Canalys: Android powers 75% of smartphones shipped in Q1

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Close to three-fifths of all smartphones, tablets and notebooks shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2013 run Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system, independent analyst firm Canalys reports.

Manufacturers shipped 308.7 million smart mobile devices between January and March, Canalys states. Android powers 59.5 percent of all shipments. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS ranks a distant second at 19.3 percent, fueled by its strength in the smartphone and tablet markets, followed by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) at 18.1 percent, buoyed by its relative strength in the notebook segment. Rival platforms including BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) account for the remaining 3.1 percent.

Among the three device categories under the microscope, the tablet market continues to experience the fastest growth: Worldwide tablet shipments grew 106.1 percent year-over-year to 41.9 million units. Apple continues to lead tablet shipments with a 46.4 percent share, but Android-based rivals narrowed the iPad's lead for the third consecutive quarter.

"Spearheaded by Google and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), 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."

Canalys Q1 2013

Canalys: Close to three-fifths of all smartphones, tablets and notebooks shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2013 run Android.

Smartphone shipments eclipsed 216.3 million during the first quarter, up 47.9 percent over year-ago totals. Android accounted for 75.6 percent of all smartphone shipments, led by Samsung Electronics, which increased its volume 64.3 percent year-over-year to capture 32 percent market share. Apple's iPhone shipment volume grew just 6.7 percent over the first quarter of 2012, the smallest increase since the launch of the original iPhone back in mid-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. The iPhone user interface is now six years old and badly in need of a refresh. Hardware-wise, the biggest dilemma that Apple faces is what it does with the size of the display on the next iPhone. It cannot afford to ignore the trend for larger displays in premium smart phones. We expect an increase on the iPhone 5's 4-inch display but are not anticipating a 'phablet'-style iPhone."

Notebook PC shipments slipped to 50.5 million units, down 13.1 percent from year-ago totals. Western Europe led the decline, with shipments plummeting 25.2 percent on an annual basis. "While there are macroeconomic factors that contribute to this ongoing trend, the impact of tablets must not be understated," said Canalys Research Analyst Pin-Chen Tang. "The combination of ARM-based chipsets and Android has taken computing devices to new, lower price points. If Microsoft and Intel are serious about capitalizing on this exploding market, both will need to ensure that their OEMs can remain competitive on price."

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