IDC: Android, iOS grab 90 percent of global smartphone market

IDC: Android, iOS grab 90 percent of global smartphone market

Summary: Research firm IDC says Google-developed Android is now on three-quarters of all smartphones worldwide, while Apple's closed software-hardware ecosystem relegates the platform to a distant second-pace.


Latest figures from research firm IDC shows Google's Android mobile operating system is dominating the mobile market, with the software present on three-quarters of smartphones worldwide in the third quarter.

According to the figures, Android's gain is mostly thanks to the wide range of smartphone manufacturers adopting the software on a bevy of phones. According to comScore figures released today, Samsung retains a strong lead on the mobile OEM market. While Samsung's lead is due to a range of cheap feature phones and low-budget Android-powered smartphones, the company has seen strong success with its Galaxy range of smartphones, in particular the Galaxy S III, which has sold more than 30 million handsets in the three months since it first launched.

Meanwhile, 'underdog' Apple has only 14.9 percent of the mobile market as a result of its closed ecosystem and software exclusivity with the iPhone range.

Screen Shot 2012-11-02 at 16.25.32

By the numbers, Google's Android and Apple's iOS mobile platforms account for just shy of 90 percent of the overall smartphone market worldwide. 

Android shipped on 136 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012, taking in 75 percent of the global smartphone market; a year-over-year change of more than 90 percent. 

In comparison, iOS shipped on 26.9 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2012, taking a 14.9 percent of the global smartphone market, representing a 57 percent increase year-over-year.

Research in Motion's BlackBerry platform remains at third place and accounts for 7.7 percent of the worldwide smartphone market. However its market share continues to fall rapidly by 34 percent on the same quarter a year ago.

RIM faces further dwindling smartphone market share in the run-up to the launch of the next-generation BlackBerry 10 release, aimed for the first quarter of 2013, but some analysts believe the new range of QNX-based smartphones will not launch until the end of the three-month period.

Nokia's now-defunct Symbian platform declined the most in share, according to IDC, by more than 77 percent year-over-year. That said, Symbian's decline comes as a blessing for Nokia as it continues to plug the Windows Phone platform through its 'special relationship' with Microsoft. 

On that note, the biggest gainer of all the platforms is Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. Year-over-year it has seen a 140 percent increase in share on shipments. However, in spite of Nokia and Microsoft's relationship and the ongoing push for Lumia sales to bring up the Windows Phone share, the Microsoft mobile software still comes in fourth-place after Nokia. IDC pegs global shipments of Windows Phone-powered devices at just 3.6 million for the third quarter.

In the coming quarter, it's likely that Symbian's continued decline along with a range of new Windows Phone 8-powered smartphones could switch the third- and fourth-place around and see Windows Phone in fourth place.

Image credit: IDC.

Topics: Android, Apple, Google, iOS, iPhone, Mobile OS, Samsung, Smartphones

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  • Good for Android

    That's good, but the big of Android is the Fragmentation.
    • Nope

      Only ignorant call it "fragmentation" when it is freedom and giving customers a choice and teamwork from manufacturer and service providers.

      And only idiots separate Android and Linux, because Android IS Linux distribution.
      • Fragmentation it is

        When you have so many inconsistent distributions out there, it's a pain in the butt to write apps and thus create troubles for developers who therefore leave for more stable and mature platforms such as WP8.
        • yea, right

          Because it worked out so bad for windows.
          Windows OWNS the desktop market, there is vastly more fragmentation in widows than OSX and yet OSX is at what 7%??

          I could explain why "fragmentation" is a non issue from version 2.3 onwards. (Google's core apps are now version independent meaning 2.3 gets the same version of maps as 4.1)

          I could point out that that "pain in the butt" will be more and more worthwhile as the market shifts to the victor in the app war.

          As for stable and mature. WP8 will be the failure that WP7 was, and windows 8 will be a larger failure than vista. As for more mature, seriously? If you were talking about CE based hardware available since the early 90's, I would agree. But phone 8 and phone 7 are completely new. Yes I have used them, and I found them to be terrible.
          • Really?

            So when I look at my Maps app on my HTC TBolt running 2.3 it's the same maps app on a 4.1 device even though it's never been upgraded? How is this miracle possible? And if there is no fragmentation then why are there core apps on 4 that I'm unable to run on 2.3 such as Google's answer to Siri?
          • 2.3 Maps is still more useful iOS6 maps

            Just saying.
          • The version of maps app is updated.

            As with all Android apps, when the app is updated it can be made to support all features and benefits of whatever version of Android is present. Think of it like a Windows app that runs on XP, Vista and Windows 7, but can detect and use the advantages of each. In the case of maps there just aren't many features that need later versions of Android.
        • Re: When you have so many inconsistent distributions out there...

          As long as the same apps continue to run fine with both forward and backward compatibility, it's a bit of a stretch to call it "fragmentation", don't you think?

          Whereas, when a company (let's call it "Nongoogle") decides that versions of its OS (let's call it Nondroid") up to 6.5 are a dead end, so Nondroid 7 will be a fresh start with no compatibility with the older version, and then two years later gives up on Nondroid 7 as well and announces that Nondroid 8 will be yet another fresh start, with no compatibility with Nondroid 7...

          Now that, you might more reasonably think, could be described as just a teentsy bit fragmented, wouldn't you agree?
          • Making a mountain out of a molehill?

            Pick a current product, i'll be able to make the same statement work with that.

            What's with people trying to make mountains out of teentsy little mole hills?
            William Farrel
        • WP8 is a mature platform?

          you are smoking too strong dude, relax, maybe in 3 years you can call it a "mature platform", if it still exists, remember WP7? Remember the iPhone funeral when WP7 was launched?
          An OS that's unable to run in more than 1 core, the iPhone killer?
          I will tell you, for the developers I work with, is all about iOS. Is all about html5, because is the universal agnostic layer able to play in any platform or OS. iOS IS the mature platform. There is were is the money, & the reward.
          The fact sales at the Microsoft market are pitiful, you must be an die hard rockhead to be even considering that market.
      • Well

        Android is a Linux distro, but Linux is not Android. Android actually solved the real problem with Linux, that of binary released being (a) shunned and (b) impossible, due to minute and unimportant but widespread differences between distros.

        As for Android fragmentation, that's just something iFans like to mention, without even understanding the issue. Yeah, it's bad when an OEM releases a device with an older version of Android, worse when they drop that device for updates while it's still on store shelves. Google needs to work on this, and one of the missions for the Nexus devices is to show every other OEM that there are going to be products on the market shipped with the latest OS and kept current with new versions of Android. This is something most likely to be sorted out in the market, though Google could make changes in Android to make updates easier.

        But this is NOT a serious problem for the actual user. You're annoyed you can't get ICS or Jellybean or whatever, but that annoyance doesn't make your device any less usable. What's really critical is that applications work. Android has the best up/down compatibility of any mobile platform. Applications can ask for what they want, and if it's not available, do without. Most applications written since Android 1.6 run just dandy on a Jellybean tablet, for example.

        This unlike the real fragmentation in the other markets. iPad applications just don't run, by design, on phones. And Windows 7 Phone devices can't run Windows Phone 8 apps. Period. And of course, people bought Windows 7 Phone devices only a month or so ago, and have no chance of an upgrade to the new OS. Sure, they'll have a service pack (7.8) to make Windows 7 Phone look like Windows Phone 8. But all anyone really cares about is app compatibility.

        It's also naive beyond description to call Windows Phone 8 a "mature" platform. It's effectively as new as iOS was in the original iPhone, since it's not either a full version of the desktop Windows, nor does it have much of anything to do with the WinCE based Windows 7 Phone.

        And while Apple has been fairly good about updates, they dropped the original iPad for iOS 6, even though it was still on sale in 2011, maybe even sold new in 2012 in some shops.
        • Security updates are important. Upgrades are less important.

          Most users don't care about upgrades. They do care about receiving timely security updates for the Android OS as well as installed applications.

          Microsoft does a good job with security updates for Windows Phone OS, even if they don't support upgrades from 7.x to 8.x. If the applications continue to work and receive timely security updates, most customers will be satisfied.

          It's mainly techies that crave the latest and greatest OS version.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I can't get my 18month old iPad upgraded to iOS6

      Apple sucks. By the way 75% android and 14.9% iOS means Apple sucks.
      • RE: I can't get my 18month old iPad upgraded to iOS6

        It's possible that the original iPad doesn't do well with iOS 6. The real issue here is why Apple does not continue to provide support for iOS 5 in the form of security updates until iOS 7 is released. This would benefit all older iOS devices, not just the original iPad.

        On OS X, Apple supports two versions simultaneously, currently Lion and Mountain Lion. Why doesn't Apple support two versions of iOS, currently iOS 5 and 6, simultaneously?
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Id say relegated to 2nd has to do more with apples licensing and pricing.

    If apples phones were cheaper for carriers to sell and didnt get in between the carrier and the customer so much carriers would be selling a lot more iphones and a lot fewer androids. Most android buyers dont give a crap about apples hardware and software ecosystem being closed.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Personally

      Given that Apple keeps my iPhone's OS updated without carrier "testing" and there is NO carrier crapware on my iPhone vs VZW still "testing" the ICS update for the HTC TBolt that was supposed to have been out in September and there is carrier crapware that I am unable to get rid of (not without rooting) I'll take Apple getting " between the carrier and the customer..."
      • No testing?

        Your carrier may not test, but decent ones do. You won't find any test results anywhere, though. Apple are very secretive and lock up the results in NDAs.
  • Let's Read Between the Lines

    If Samsung sold 30 million Galaxy S3s in the last 3 months and Apple sold 26.9 million unit with iOS, doesn't that mean that the S3 is now the top selling phone?

    And if developers target iOS because of limited fragmentation, then the S3 would be a better target now, right?
    • S3 sales are not from "last 3 months", those are from the beginning of ...

      ... sales of the devices in May. It took half year to reach this figure. iPhone 5 will beat that in two months, thrice faster.

      However, Samsung's mobile unit grows faster than Apple. So if Apple will want to keep #1 phone model in the world spot, it has to push very hard.
  • This is no real surprise

    Android has 4 OEMs churning out several different models that run the gamut for price points while Apple has 1 OEM and 3 models total... Android's success has come from flooding the market. Breaking down the sales per OEM however shows that Apple is ranked #3 in sales just behind LG with Samsung being #1 in sales. for a link to an article that has the per OEM breakdown.

    Personally I find it odd that Samsung is doing so well with crap hardware - HTC makes a far better device IMHE than Samsung.