Anyone in doubt that Android is poised to be the Windows of the smartphone era, read on. Google’s market share of operating systems on smartphones leapt to 69,7% of the total market in the fourth quarter of 2012, from 51,3% a year earlier. That represents a 33% increase.
During the quarter, 144,7m smartphones were shipped running the Internet giant’s Android software.
This is according to new research from analyst firm Gartner.
The only other company to increase its market share significantly during the period was Microsoft, with its Windows Phone platform accounting for 3% of the market in the final quarter of 2012, up by 67% over the 1,8% market share it had in the same period in 2011.
Apple’s market share with iOS, meanwhile, fell to 20,9% from 23,6% previously, with 43,5m devices sold in the three months ended December 2012.
BlackBerry, which was until last month known as Research in Motion, has clearly felt a great deal of pain with its market share plummeting over the past year from 8,8% to just 3,5%. Just over 7,3m BlackBerry devices were sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 against 13,2m a year earlier.
If it continues shedding market share, it appears likely that Windows Phone will overtake the BlackBerry operating system as the third largest smartphone platform sooner rather than later. BlackBerry is, of course, fighting back hard with the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 software and Z10 and Q10 smartphones.
Samsung’s Bada was placed fourth in the fourth quarter of 2012 with a market share of 1,3% (2,1% previously), followed by Symbian, which is languishing at just 1,2%, from 11,6% a year ago.
According to Gartner, worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 1,75bn units in 2012, representing a 1,7% decline over 2011. However, smartphones continued to drive overall mobile phone sales, and the fourth quarter of 2012 saw record smartphone sales of 207,7m units, up by 38,3% from the same period last year.
“The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year.”
Demand for feature phones remained weak in 2012 and in the fourth quarter. Sales of these devices totalled 264,4m in the fourth quarter of 2012, down by 19,3% year on year.
Gartner analysts expect feature phones sales to continue to fall in 2013 and sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users to be close to 1bn units. Overall mobile phone sales to end users are estimated to reach 1,9bn units. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media
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