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Android Smart Phones To Approach 1 Billion in 2014

Smart phones running on Google's Android OS will approach 1 billion units by the end of this year, according to a new forecast from market research firm Gartner.

In 2013, Android phones accounted for 78.4 percent of all smart phone sales to end users worldwide, or 758.7 million units. In 2013, total worldwide smart phone sales were 967.8 million, by Gartner's reckoning. (Note that we have reported different smart phone statistics in the last couple weeks. Gartner and International Data Corp. both provide worldwide statistics on technology shipments and sales, but the two often differ on their final numbers. IDC had total 2013 shipments at slightly more than 1 billion, with Android phones accounting for 793.6 million units. IDC reported "unit shipments," while Gartner reported "sales to end users." Not all devices that are shipped by manufacturers wind up being sold to end users, which may account for some of the variance in the figures reported by the two firms.)

For Android, that's up 12 points from a market share of 66.4 percent last year on shipments of 451.6 million units, when total worldwide smart phone shipments were just 680.1 million.

According to Gartner, Android will continue to ride that momentum in 2014, with the year's total shipments coming in around 1 billion units.

Samsung continued to lead the Android pack. The Korean company shipped 299.8 million units in the year, capturing 31 percent of the total market and nearly doubling the sales of its next-nearest rival, Apple. Samsung did experience a slight dip in the fourth quarter (1.6 points in market share) on 83.3 million units, up from 64.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to Gartner: "While Samsung's smartphone share was up in 2013 it slightly fell by 1.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions. It remains critical for Samsung to continue to build on its technology leadership at the high end. Samsung will also need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment."

Apple's iOS, meanwhile, took 15.6 percent of the end user market on sales of 150.8 million units in 2013, up from 130.1 million units in 2012. However, Apple lost market share during the year, dropping from 19.1 percent in 2012 to 15.6 percent in 2013.

"Strong sales of the iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple see record sales of 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013," according to Gartner. Though Apple lost share for the year and the fourth quarter, Gartner said Apple will be aided this year by new deals it's made in Asia and is "already seeing an increased growth in the Japanese market,..." according to Gartner.

Rounding out the top 5 for the year were:

  • Huawei, at 46.6 million units (4.8 percent share, up from 27.2 million units in 2012 and a market share of 4 percent);
  • LG Electronics, at 46.4 million units (4.8 percent share, up from 25.8 million units in 2012 and a market share of 3.8 percent); and
  • Lenovo, at 43.9 million units (4.5 percent share, up from 21.7 million units in 2012 and a market share of 3.2 percent).

According to Gartner, Windows-based smart phones totaled 30.8 million sales in 2013, accounting for 3.2 percent of all smart phones sold. That's up from 16.9 million units in 2012 and a market share of 2.5 percent.

It's also worth noting that in 2013, for the first time ever, smart phones accounted for more than half of all phones shipped.

Complete details can be found in Gartner's end-of-year report "Market Share Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 4Q13 and 2013."

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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