There is little doubt that the smartphone world is dominated by two operating systems — Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
The latest market data released by the International Data Corporation (IDC), which showed that both these platforms accounted for 92.3 percent of all smartphone OS shipments during the first quarter of 2013, proves this dominance in numbers.
IDC says Android smartphone vendors and Apple shipped a total of 199.5 million devices worldwide during Q1 2013, which was up 59.1 percent from the 125.4 million units shipped during the same quarter in 2012.
Android remained the market leader with a 75 percent share of the market. The OS powered 162.1 million smartphones, 41.1 percent of which were manufactured by Samsung alone, thus making the Korean giant the clear leader among all Android smartphone vendors.
Apple iOS came in second in the list but suffered a year-on-year decline in market share, despite marking its largest-ever first quarter volume on the strength of its iPhone shipments. The Q1 2013 shipment of devices running on iOS touched 37.4 million units, accounting for 17.3 percent of the market share.
Although demand for iOS remains strong worldwide, IDC noted that the overall experience with the OS has remained largely the same since the first iPhone debuted in 2007. However, the scenario is expected to change soon as online rumors predict a massive overhaul of the user interface when iOS 7 is released this year.
“Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives. Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability,” remarked Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.
IDC’s figures correspond to the Q1 2013 sales numbers for Android and iOS, released by Gartner earlier this week. It is worth mentioning here that IDC data reflect shipments to channels while Gartner counts the number of units sold.
The IDC data also show shipments of Microsoft's Windows Phone leapfrogging BlackBerry's OS to claim third place behind Android and iOS. Windows Phone carved up a bigger slice of the market for itself in Q1-2013 with a 3.2 percent market share, while BlackBerry lost ground and fell to a 2.9 percent share during the quarter, down from 6.4 percent a year ago.
According to IDC, BlackBerry relied on its BB7 smartphones for the majority of its shipment volume, which, due to their lower prices, were well received within key markets.
“Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia,” said Kevin Restivo, IDC senior analyst. "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS."
Nokia accounted for 79 percent of all Windows Phone shipments during Q1 2013 contributing significantly to the Windows Phone’s largest year-on-year gain among the leading operating systems.
“Since Nokia began shipping Windows Phone devices, the company has shipped a total of 20.3 million units and grown the footprint worldwide to include multiple market segments,” IDC added.