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Global Shifts in the Smartphone Platforms Market

Proving once again that nothing lasts forever in the highly competitive mobile sector, Apple's share in the worldwide smartphone operating system market posted a year-over-year decline during the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13). Meanwhile, Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period.

According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), vendors shipped a total of 236.4 million smartphones in 2Q13 -- that's up 51.3 percent from the 156.2 million units shipped in 2Q12. Second quarter shipments grew 9.3 percent when compared to the 216.3 million units shipped in 1Q13.

"Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple’s market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition," said Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC.

The market continues to evolve. Last quarter Windows Phone shipments surpassing BlackBerry and the trend has continued into the second quarter. Nokia has clearly been the driving force behind the Windows Phone platform. However, as more and more vendors enter the smartphone market using the Android platform, IDC believes that Windows Phone has become a differentiator.


Smartphone Operating System Highlights

Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S4. Not to be overlooked were LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE, which each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions.

Combined, these vendors accounted for 62.5 percent of all Android-powered smartphone shipments during the quarter. Still, the remaining vendors within the Android ecosystem should not be overlooked, as many have developed a strong local presence within key developing markets.

iOS finished the quarter as the clear number 2 operating system, showing that, even without new product launches, demand remains strong. Moreover, Apple added new mobile operators to its camp, boosting short-term volumes and cementing long-term end-user relationships.

What remains to be seen, however, is how the new iOS 7 will be received once it reaches the market later this year, as much of the look and feel of the user interface has been revamped.

Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms, and in the process reinforced its position as the number 3 smartphone operating system. Driving this result was Nokia, which released two new smartphones and grew its presence at multiple mobile operators.

But beyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors, many of which have concentrated on Android. By comparison, Nokia accounted for 81.6 percent of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13.

BlackBerry saw its market share decline during the quarter, reaching levels not seen in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. However, BlackBerry has shown steady progress since the launch of its BB 10 platform, which has grown to three models, additional mobile operators, and a greater presence within its total volumes. It is still early days for the platform, however, and BlackBerry will need time and resources to evangelize more end users.

Linux, with few vendors supporting the open source platform and virtually no global presence, barely scraped together a single percentage point of market share during the quarter. Most vendors have transitioned to Android and those that remain have limited presence within specific markets.

It should be noted that IDC includes Linux-branded shipments in these numbers, and excludes Android-branded shipments. Several other branded variations of Linux, including Firefox, Tizen, and SailFish, are expected to launch later this year, providing a potential boost to volumes and market share.

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