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Why the Android Smartphone Ecosystem is Winning

​There is no dispute about the most accomplished global smartphone ecosystem. Recent market research shows that Google Android accounted for 80 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q2 2013.

The next largest ecosystem, Apple’s iOS, reached its lowest share in three years -- with 13.6 percent of smartphones shipped in Q2, according to the latest market study by ​ABI Research.

The slow race for a distant third place between Windows Phone (3.5 percent) and BlackBerry 10 (1.2 percent) is driven by the efforts of beleaguered companies -- Nokia and BlackBerry.

"When you consider that even the Apple iOS ecosystem has lost share for three consecutive quarters, it is hard to envision a third ecosystem reaching critical mass, especially when its supporting OEMs are in dire straits," said Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Driven by billions of dollars in marketing and research, Nokia has pushed Windows Phone shipments from 6.5 percent shipment share in Q2 2012 to a reduced 6.1 percent share in Q2 2013.

Despite the 77 percent growth in Windows Phone shipments, it is clear that Nokia’s herculean efforts to make Windows Phone the third largest ecosystem in Q2 2013 may turn out to be a lost cause.

The same could be said for BlackBerry’s efforts, as the company considers its strategic alternatives.

The race for a leading smartphone ecosystem requires more than just a good idea; it requires support from mobile network operators, an independent content ecosystem and device OEMs, coupled with a clear market opportunity.

While some new entrants such as Firefox OS, and soon Tizen, are bringing interesting ideas to push mobile computing forward, they face a difficult and expensive road ahead. It's unlikely they will be a threat to Android's market dominance.

"It is evident that the mobile computing market is beginning to mirror the PC computing environment in that Android’s dominant OS share is driving a virtuous cycle that is squeezing the opportunity for competitors to achieve a critical mass of devices," adds ABI senior practice director, Nick Spencer.

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