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Report: Android Improves Smartphone Market Share to 81 Percent

Phones with Google's mobile operating system, Android, accounted for 81 percent of all smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2013, according to a new report from market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The market leader improved shipments from just under 140 million units during last year's third quarter to 211.6 million during the same period this year. Samsung represented nearly 40 percent of all Android phone sales and no other vendor accounted for more than single digits.

The smartphone market as a whole grew 39.9 percent from the third quarter of last year to the same period in 2013 "despite high saturation rates in a number of mature markets," according to an IDC news release.

During the same period, Microsoft's Windows Phone grew 156 percent, according to IDC, though it started at only 3.7 million units and its current share represents less than five percent of the market. Just over 93 percent of all Windows Phones sold in the quarter were made by Nokia, which was recently acquired by Microsoft.

"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team. "Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price. Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward."

iOS market share declined during the third quarter of 2013, from 14.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to 12.9 percent in the most recent quarter, though the total number of units shipped increased by nearly 7 million. Citing "soft demand in the weeks" before Apple released iOS 7, IDC said that the 9 million units sold in the final week of September might signal "another record quarter in terms of volumes, market share and year-over-year growth" for Apple's smartphones.

Blackberry saw it's share of the market cut by more than half, dropping to 1.7 percent from 4.1 percent in last year's third quarter, marking the "largest year-over-year decline among the leading operating systems," according to IDC. That loss represents a drop in shipments from 7.7 million in last year's quarter three to just 4.5 million during the same period this year.

The average selling price of smartphones dropped 12.5 percent in the quarter to $317. At the same time, sales of phablets, or smartphones with larger screens measuring 5-7 inches and that tend to be more expensive, increased from just three percent of the smartphone market during quarter three of 2012 to 21 percent in this year's third quarter.

 "We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple's inability to grow share in the third quarter," said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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