Worldwide shipments of smartphones surpassed the one-billion mark for the first time in 2013, thanks to the continued upward momentum of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS mobile-operating systems, according to a new report released by International Data Corporation, or IDC, on Wednesday.
The IDC report said that Android and iOS together accounted for 95.7 percent of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 4.5 percentage points from the 91.2 percent share during the same period a year ago. In 2013, both platforms powered 93.8 percent of all smartphones shipped, a 6.1 percentage-point increase from the 87.7 percent share they had in 2012.
“Clearly, there was strong end-user demand for both Android and iOS products during the quarter and the year,” Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC, said in a statement. “Android relied on its long list of OEM partners, a broad and deep collection of devices, and price points that appealed to nearly every market segment. Apple's iOS, on the other hand, relied on nearly the opposite approach: a limited selection of Apple-only devices, whose prices trended higher than most.”
It was Samsung (KRX:005935), once again, which led all Android vendors with a 39.5 percent share of shipments for the year. According to IDC, it will be interesting to see how a crowded list of Android smartphone manufacturers, including Huawei, LG (KRX:066570), Lenovo (HKG:0992), Coolpad (HKG:2369) and Sony (NYSE:SNE), will be jockeying for position in 2014.
Apple’s iOS, IDC said, posted its lowest positive growth for both the quarter and for the year, underperforming the overall market in both instances.
“Although it remains wildly popular in the smartphone market, Apple has been criticized for not offering a new low-cost iPhone nor a large screen iPhone in 2013 to compete with other OEMs,” an IDC statement said.
However, the market research firm believes that Apple will release a large-screen version of its flagship iPhone in 2014, but will not altogether abandon the smaller 4-inch screen version of previous models.
Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone posted the largest increase for both the fourth quarter and the year, with each category nearly doubling the growth of the overall smartphone market, while BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) was the only operating system to suffer a negative year-on-year change both for the quarter and for the year.
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