By Sarah Perez
According to new figures released from analyst firm IDC, Android shipments reached 136 million units in Q3 2012, which accounts for 75% of the 181.1 million shipments during the quarter. Or, as IDC puts it, "the Android operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012."
Of course, remember that we’re looking at shipped figures, not sold here. Still, it’s indicative of the traction Android is having in the worldwide market.
A good part of Android’s recent growth has been influenced by the numbers coming out of Samsung over the past quarter. According to figures several analyst firms released earlier in the week, Samsung now has somewhere around 31%- 35% of smartphone market share. (Specifically, ABI pegged it at 35%, Strategy Analytics at 35.2%, and IDC at 31.3%.) Samsung’s market share actually saw a slight decline due to numerous smaller vendors increasing production, said IDC, but it shipped 56.3 million units thanks to the popularity of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold 26.9 million iPhones during the period, for comparison's sake.
Combined, Android smartphones shipments in Q3 reached a record level of 136 million units, up from 100 million units in the previous quarter. IDC, clearly with a flair for the dramatic in this release, noted that Android’s total volumes in Q3 were greater than the total number of smartphones shipped in 2007, the year that Android was officially announced. ( Feel free to oooh and ahh now.)
iOS came in second place, but was the only other mobile operating system to claim double-digit market share in the quarter with 14.9%. Note, however, that the iPhone 5 was released late in the quarter, and the full impact of its sales aren’t felt yet.
Among the also-rans: BlackBerry’s share fell to just over 4%, and Symbian posted its largest year-over-year decline (-77.3%) to date, reaching a market share of just 2.3%. If there’s any wonder where Android is finding all its new users, well, there you go. In fact, IDC senior analyst Kevin Restivo spells this out for those who didn’t make the correlation, saying that the "share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence. The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions."
Meanwhile, newer player Windows Phone shipped just 3.6 million units worldwide in Q3, fewer than Symbian’s 4.1 million. Its market share is now 2%, just a bit ahead of "Linux’s" 1.5% during Q3. There’s still hope for Windows Phone, however, with the launch of Windows Phone 8.