According to a new IDC report, Android and iOS together accounted for 85 percent of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2012, establishing a new combined high for the mobile operating systems from Google and Apple.
On the other hand, BlackBerry OS and Symbian saw their market shares drop below five percent. As per the report, Android amassed a commanding 68.1 percent market share of all smartphones shipped during the quarter while iOS got 16.9 percent of the market share. BlackBerry OS and Symbian reached just 4.8 percent and 4.4 percent respectively.
"Android continues to fire on all cylinders," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. "The market was entreated to several flagship models from Android's handset partners, prices were well within reach to meet multiple budgetary needs, and the user experience from both Google and its handset partners boosted Android smartphones' utility far beyond simple telephony."
"The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "With much of the world's mobile phone user base still operating feature phones, the smartphone OS market share battle is far from over. There is still room for some mobile OS competitors to gain share, although such efforts will become increasingly difficult as smartphone penetration increases."
According to IDC, Android's success in the market can be traced directly to Samsung, which accounted for 44 percent of all Android smartphones shipped in 2Q12 and totaled more than the next seven Android vendors' volumes combined. The growing relevance of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with the release of numerous models worldwide also contributed to Android's achievement.
Apple's iOS posted a double-digit growth, but not enough to keep up with the overall market. Demand for Apple's flagship smartphone has cooled off now that the device has been available since October, and the rumors around the blogosphere have fueled speculation about a new design and features, IDC reported.
When it comes to BlackBerry OS, it reached share levels not seen since the first quarter of 2009. It lost significant share to other operating systems in the consumer and enterprise segments. Now that RIM has delayed the release of new BlackBerry 10 smartphones out to 2013, BlackBerry OS remains vulnerable to the competition.
IDC said that Symbian's 62.9 percent drop was its sharpest year-over-year drop ever. The decline of Symbian, precipitated by Nokia's decision to make Windows Phone its primary smartphone OS, has accelerated due to lower sales in key economically developing geographies such as China as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa.
Windows Phone 7/ Windows Mobile, on the other hand, narrowed the gap between itself and BlackBerry OS last quarter in its bid to become the number 3 mobile OS in terms of market share. The share gains it made last quarter are due mostly to Nokia, which almost doubled its Lumia/Windows Phone shipments sequentially.
Linux, a category largely comprised of Samsung's Bada shipments, declined on a year-over year basis as Samsung's smartphone sales are increasingly Android-centric. In addition, Linux OS dependent vendors such as Panasonic are also migrating to Android, which contributed to the year-over-year decline.
Take a look at the statistics below: