Smartphone numbers pass 1bn mark worldwide – IDC

13 Feb 2014

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For the first time, the number of smartphones being used in the world has passed the 1bn mark, newly released figures suggest.

The report released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the world’s leading operating system (OS) for smartphones is Android by a considerable margin, with 78.6pc of all sales being Android devices, compared with 15.2pc for iOS and 3.3pc for Windows Phone.

This domination by Android devices can largely be attributed to Android’s access to the cheaper smartphone market which has become increasingly popular with the growth in numbers of smartphones in developing countries.

For Apple, the comparison figures with the full-year of 2012 show the company’s small decline over the period, having previously had 18.7pc of the marketshare in 2012.

Android, meanwhile, showed a significant increase in marketshare occurred in the space of one year as 2013’s figure had risen by nearly 10pc from its 2012 figure of 69pc.

In terms of popular handsets, should Lenovo's bid to acquire Motorola Mobility be realised, the new company will leap ahead of Huawei, which was the No 2 Android vendor in 2013.

Despite what was perceived as a slow uptake, Windows Phone shipped almost double its 2012 numbers, shipping 33.4m devices, making up 3.3pc of the market, up from 17.5m units and 2.4pc of the market in 2012.

Decline for BlackBerry

BlackBerry and other smartphone-makers have been hit hard.

The last few years have been tough on BlackBerry, as its attempts to break into the already competitive smartphone market did not turn out as planned. The company saw a 40.9pc drop in units sold, selling 19.2m devices.

Ramon Llamas is research manager with IDC's mobile division and he sees the variety of price options for Android gave it the leading edge over competitors.

“What stands out are the different routes Android and Apple took to meet this demand. Android relied on its long list of OEM partners, a broad and deep collection of devices, and price points that appealed to nearly every market segment.

“Apple's iOS, on the other hand, relied on nearly the opposite approach: a limited selection of Apple-only devices, whose prices trended higher than most. Despite these differences, both platforms found a warm reception to their respective user experiences and selection of mobile applications."

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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