Mobile | Research

Google Extends Android's Lead by 20 Points, but Not at Apple's Expense

Google further solidified the lead of its Android mobile operating system in the last quarter of 2012. Android's worldwide market share jumped nearly 20 points, while its chief rival, Apple's iOS, remained essentially flat. Both platforms saw significant increases in total units shipped.

According to research released last week by Strategy Analytics, smart phone shipments overall grew 38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter in 2011, reaching 217 million units. In that time, shipments of Android-based smart phones grew 88.7 percent to reach 152.1 million units. That caused Android's market share to grow nearly 20 percentage points, from 51 percent in Q4 2011 to 70 percent in Q4 2012.

Meanwhile, Android's prime competitor, Apple's iOS, also saw significant growth during the period. Shipments of iOS devices grew from 37 million units in Q4 2011 to 47.8 million in Q4 2012. Its market share was essentially flat for the quarter and the year. iOS had a 23.6 percent share in Q4 2011, which slipped slightly to 22 percent in Q4 2012, according to data released by Strategy Analytics.

For the fourth quarter, all "others" declined from a 25.1 percent share in Q4 2011 to 7.9 percent in Q4 2012.

For the year, total smart phone shipments hit 700.1 million units, up about 42.7 percent from 2011. For the 12-month period, Android's market share rose from 48.7 percent to 68.4 percent. iOS stood on its tip-toes to reach 19.4 percent in Q4 2012 compared with 19 percent in Q4 2011.

In a separate report, Strategy Analytics reported that Apple became the largest phone vendor in the United States in the fourth quarter, with a 34 percent market share. It was the first time, according to the firm, that Apple took the No. 1 position among all phone vendors. The company edged out long-time rival Samsung to take the lead.

"Samsung shipped 16.8 million mobile phones in the United States, for 32 percent share, during Q4 2012. This was a good performance from Samsung, as its market share rose 5 points from 27 percent a year earlier, but it was not enough to hold off a surging Apple," according to Strategy Analytics. "Samsung had been the number one mobile phone vendor in the US since 2008, and it will surely be keen to recapture that title in 2013 by launching improved new models such as the rumored Galaxy S4."

Additional details about the report can be found on Strategy Analytics' site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .