It's obvious that a large majority of smartphones run either Google Android or Apple iOS, but their share of the world market is still growing, to the point where these two utterly dominate.
According to market-research firm IDC, these two combined for 91.1% of all smartphone shipments during the fourth quarter of 2012. "The dominance of Android and Apple reached a new watermark in the fourth quarter," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team.
For the whole year, Android and iOS combined for 87.6% of the global market, up from 68.1% of the units shipped during 2011.
"Finding an Android smartphone for nearly any budget, taste, size, and price was all but guaranteed during 2012. As a result, Android was rewarded with market-beating growth, said Llamas.
"Likewise, demand for Apple's iPhone 5 kept iOS out in front and in the hands of many smartphone users," added Llamas. "At the same time, lower prices on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S brought iOS within reach of more users and sustained volume success of older models. Even with the Apple Maps debacle, iPhone owners were not deterred from purchasing new iPhones."
Is There Room for Anyone Else?
The growing dominance of Android and iOS raises questions about whether there's any chance for Microsoft Windows Phone and BlackBerry. IDC finds reason to be optimistic.
Ryan Reith, program manager with IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, said "There is no question the road ahead is uphill for both Microsoft and BlackBerry, but history shows us consumers are open to change. Platform diversity is something not only the consumers have asked for, but also the operators."
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