Android and iOS, the number one and number two ranked smartphone operating systems (OS) worldwide, combined for 92.3 percent of all smartphone shipments during the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13) -- as Windows Phone slowly crept past BlackBerry for third place.
According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), Google Android smartphone vendors and Apple shipped a total of 199.5 million units worldwide during 1Q13, that's up by 59.1 percent from the 125.4 million units shipped during 1Q12.
"Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is the constantly shifting operating system landscape," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC.
Android and iOS accounted for more than the lion's share of smartphones in the first quarter, but a closer examination of the other platforms reveals turnaround and demand for alternatives.
Windows Phone has benefited from Nokia's participation, and BlackBerry's new BB10 devices have already hit a million units shipped in its first quarter of availability.
Top 3 Smartphone Operating System Highlights
Android remains the leader in the smartphone operating system market, increasing its market share despite the seasonality working against the entire smartphone market in the first quarter. Samsung was once again the clear leader among all Android smartphone vendors, commanding 41.1 percent market share.
Following Samsung was a long list of vendors with single-digit market share, and an even longer list of vendors with market share less than one percent. The intra-Android competition has not stifled companies from keeping Android as the cornerstone of their respective smartphone strategies, but has upped the ante to innovate proprietary experiences.
Apple iOS marked its largest ever first quarter volume on the strength of its iPhone shipment volumes, yet the operating system posted a year-over-year decline in market share and lower year-over-year shipment growth than the overall market.
Although demand remains strong worldwide, the iOS experience has remained largely the same since the first iPhone debuted in 2007. That appears ready to change as online rumors and speculation predict a massive overhaul of the user interface when iOS 7 debuts.
Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year gain among the leading operating systems, more than doubling its size from a year ago. Nokia was largely responsible for driving these volumes higher, accounting for 79 percent of all Windows Phone shipments during the quarter.
Since Nokia began shipping Windows Phone devices, the company has shipped a total of 20.3 million units and grown the footprint worldwide to include address multiple market segments.
Meanwhile, other vendors continue to offer Windows Phone devices, but mainly as an alternative to their signature Android devices. Still, the gains made by Windows Phone demonstrate both end-user demand and OEM support.