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Apple and Android take 92 percent of smartphone market

28 Jan 2013
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Apple and Android accounted for a staggering 92 percent of all smartphones shipped in the final quarter 2012, according to new data from analysis house Strategy Analytics.

Overall a total of 217 million smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter, up from 157 million in the same quarter in 2011. Overall, global shipments for the year grew to 700 million, up from 490 million 2011.

This growth was dominated by Android, which saw its market share increase from 51.3 percent in 2011 to 68.4 percent in 2012. Overall this led to shipments of 479 million in 2012, almost double 2011.

Apple, meanwhile, saw its market share increase by just 0.4 percent to 19.4, while its shipments his 135 million in 2012, up from 93 million.

The strength of the two systems dominating the market underlines the challenge facing Microsoft with its Windows Phone 8 platform and Research in Motion (RIM) with its soon-to-be-unveiled BlackBerry 10 platform.

The influx of new operating systems to the market in 2013 will be the key focus for Android, as it seeks to maintain its position as the number one platform, according to Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

"Almost half a billion Android smartphones were shipped in total worldwide during 2012. Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time," he said.

"Android's challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen."

These alternative operating systems could gather some traction in the market, especially in emerging nations, according to analysts, although their chances at really competing with Android remain slim.

The chance of former top-dogs, like RIM, is also unclear.

"Despite the brief bump RIM will see from the launch of BB10, we expect its decline to continue longer term," said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum.

"Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don't expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms. There is little in the new platform that suggests it will have the compelling apps, content stores, or the broader ecosystem that consumers have come to expect in a competitive smartphone platform."

Despite a current upsurge in emerging markets for its devices, Dawson was also dubious that this trend would continue given Android's dominance.

"The current popularity of BlackBerry in emerging markets is likely to be short-lived, especially as Android based alternatives begin to flood the market at even lower prices."

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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