Android Tightens Grip On Smartphone Market In 2013

Android in the fourth quarter, and during 2103 overall, extended its dominance among smartphone platforms worldwide. The Google mobile operating system accounted for 78.1% of smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter, up from 70.3% a year ago.

For all of last year, it had 78.6% share, according to IDC.

Apple’s iOS was a distant second, at 17.6% for the quarter and 15.2% for 2013. But the two top systems between them accounted for 95.7% of smartphone shipments in Q4, and 93.8% for the year. Windows Phone claimed only 3% share—but a gain from 2.6% a year ago. Fast-fading BlackBerry had just 0.6% in the quarter, with a meager 1.7 million phones shipped.

The IDC report pointed out that Android relies on a long list of device manufacturing partners, including Samsung, HTC and LG among others, while iOS has just the iPhone. “Despite these differences, both platforms found a warm reception to their respective user experiences and selection of mobile applications,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst covering the mobile phone market at IDC, in the release. 



Still, Apple saw its market contract further last year, with iOS’ share in Q4 shrinking by more than three percentage points for the fourth quarter and during all of 2013. Besides the sheer number of phone models running Android, the lower cost of some models has given the platform another edge in smartphone sales.

IDC noted shipments of smartphones priced under $200 increased to 42.6% last year. To meet the demand for more affordable handsets, Samsung has introduced models in its Galaxy line of devices, priced much lower than the S4 and Note 3, the research firm said. Apple tried going that route with the iPhone 5C, but it hasn’t proven nearly as big a seller as the flagship 5S.

Given its small base, Microsoft’s Windows Phone system saw the biggest growth, with smartphone shipments up 46.7% in the fourth quarter to 8.8 million, and 90.9% to 33.4 million for the year. It’s moved ahead of BlackBerry to become the clear No. 3 in the market, but still well behind iOS and Android. 

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