Android, iOS Mobile Devices Dominated in 2012

Android and iOS mobile devices dominated worldwide smartphone shipments during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the most recent numbers out of market research firm IDC. Android smartphone vendors and Apple shipped a total of 207.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 70.2 percent from the 122.0 million units shipped during the fourth quarter of 2011. In all of 2012, Android and iOS combined for 87.6 percent of the 722.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide, up from 68.1 percent of the total market during the 2011 calendar year. What's going on with BlackBerry and Microsoft? We'll take a closer look.

Android and iOS have collectively accounted for more than 50 percent share of the smartphone OS market over the past two years, both ranking in the top two spots. Other competing systems have remained behind in the race.

BlackBerry and Microsoft challenges

BlackBerry and Microsoft both introduced new platforms fairly recently, which marks the first time new platforms have been introduced to the smartphone world in the past several years. Is platform diversity a positive change?

"With the recent introductions of two new smartphone platforms we expect some ground to be made by the new entrants over the coming years," said IDC Mobile Device Tracker Program Manager Ryan Reith in a statement. "There is no question the road ahead is uphill for both Microsoft and BlackBerry, but history shows us consumers are open to change. Platform diversity is something not only the consumers have asked for, but also the operators."

BlackBerry left its operating system vulnerable by taking the last year off, the report suggested. As a result, the operating system's popularity has declined and the company will have to work even harder for customers. Not only will BlackBerry have to keep convince its current users to upgrade, but it will also have to convince users of other platforms to make the switch.

Microsoft's success can be attributed to Nokia's strong commitment to the Windows Phone/Windows Mobile platform, according to the report. Nokia made up 76 percent of all Windows Phone/Windows Mobile smartphone shipments. Other vendors, however, are also supporting the Android platform.

According to a recent Gartner (NYSE: IT) report, Android captured more than 50 percent of the OS market, leaving Apple’s iOS with a smaller percentage of the market. While Android grew 87.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, RIM declined 44.4 percent in the same period.

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