Data & Research

3 out of every 4 smartphones now shipping runs Android

But Samsung's hold is slipping

3 out of every 4 smartphones now shipping runs Android
Despite growing iPhone shipments, the latest numbers published by IDC suggest Android's share of the smartphone market continues to grow.

Figures for the third quarter of 2012 suggest that Google's OS runs on three out of every four smartphones, with Android increasingly becoming the dominant platform on a global basis.

Small players

Android's continued growth comes at the expense of both Microsoft and RIM. BlackBerry shipments fell to 7.7 million units globally across the quarter.

To put that figure in some context, that's less than commentators claim iPhone 5 sold during its first week on sale. It's also down from the 11.8 million units RIM shipped during the same period in 2011, with any BlackBerry bounce back not likely until BB10 launches in 2013.



Windows Phone has also failed to make an impact to date according to IDC, with shipments accounting for just 2 percent market share. Nonetheless up, the figure of 3.6 million units shipped is actually up from the 1.5 million shipped a year previously.

"Even with the backing of multiple smartphone market leaders, Windows Phone has yet to make a significant dent into Android's and iOS's collective market share," summarised IDC.

"That could change in 4Q12, when multiple Windows Phone 8 smartphones will reach the market."

Slipping Samsung

The main race, however, is increasingly between Android and iOS, with Apple's platform now a long way off top dog with a share of under 15 percent.

Android itself, however, is becoming far more competitive, with IDC noting Samsung's market share declined during the quarter as "numerous smaller vendors increased their production."

"Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008," said research manager Ramon Llamas.

"In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher.

"Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market."

Right recipe

Android's dominance, however, presents a challenge for developers not keen on Google's OS – of which there are many.

The secret to both it and iOS's success, however, is no mystery to IDC.

"The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android's introduction isn't a coincidence," added senior research analysts Kevin Restivo.

"The smartphone operating system isn't an isolated product, it's a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not.

"This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions."

[source: IDC]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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