Android and Apple handsets now account for nine out of every 10 smartphones sold, new research has shown.
Figures from research agency IDC showed there were 207.6 million phones running either operating system during the fourth quarter of 2012, up 70.2% on 2011. Android and Apple phones now account for 91.1% of the market.
Samsung remained the biggest driver of Android's success, accounting for 42.0% of all Android smartphone shipments. Its rivals trail far behind, with them holding a single digit share. In total, 159.8 million Android handsets were shifted during the quarter, up 88.0% on 2011.Apple's iOS share actually shrank slightly during the past 12 months, from 23% to 21%. However, the launch of the iPhone 5 and a low cost push of the iPhone 4 and 4S lead to shipments increasing by 29.2% to 47.8 million.
Microsoft was boosted by the launch of its Windows Phone 8 devices, with its shipments up 150.0% to 6.0 million. It has a share of 2.6%, which is still behind that of rival BlackBerry. The figures did not include sales of its new BlackBerry 10 platform and it saw its shipments fall 43.1% during the year to 7.4 million. It holds a 3.2% share of the smartphone market.
Ryan Reith, program manager with IDC's mobile device trackers, said: 'With the recent introduction of two new smartphone platforms we expect some ground to be made by the new entrants over the coming years. There is no question the road ahead is uphill for both Microsoft and BlackBerry, but history shows us consumers are open to change. Platform diversity is something not only the consumers have asked for, but also the operators.'
Author: Graeme Neill