Android Continues March Toward World Marketshare Domination

We’re checking out IDC’s newest report for the first quarter of 2012 showing Google’s Android platform continuing it’s march toward global domination as its market-share climbs to 59%, with Apple a distant second at 23%. Also of little surprise was Samsung’s 45.4% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide.

The first quarter of 2012 saw a total of 152.3 million smartphones shipped of which 89.9 million were Android smartphones, 35.1 million were iOS followed by 10.4 million Symbian-based followed by Blackberry, Linux and Windows Phone. Poor Blackberry, won’t someone just buy them already?

“The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with. Neither Android nor iOS were the first to market with some of these features, but the way they made the smartphone experience intuitive and seamless has quickly earned a massive following,” IDC analyst Ramos Llamas said.

One notable comment that we feel should be made here is the variance that different reporting agencies provide and depending on which report you read, the numbers can vary by a little or a lot. For example, the IDC assigned a higher estimate of Android sales against that of the other three reporting agencies. IDC estimated 89.9 million Android units sold against Strategy Analytics report showing 81 million. No reason was given for the variance in numbers so we can only assume that each agency has their own calculation methods. Though a 9 million unit gap is noticeable and has us questioning what IDC is counting or Strategy Analytics is missing?

As the Galaxy S III looms on the horizon with close to 9 million pre-order shipments, Android market-share is poised to continue its meteoric growth. One thing we can’t discount is the Samsung, HTC and Apple patent wars as we hope there aren’t any more custom hold-ups that will prevent future Android shipments from reaching the end customer.



Full Press Release:

Android- and iOS-Powered Smartphones Expand Their Share of the Market in the First Quarter, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. May 24, 2012 – Smartphones powered by the Android and iOS mobile operating systems accounted for more than eight out of ten smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the mobile operating systems held shares of 59.0% and 23.0% respectively of the 152.3 million smartphones shipped in 1Q12. During the first quarter of 2011, the two operating systems held a combined share of 54.4%. The share gains mean that Android and iOS have successfully distanced themselves from previous market leaders Symbian and BlackBerry, as well as Linux and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile.

“The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. “Neither Android nor iOS were the first to market with some of these features, but the way they made the smartphone experience intuitive and seamless has quickly earned a massive following.”

“In order for operating system challengers to gain share, their creators and hardware partners need to secure developer loyalty,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program. “This is true because developer intentions or enthusiasm for a particular operating system is typically a leading indicator of hardware sales success.”

Operating System Highlights

Android finished the quarter as the overall leader among the mobile operating systems, accounting for more than half of all smartphone shipments. In addition, Android boasted the longest list of smartphone vendor partners. Samsung was the largest contributor to Android’s success, accounting for 45.4% of all Android-based smartphone shipments. But beyond Samsung was a mix of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

iOS recorded strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S following the holiday quarter and the addition of numerous mobile operators offering the iPhone for the first time. Although end-user demand remains high, the iPhone’s popularity brings additional operational pressures for mobile operators through subsidy and data revenue sharing policies.

Symbian posted the largest year-over-year decline, a result driven by Nokia’s transition to Windows Phone. But even as Symbian volumes have decreased, there continues to be demand for the OS from the most ardent of users. In addition, Nokia continues to support Symbian, as evidenced by the PureView initiative on the Nokia 808. Still, as Nokia emphasizes Windows Phone, IDC expects further declines for Symbian for the rest of this year.

BlackBerry continued on its downward trajectory as demand for older BlackBerry devices decreased and the market awaits the official release of BB 10 smartphones later this year. In addition, many companies now permit users to bring their own smartphones, allowing competitor operating systems to take away from BlackBerry’s market share. Although RIM has not officially released BB 10, initial glimpses of the platform have shown improvement.

Linux maintained its small presence in the worldwide smartphone market, thanks in large part to Samsung’s continued emphasis on bada. By the end of the quarter, Samsung accounted for 81.6% of all Linux-powered smartphones, a 3.6% share gain versus the prior-year period. Other vendors, meanwhile, have been experimenting with Android to drive volume. Still, Linux’s fortunes are closely tied to Samsung’s strategy, which already encompasses Android, Windows Phone, and later this year, Tizen.

Windows Mobile/Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system.

Top Six Smartphone Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, 2012 Q1 (Units in Millions)

1Q12 Mobile Operating 1Q12 Unit Market

System Shipments Share

Android 89.9 59.0% iOS 35.1 23.0% Symbian 10.4 6.8% BlackBerry OS 9.7 6.4% Linux 3.5 2.3% Windows Phone

7/Windows Mobile 3.3 2.2% Other 0.4 0.3%

T otal 152.3 100.0%

1Q11 Unit Shipments

36.7 18.6 26.4 13.8


2.6 0.3


1Q11 Market Share

36.1% 18.3% 26.0% 13.6%


2.6% 0.3%


Year-over- Year Change

145.0% 88.7% -60.6% -29.7% 9.4%

26.9% 33.3%


Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, May 24, 2012

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  • Frigadroid


  • MarcusDW

    Go Google/Android!!  “This is madness”

    • Yutub Nagatomo

      Gay.. What’s the point of google domination? I hope windows and blackberry stay viable. The more competition the better for consumers. A simple feature like email still sucks on Android, iOS, and Symbian.

  • Magenta Man

    Love it!!! Death to the greedy fruit!!!

  • Levizzzle

    This means that more than twice of your friends have android phones and can share the same apps and memories lol

  • J-Hop2o6

    You really need a ‘Press Release’ button like Engadget David, lol.

    •  Oh please. TmoNews is far better than Engadget. Let’s keep it that way :P lol

      • J-Hop2o6

        0.o I never said anything on which site is better, but that whole press release needs to be compressed into a button, like Engadget does.

  • no2apple

    YES.. Android FTW.

    Please release a tablet with HD screen already… I like the ipad 3 I got now but somewhere something is missing..

  • There has been such a nice growth with android. As long as they keep coming out with better phones. The only thing that kills me is these very slow updates. By the time you get the newest update to your current phone there is a new phone out that you just have to get!

  • LinuxFrenzy

    Nope I hope Windows and Blackberry die a very painful and slow death.

  • The major reason Android is winning is because you can get Android on just about any carrier, including most of the prepaid ones like Metro, Virgin, Boost, Net10, and Straight Talk. The first time phone buyer can easily walk into Radio Shack and pick up an LG Venture (Android 2.3) on Virgin Mobile for $79 with no contract. Good luck doing that for an iPhone.
    With Android of course though, there’s so much fragmentation you don’t know if your apps will across devices. At least with iOS, Apple themselves release the updates while with Android you have to hope your carrier will give you an update which half the time doesn’t happen. 

    • Xavier

      apparently update issues aren’t preventing it’s growth….as annoying as it is…buyers are choosing to go that route.

      • Bokebo

        You’re right. Half of people don’t CARE what android version they are running, and the other half MAKE their own! lol

    • With Google purchasing Moto, and them announcing that they will be releasing multiple Nexus phones, all pure Android and without and carrier interference…the fragmentation will become less of an issue. Google learned their lesson, and I have a feeling they’re playing for reals now.

    • James

      I agree. I use a galaxy nexus, and have owned every high-end android phone t-mobile ever carried (because I worked there for several years), and every time I buy a new phone, I have to lose at least one app I’ve paid for if not more, even with the Nexus. Its a shame, because I find it hard to justify app purchases, considering I may lose them when I upgrade. 
      I may just go with the next iPhone if they enlarge the screen.

  • WW

    What the hell smartphone runs pure Linux?