Android World's Ahead Of Apple In The Mobile OS Market
February 8, 2013

Android World’s Ahead Of Apple In The Mobile OS Market

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

As Apple and Android fight for mobile dominance, analysts continue to play scorekeeper in the Great Smartphone War. And it looks like Android is far from being overtaken as top dog.

In a report published yesterday, analyst group Canalys said that smartphone sales have increased and that Android OS and Apple iOS are worlds apart when it comes to market share. However, while the 2 fiercest competitors in mobile may be separated by a cavernous divide, the analysts are saying the iPhone 5 has helped narrow the gap, boosting Apple´s overall mobile market share.

Looking at the big picture, Canalys said there were 438.1 million mobile phones sold last quarter, of which 216.5 million were smartphones. Of these, 69 percent ran some version of Google´s Android OS. Canalys noted that Samsung, Android´s largest partner, experienced some growth last quarter, increasing shipments by 78 percent. This growth, and that of other Chinese phone makers (such as Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE), helped drive Android shipments, though their global market share fell from 2011´s 74 percent.

The success of Apple´s iPhone 5, on the other hand, helped drive iOS market share up from 15 percent last year to 22 percent this year. While the divide between Android and iOS may be “colossal,” as noted by Pete Cunningham, principal analyst for Canalys, the divide has been narrowing.

Market shares for BlackBerry and Windows phone remained mostly unchanged at 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“BlackBerry, Microsoft and Nokia, as well as other Android vendors, have strategies and devices in place to attack, but the task is daunting to say the least,” said Cunningham in a statement.

“First-placed Samsung shipped 74 million more than Apple — the gaps are colossal. But there is still a big opportunity as smart phone penetration increases around the world“¦ Microsoft, BlackBerry and other new OS entrants, such as Mozilla, must make the OS switch as simple as possible and drive and localize their respective app and content ecosystems,” he added.

Looking to other handsets, Canalys found that Huawei finally made some strong moves, ending up in third place for the first time in Q4. ZTE followed in 4th place. Both companies are said to have performed well not only in their home country of China and elsewhere in the world, but also in the Apple and Samsung dominated US. In an analysis that´s likely to be quoted again and again in the debate over Apple´s “cheap” iPhone, Canalys attributes Huawei and ZTE´s success to their “portfolios of low-cost LTE smart phones.”

Lenovo rounds out the top 5, replacing Sony. Lenovo was also found to be the fastest growing manufacturer of the quarter, growing some 216 percent year-over-year and shipping 9.5 million more phones than the previous quarter. The phone maker, however, sold nearly all of their phones (98 percent) in China.

Lenovo´s inability to successfully move into other markets makes them an open target for acquisition, claims Canalys.

The interesting thing about these numbers (and any other industry analysis predictions) is the difference between “shipped” and “sold.” Apple, for instance, publicly announced just how many iOS devices and iPhones they sold in the previous quarter: 75 million and 47.8 million, respectively. Other phone manufacturers, such as Samsung, don´t often release specific sales numbers, forcing analysts to make predictions based on how many were shipped.

Shipped, obviously, is much different than sold, and shipped could very likely mean these devices have been shipped from the plant but are still resting in a retailer´s storage room. The Shipped Vs Sold debate aside, one thing is certain: Android mercilessly dominates iOS globally.

Here in America, however, it appears as if a small majority of us prefer Apple.