Google and Apple have strengthened their position as the leading smartphone platforms, with iOS and Android phones now accounting for 85% of the market.
According to new research by IDC for the second quarter of 2012, smartphone OS pioneers Symbian and BlackBerry saw their shares fall below 5%. The researchers said Android's success, which saw it amass a 68.1% share of all smartphones shipped during the second quarter, was largely down to Samsung. The Korean manufacturer accounted for 44% of all smartphones shipped during the three-month period.
Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC's mobile phone technology and trends program, said: 'Android continues to fire on all cylinders. 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.'
While demand for iOS phones has cooled since late last year, it still grew by 27.5% to take a 16.9% share, which was greater than the remaining operating systems combined.
BlackBerry, with a market share of 4.8%, hit a three and a half year low as shipments decreased by just over 40%. IDC said it was 'vulnerable' to competition, with the release of the BlackBerry 10 smartphones now expected in the first quarter of 2013.
Nokia's Symbian platform experienced a 62.9% drop, its largest ever, as the Finnish manufacturer continued its switch towards Windows Phone. Sales were particularly hit in markets such as China, central and eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa. However, the Microsoft operating system increased its share by 115.3% on last year to 3.5%.
IDC said: 'Though it's closing in on the third spot, Windows Phone is still a distant competitor to Android and iOS. Microsoft will need to generate additional momentum from Windows Phone 8 devices, which will be introduced this [autumn], if it is to narrow the share gap further between itself and the three mobile OS leaders.'
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC's worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker, said: 'The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS. 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.'
Editor: Graeme Neill