Three Out Of Four Smartphones Run On Android
November 2, 2012

Three Out Of Four Smartphones Run On Android

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

What´s the fun of having a war if there´s no tally from time to time?

While there are other contenders in the Great Smartphone War, the two front runners in terms of operating system are Apple´s iOS and Google´s Android. Whereas Apple´s iOS only belongs to one smartphone (iPhone), Android can be used for free and is found on nearly every other "Phone That Isn´t An iPhone." This widespread availability, in combination with being the alternative to Apple, makes it easier for Android to be the best iOS when it comes to market share.

Now, new totals from IDC claim that 3 out of every 4 smartphones (a solid 75%) run some version of Android, with total Android shipments reaching 136 million worldwide in the third quarter of 2012. This represents an impressive 91.5% year-over-year growth, nearly double the growth rate of the entire smartphone market.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” said mobile phone research manager at IDC, 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,” said Llamas.

Another analyst with IDC credits Android´s growth to Google´s total ecosystem, saying both Android and iOS excel at providing their users a total experience.

“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,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC in the press statement.

Apple´s iOS isn´t just second to Android, they´re a distant second, shipping 26.9 million units to Android´s 136 million. In Q3 2012, iOS managed to gain a 14.9% slice of the market share, quite a bit less than Android´s 75%. Yet, although Apple sits pretty far behind Android in terms of market share, IDC is careful to mention they were the only other company to end the third quarter with market share in the double digits.

Releasing the iPhone 5 so late in the quarter also helped boost these numbers, though IDC claims it was the i5´s hardware options, not the software, that drove sales.

The rest of the report is very familiar. For the second year in a row, Windows Phone has been able to ship 3.6 million units, giving them a paltry 2% share of the smartphone OS market. Windows Phone 8 has just been released, however, and its new features and new phones to run the OS could help drive sales in Q4.

RIM´s Blackberry continues to lag behind the competition ending up with just over 4% of the OS market share. This represents a 5.2% drop year-over-year for the struggling Canadian company who continues to place their hope and trust in Blackberry 10, which is slated for release next year.