Android, iOS power record-high 92% of smartphone shipments in Q4


Worldwide smartphone shipments increased 38 percent annually in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 217 million units, fueled by surging demand for devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, research firm Strategy Analytics reports.

Manufacturers shipped an estimated 152.1 million Android phones during the final three months of 2012, nearly doubling from 80.6 million units during the year-ago period. While Android now controls 70.1 percent of the global smartphone market, Apple shipped 47.8 million iPhones during the fourth quarter--up from 37 million a year ago--corresponding to a market share of 22 percent, down from 23.6 percent in late 2011.

"Combined together, Apple and Android accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in the fourth quarter of 2012," Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Scott Bicheno said. "The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs." Rival platforms like Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone accounted for the remaining 7.9 percent of international shipments.

Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, up from 490.5 million units the previous year, Strategy Analytics reports. "Global shipment growth slowed from 64 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012 as penetration of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe," added Senior Analyst Neil Shah.

Android and iOS together power 92% of smartphones shipped globally in Q4.

Despite Android's global dominance, Apple is still making significant gains in its home market: iOS powered 51.2 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the 12-week period ending Dec. 23, 2012, up from 44.9 percent in the year-ago period, according to data published last week by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android fueled 44.2 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the survey period, essentially unchanged from 44.8 percent in the period ending Dec. 25, 2011.

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