As the worldwide market for smartphone devices crosses the 300 million mark for the first time in history, Google’s Android OS dominates the sector with an 85 percent market share, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Apple’s iOS comes in at a distant second, taking only 11 percent of the market.
The report seems to put aside any hopes of a third mobile OS shouldering its way into the Android/iOS duopoly. Windows-based smartphones took only 2.5 percent of the market, while BlackBerry represented a paltry 0.5 percent of the global market.
"It's been an incredible upward slog for other OS players. Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5 percent share mark, while the backing of the world's largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Supreme Android Overlords
Android’s share of the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2014 represented 255.3 million units, a 33.3 percent increase over the same quarter last year. Although iOS posted year-over-year gains as well, its overall share of the market shrank as Android-based phones grew even more popular.
The numbers represent significant growth for Android, which nearly doubled its market share over the past three years. Most of that growth has come from phones designed by partner Samsung. Almost 30 percent of sales of Android-based phones came from devices by the Korean electronics manufacturer, although that number represents a significant drop from 40 percent two years ago.
The three largest mobile OS makers seem to cater to very different customers, according to the IDC. Around 60 percent of Android sales come in at less than $200, while Apple makes no effort to compete in the low-cost end of smartphones. The vast majority of iPhone sales, more than 80 percent, come from devices that cost more than $400.
Apart from the iPhone, literally every other OS on the market struggled to make any significant impact in what is increasingly an Android world. Windows managed to hold on to its spot as the distant third smartphone OS, but its share fell from the 3.4 percent it posted in 2013.
Microsoft may at least have a fighting chance as new OEM partners plan to produce more Windows phones in the future. Blackberry, on the other hand, appears to be on the verge of extinction in the smartphone market, as its share fell from 2.8 percent a year ago, and is now hanging on with just half a percent.
"Following three consecutive quarters of sequential decline, BlackBerry volumes have rebounded slightly from the previous quarter, but remain 78 percent lower than shipment levels from a year ago," according to the IDC report. "In keeping with its strategy, BlackBerry saw improvement within one of its key markets, Asia/Pacific, as well as some gains among users within North America and Western Europe."
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