Can Windows Phone bring a new challenge?

Summary:IDC's latest stats on smartphone market share paint a rosy picture for the Android-Apple iOS duopoly, while also sounding alarm bells for any challenger, most notably Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

IDC's latest stats on smartphone market share paint a rosy picture for the Android-Apple iOS duopoly, while also sounding alarm bells for any challenger, most notably Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

Simply put, Android and iOS control a whopping 82 per cent of the smartphone market. Android and Apple devices simply dominate with a combined market share of 82 per cent. Android's first-quarter market share was 59 per cent, and iOS had 23 per cent.

In other words, Android has the army, and Apple has the popularity and integrated phones.

The standings go like this:

If you're a challenger to the Android-Apple tag team, then these standings are simply depressing. RIM's market share has tanked 30 per cent from a year ago. Windows Phone hasn't really gotten any traction. Even Linux — fuelled by Samsung's Bada — is ahead of Windows Phone. And there's little marketing behind Bada. To wit: Samsung accounted for 81.6 per cent of all Linux smartphones.

As for Windows Phone, IDC said:

Windows Mobile/Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases, or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system.

Simply put, Windows Phone is going to need more than Nokia at this rate. Samsung already has Android and Windows Phone in the fold. Going forward, Microsoft may need Samsung, HTC and others to carry the Windows Phone torch.

The problem here is obvious: Windows Phone is a lovely mobile operating system, but it isn't materially better than others — not enough to entice consumers and businesses to sign up. Windows 8 may change that equation, but, frankly, we're running out of excuses for Windows Phone as a competitor.

RIM and its BlackBerry 10 platform could challenge, but we've heard about comebacks before.

Add it up, and it may be time for a new challenger completely. Amazon? Facebook? Anybody. After all, every smartphone buyer wants more competition and a third challenger. Right now, it's two powerhouses and a bunch of weaklings.

Via ZDNet US

Topics: Android, Google, Microsoft, Mobility, Windows

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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