Smartphones running Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android operating system are outshining the rest of the smartphone market, says a new report from market researcher IDC.
Both Android and iOS have seen their share of the smartphone market grow progressively over the last twelve months, with Android accounting for 59% of the smartphone market and iOS 23%. During the first quarter of 2011 Android and iOS accounted for a combined share of 54.4%.
"The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with," says 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."
Previous market leader Symbian saw a sharp decline over the last year as Nokia transitioned to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. BlackBerry was also on a downwards spiral falling from 13.6% of the market in 2011 to 6.1% in 2012.
While Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile currently accounts for just 2.2% of the market, the platform is expected to show moderately increased growth in the latter half of the year and beyond as both Nokia and Microsoft boost WP7 sales volumes. IDC notes that platform growth will be slow until “Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones.”
A separate report from analyst firm ABI Research suggests shipments of “phablets” -- devices that are bigger than smartphones but smaller than tablets -- such as the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Note will exceed 208 million units globally by 2015.
“One of the chief drivers for phablets is the amount of time people use their smartphones for web browsing, reading articles and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys,” says senior ABI analyst Joshua Flood. “The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user’s experience when compared to conventional-sized touchscreens between 3.5 to 4 inches.” Additionally, new phablet-styled devices provide an attractive two-in-one device proposition and are beginning to see the competition between these larger smartphone form factors and smaller media tablets (less than seven inches)."