By 5 November 2012 | Categories: news


After recently analysing the performance of the mobile phone market during Q3 2012, market research firm IDC (International Data Corporation) now provides a more detailed look at how smartphone operating systems (OSs) fared during this period. According to the company, web search giant Google’s Android mobile platform handled the operating on three out of every four smartphones that were shipped during Q3 2012.

The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker service revealed that a grand total of 136 million Android-running smartphones were shipped around the globe within the last quarter, amounting to 75% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped during Q3 2012. This phenomenal 91.5% year-over-year growth rate for Android is almost twice as much as the overall smartphone market growth rate of 46.4%.

All is well at the top

After already having surpassed the 100 million unit shipment mark within the previous quarter, Android reached a new record shipment tally for a single quarter during Q3 2012.

According to IDC, Android smartphone shipments during this quarter alone were more than the total amount of Android-powered smartphones shipped during 2007, which is the year that Android was officially announced.

Korean tech giant Samsung led the pack of Android OEMs (original equipment manufacturers); however the IDC added that the firm is experiencing a market share decline as numerous smaller vendors managed to boost their smartphone production.

Apple’s iOS was a distant second place to Android, but was the only other mobile platform that was able to amass double-digit (14.9%) market share for Q3 2012. The late quarter launch of the new iPhone 5, coupled with lower prices on older models, prevented total shipment volumes from slipping below Q3 2011 levels. The IDC said that in the absence of flashy new features like the iPhone 4S had with Siri in 2011, Apple relied on the new iPhone’s bigger screen real estate and LTE connectivity to drive growth.

Inline Table: IDC

RIM and Symbian showing their age

RIM (Research In Motion) experienced a 34.7% market share decline for its current BlackBerry OS running smartphones, resulting in a minor OS stake of just over 4%. IDC asserts that with the firm’s BlackBerry 10 devices still only launching in Q1 2013, RIM will continue to rely on its aging BlackBerry 7 platform, and equally long-in-the-tooth smartphone range, to hold onto its market share.

The analytics firm did note, however, that RIM’s BlackBerry devices and wildly popular BBM (BlackBerry Messaging) service retains strong performance within multiple key markets globally (mostly developing countries), with the number of subscribers continuing to grow.

Symbian posted the largest year-on-year decline (77.3%) for any of the leading mobile platforms, with Nokia remaining the largest vendor still supporting Symbian. Some of the other vendors offering OS update support for their older Symbian-running handsets include Fujitsu, Sharp, as well as Sony. The IDC is of the opinion that these firms are going to cease shipping Symbian-powered smartphones in 2013, but it expects the installed base of Symbian users to remain well after the last Symbian smartphone has shipped.

Windows Phone OS and Linux on the fringes

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS marked its second anniversary with a total of just 3.6 million smartphones shipped globally, which is even less than the total number for Symbian devices.

According to IDC, Microsoft’s smartphone OS is yet to make a significant dent into Android’s and iOS’s collective market share, even with the OEM support of various smartphone market leaders the likes of HTC, Nokia and Samsung. The analytics firm asserts that this may very well change within Q4 2012, when multiple Windows Phone 8 smartphones will be released.

Linux-based smartphone volumes declined for the third straight quarter as did its year-over-year growth, with Samsung still accounting for the majority of shipments. Like Samsung and Intel’s new Linux-based mobile platform Tizen, other vendors are also working on their penguin powered smartphone OSs such as Mozilla with Firefox OS, and new Finish firm Jolla with its MeeGo-evolution dubbed Sailfish.

Chart: Worldwide Smartphone OS Market Share, 2012Q3Description: IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker provides smart phone and feature phone market data in 60 countries and 8 regions by vendor, device type, air interface, operating systems and platforms, and generation. Over 20 additional technical segmentations are provided. The data is provided four times a year and includes historical and forecast trend analysis. For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 1-650-350-6423 or detail about this tracker can be found at: Samsung, Apple, Mobile Phone, Smartphone, IDC, tracker, Q3 2012, mobile phones, 3Q 2012, market share, galaxy, iPhone, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Linux, 2012Q3, AnniversaryAuthor: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” stated Ramon Llamas, research manager for Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker service added: “The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence. The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multifaceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

In related news, IDC also recently revealed that overall, IT spending in South Africa has increased by 7.1% year-on-year during 2011 to a grand total of $12.91 billion (more than R111.6 billion).


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