Continuing its lead in the global mobile marketplace, Google’s Android operating system powered 59.5 percent of 308.7 million smartphones, tablets and notebooks shipped in the first quarter of this year, according to a new report by research firm Canalys.
The report stated that with nearly 310 million smart mobile devices shipped worldwide, the market segment saw a year-on-year growth of 37.4 percent. Of the OS vendors, other than Android, Apple accounted for 19.3 percent of the market, while Microsoft gained 18.1 percent of the market share that “reflects its relative strength in the PC market but continued challenger status in the smartphone space.”
Among three platforms (smartphones, tablets and notebooks), it was the tablet market that continued to grow the fastest as the worldwide tablet shipments grew 106.1 percent year-on-year to 41.9 million units. Although Apple led the way with a 46.4 percent share of the worldwide market, it lost share to its Android-based rivals for the third consecutive quarter.
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“Spearheaded by Google and Amazon, the commoditization of the tablet market has happened far quicker than that of the wider PC market,” said Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Coulling. “Profit margins are being squeezed and vendors without a low cost structure will find it hard to compete. A solid range of must-have accessories and a software and services strategy are vital as vendors will increasingly need to make revenue around their devices.”
When it comes to smartphones, shipments hit 216.3 million units that represent a growth of 47.9 percent. Android handsets accounted for 75.6 percent of total smartphone shipments, with Samsung leading the way once again. The company saw a volume growth by 64.3 percent year-on-year that helped its market share surpass 32 percent.
On the other hand, Apple saw modest annual growth of 6.7 percent in its smartphone shipments – the lowest level since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007.
"Despite its slowing growth, Apple still shipped over 37 million iPhones," said Canalys Principal Analyst Pete Cunningham. “But HTC and Samsung have raised the bar with their latest handsets and Apple needs to respond with its next iPhone."
Huawei, LG and ZTE completed the top five smartphone vendors, all with less than 5 percent market share each. Notebook shipments totaled 50.5 million units, once again contracting during the quarter by 13.1 percent compared with the same period last year. The biggest decline was in Western Europe, where shipments fell by 25.2 percent on an annual basis, the report said.