Open Menu Close Menu

Mobile Devices | News

Android Now on Three-Quarters of Smart Phones

Google's Android operating system is on more than three-quarters of all smart phones that shipped in 2013, with Apple's iOS making up most of the remainder. However, Windows smart phones are beginning to see substantial growth, with 2013 shipments in the tens of millions.

As we previously reported, in 2013, more than 1 billion smart phones were shipped worldwide — amounting to a new smart phone for roughly every seven human beings in the world.

Of those, 793.6 million (78.6 percent) were Android-powered, according to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. That's up 58.7 percent from 2012, when Android first surpassed the half-billion mark (500.1 million units).

"Android finished the year where it began: as the clear leader in the smartphone operating system race," according to IDC. "Samsung led all Android vendors with a commanding 39.5 percent share of shipments for the year. Worth watching is a crowded list of vendors jockeying for position in 2014, including Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Coolpad and Sony. Should Lenovo's bid to acquire Motorola Mobility be realized, the new company will leap ahead of Huawei, which was the No. 2 Android vendor in 2013."

A not-inconsequential 153.4 million smart phones that shipped in 2013 were powered by Apple's iOS, representing 15.2 percent of all smart phones. That was up 12.9 percent from 2012.

"iOS posted the lowest positive growth for both the quarter (6.7 percent) and for the year (12.9 percent), underperforming the overall market in both instances," according to IDC. "Although it remains wildly popular in the smartphone market, Apple has been criticized for not offering a new low-cost iPhone nor a large screen iPhone in 2013 to compete with other OEMs. IDC believes the company will release a large-screen version in 2014, but will not altogether abandon the smaller 4" screen version of previous models."

Meanwhile, Windows Phone continued to claw its way up from the bottom, coming to rest comfortably at No. 3. A total of 33.4 million Windows Phone devices shipped in 2013, up 90.9 percent from 2012, giving it a 3.3 percent market share.

"Windows Phone posted the largest increase for both the [fourth] quarter (46.7 percent) and the year (90.9 percent), with each nearly doubling the growth of the overall market," IDC reported. "Nokia easily led all vendors with 89.3 percent market share, a testament to its expanding portfolio that addressed entry-level all the way up to large-screen smartphones. What remains to be seen in 2014 is how Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's smart devices will propel volumes higher."

BlackBerry, which was No. 3 in 2012, fell to No. 4 in 2013. BlackBerry held 4.5 percent of the market in 2012 but tumbled to 1.9 percent in 2013 with 19.2 million units — down 40.9 percent from 2012.

"BlackBerry was the only operating system to realize negative year-over-year change both for the [fourth] quarter (-77.0 percent) and for the year (-40.9 percent). Moreover, its legacy BB7 outpaced BB10 towards the end of the year, definitely not the results that the company had hoped for when it released BB10 in January," according to IDC. "With new leadership, management, and a tighter focus on the enterprise market, BlackBerry may in a better position, but still finds itself having to evangelize the new platform to its user base.

In the "all others" category, shipments totaled 10 million units, or about 1 percent of the market, representing a decline of 74.6 percent from 2012.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

comments powered by Disqus