in 2012, and a 3.2 percent market share vs. 2.0 percent in 2012).

BlackBerry, on the other hand, saw its market share drop from 6.4 percent in Q1 2012 to 2.9 percent in Q1 2013. In terms of unit volume, the company formerly known as RIM shipped 9.7 million devices in Q1 2012 vs. 6.4 million devices in Q1 2013, for a drop of 35.1 percent.

However, those two lead horses, Android and iOS, make up a dominant 92.3 percent of the market. Android is by far the leader, with 75 percent market share and 162.1 million devices shipped. In Q1 of 2012, Android had a 59.1 percent market share, and shipped 90.3 million devices. The increase was a second-only-to-Windows Phone 79.5 percent, year-over-year.

Apple on the other hand, sold 37.4 million devices vs. 35.1 in Q1 of 2012, for a modest 6.6 percent increase in devices shipped. Its market share, though, dropped to 17.3 percent in Q1 2013, vs. 23.0 percent in Q1 2012.

Despite the Android / iOS domination, IDC saw positives for Windows Phone.

Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team said:
Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape. Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives.

Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability.
However, Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker noted that Microsoft -- and key partner Nokia -- need to continue to show they are a valid option for consumers.
Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia.

Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alterative to Android or iOS.

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