Android surges to 75 percent mobile OS market share, says IDC

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android took a 75 percent share of the smartphone operating system market in the third quarter, according to the latest research from IDC.

Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136 million units, accounting for three-quarters of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2012. Android's 91.5 percent year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4 percent, IDC found.

Second place went to Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS. It was the only other mobile OS to have double-digit market share for the quarter. IDC said that the late quarter launch of the iPhone 5 and lower prices on older models prevented total shipment volumes from slipping to third quarter 2011 levels. Without a new OS-driven feature like Siri in 2011 and FaceTime in 2010, the iPhone 5 relied on its larger screen and LTE connectivity to drive growth, the research firm noted.

Android's success has come at the expense of other operating systems besides Apple's iOS, observed Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC.

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 knagamine@idc.com.Further detail about this tracker can be found at:http://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?prod_id=37Tags: 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

"The smartphone operating system isn't an isolated product, it's a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to a loss of share for competitors with few exceptions," Restivo commented.

The market share of Research in Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry continued to drop, falling to a market share of just over 4 percent by the end of the quarter. IDC said that until the launch of BlackBerry 10 in 2013, BlackBerry will continue to rely on its aging BlackBerry 7 platform and mobile device lineup. Demand for BlackBerry and its instant messaging service is strong within multiple markets worldwide, and the number of subscribers continues to increase.

The troubled Symbian OS posted the largest year-on-year decline of the leading OSs. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) remains the largest vendor still supporting Symbian, along with Japanese vendors Fujitsu, Sharp and Sony. Each of these vendors is in the midst of transitioning to other operating systems. At the same time, the installed base of Symbian users will continue well after the last Symbian smartphone ships, IDC noted.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone marked its second anniversary with a total of just 3.6 million units shipped worldwide, fewer than the total number of Symbian units shipped. Even with the backing of multiple smartphone market leaders, the Windows Phone has yet to make a significant dent into the market shares of Android and iOS. IDC said this could change in the fourth quarter, when the Windows Phone 8 smartphones hits the market.

Linux volume declined for the third straight quarter as did its year-over-year growth. Samsung accounted for the majority of shipments, but like most other vendors competing with Linux-powered smartphones, most of its attention went towards Android instead, IDC noted.

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