IDC: Android grabbed 75 percent of smartphone market in Q3

Android continues to gobble up the global smartphone market, based on the latest figures from IDC.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Android continues to top list after list when it comes to the smartphone market share.

According to the IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker quarterly report, Google's mobile operating system accounts for 75 percent of the international smartphone market share.

In plainer terms, that means three out of four smartphones out there run on Android.

IDC analysts made a point of how remarkable this is based on the fact that Android is only four years old. (But then again, the smartphone market itself is only slightly older, arguably really took off with the launch of the iPhone in 2007.)

Nevertheless, it's the sheer pace at which Android has covered this amount of ground that has caught the eye and praise from analysts.

Ramon Llamas, a research manager covering mobile phones at IDC, remarked in the report that Android itself has been one of the reasons the smartphone market has grown the way it has since 2008.

In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, approximately 136 million Android-based smartphone units shipped worldwide during the September quarter. IDC noted that Samsung was the primary leader in this regard, but pointed out that it slipped in comparison to some other OEM partners.

Apple made its way into a very distant second place with 14.9 percent of the market share and 26.9 million units shipped.

There are certainly a few reason why Apple is so far behind on a global (and domestic) level.

For one, there are simply many more Android-based smartphone models with more pricing and contract options worldwide than there are for the iPhone.

Second, it's worth remembering that the iPhone 5 debuted in September, so numbers for Apple could be higher at the end of the fourth quarter -- but don't expect iOS to overtake Android anytime soon.

One extra highlight from the Q3 IDC report is Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile.

Even ahead of the major release earlier this week, this OS saw a 140 percent positive point change on an annual basis, compared to 57.3 percent for iOS and 91.5 percent for Android.

Windows was also the only member of the top five mobile operating systems aside from Android and iOS to see positive market share changes. Both BlackBerry and Symbian, which placed ahead of Windows, dropped by 34.7 percent and 77.3 percent respectively.

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