IDC: iOS and Android surge to new smartphone OS record

Android and iOS powered 85% of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2012 (2Q12), establishing a new combined high for the mobile operating systems from Google and Apple. Meanwhile, BlackBerry and Symbian, two pioneers and former leaders of the smartphone market, both saw their market shares fall below five percent. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Android amassed a commanding 68.1% market share of all smartphones shipped during the quarter, while BlackBerry and Symbian reached just 4.8% and 4.4% respectively.

“Android continues to fire on all cylinders,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. “The market was entreated to several flagship models from Android’s handset partners, prices were well within reach to meet multiple budgetary needs, and the user experience from both Google and its handset partners boosted Android smartphones’ utility far beyond simple telephony.”

“The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “With much of the world’s mobile phone user base still operating feature phones, the smartphone OS market share battle is far from over. There is still room for some mobile OS competitors to gain share, although such efforts will become increasingly difficult as smartphone penetration increases.”

Operating System Highlights

iOS posted double-digit growth, but not enough to keep up with the overall market. Demand for Apple’s flagship smartphone has cooled off now that the device has been available since October, and the rumors around the blogosphere have fueled speculation about a new design and features. Despite these trends, iOS remained the solid number two operating system behind Android worldwide, and greater than the total number of smartphones on the remaining platforms.

Android‘s success in the market can be traced directly to Samsung, which accounted for 44.0% of all Android smartphones shipped in 2Q12 and totaled more than the next seven Android vendors’ volumes combined. Meanwhile, the next seven vendors were a mix of companies re-establishing their strategies or growing volumes within key markets. Also not to be overlooked was the growing relevance of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with the release of numerous models worldwide.

BlackBerry, one of the pioneers and former leaders in the worldwide smartphone market, reached share levels not seen since the first quarter of 2009. BlackBerry has lost significant share to other operating systems in the consumer and enterprise segments. Now that RIM has delayed the release of new BlackBerry 10 smartphones out to 2013, BlackBerry remains vulnerable to the competition.

Symbian, for years the world’s most shipped OS, sunk to a new nadir last quarter. The 62.9% drop registered was its sharpest year-over-year drop ever. The decline of Symbian, precipitated by Nokia’s decision to make Windows Phone its primary smartphone OS, has accelerated due to lower sales in key economically developing geographies such as China as well as Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa.

Windows Phone 7/ Windows Mobile narrowed the gap between itself and BlackBerry last quarter in its bid to become the number 3 mobile OS in terms of market share. The share gains it made last quarter are due mostly to Nokia, which almost doubled its Lumia/Windows Phone shipments sequentially. Though it’s closing in on the third spot, Windows Phone is still a distant competitor to Android and iOS. Microsoft will need to generate additional momentum from Windows Phone 8 devices, which will be introduced this fall, if it is to narrow the share gap further between itself and the three mobile OS leaders.

Linux, a category largely comprised of Samsung’s Bada shipments, declined on a year-over year basis as Samsung’s smartphone sales are increasingly Android centric. In addition, Linux OS dependent vendors such as Panasonic are also migrating to Android, which contributed to the year-over-year decline.

Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q2 2012 (Units in Millions)
IDC: Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q2 2012 (Units in Millions)
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, August 8, 2012. Smartphone OS shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors. Unbranded phones, also referred to as “White Phones”, are included.

Source: International Data Corporation


  1. Just can’t wait until Samdung loses the case and has to pay damages and remove features. So I’m hoping that all these “shipped” numbers come back to bite them when they have to pay damages based on those numbers. I’ll bet they try to play the “sold” card instead. haha

  2. At my office, all of the management staff has an option for what kind of smartphone they want. We can have a fully paid for Samsung phone with Android or we can buy our own iPhones and get a 30% monthly reimbursement on the contract. Managers have to choose between Free and 30% off their bill. Despite this, more than half the managers use iPhones. My monthly bill is $69 after the subsidy. In other words, I would rather pay $69 month to use an iPhone rather than suffer with Samsung/Android. And I am not alone.

  3. Apple really needs to protect their dominant lead in the tablet space. If they give up as much as they are in smartphones they will still have industry leading profits, but will not be as dominant as they can and should be. iPad Mini (or whatever it’s called) is a must at this point.

  4. Which smartphones, Android or iOS, make more overall PROFIT?
    We know.

    Which smartphones, Android or iOS, have the highest QUALITY?
    We know.

    Which smartphones offer actual INNOVATION, as opposed to imitation?
    We know.

    Which is more important? Market share or profit?
    We know.

    As ever, cockroaches and rats VASTLY out number human beings. Which one is preferable?
    We know.

  5. let me see……………… Nokia and blackberry sales down 103% . of that Apple takes 25% of those customers, Samsung takes 75%. Apples market share is now down 2% to a lousy 16.9%.
    Windows fones up 113% – Um, i hate to point out the bleeding obvious, but if i was a Apple share holder id be selling, and quickly. Apple will never beat Samsung, thats pretty clear, and apple best watch out cause windows will be coming up the rear and with the samsung able to be dual booted to either android or windows who would bother with the NAZI fruit company. And with those types of apple profits people are not stupid, they punish companys that charge more than what they are worth. Oh well, apple at least made a go of it, will be a sad day when they are finally gone.

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