Android Powers 75% of Global SmartPhone Market

(Zack Whittaker IDC) Summary: Research firm IDC says Google-developed Android is now on three-quarters of all smartphones worldwide, while Apple's closed software-hardware ecosystem relegates the platform to a distant second-pace.

Latest figures from research firm IDC shows Google's Android mobile operating system is dominating the mobile market, with the software present on three-quarters of smartphones worldwide in the third quarter.

According to the figures, Android's gain is mostly thanks to the wide range of smartphone manufacturers adopting the software on a bevy of phones. According to comScore figures released today, Samsung retains a strong lead on the mobile OEM market. While Samsung's lead is due to a range of cheap feature phones and low-budget Android-powered smartphones, the company has seen strong success with its Galaxy range of smartphones, in particular the Galaxy S III, which has sold more than 30 million handsets in the three months since it first launched.

Meanwhile, 'underdog' Apple has only 14.9 percent of the mobile market as a result of its closed ecosystem and software exclusivity with the iPhone range.

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By the numbers, Google's Android and Apple's iOS mobile platforms account for just shy of 90 percent of the overall smartphone market worldwide. 

Android shipped on 136 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012, taking in 75 percent of the global smartphone market; a year-over-year change of more than 90 percent. 

In comparison, iOS shipped on 26.9 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2012, taking a 14.9 percent of the global smartphone market, representing a 57 percent increase year-over-year.

Research in Motion's BlackBerry platform remains at third place and accounts for 7.7 percent of the worldwide smartphone market. However its market share continues to fall rapidly by 34 percent on the same quarter a year ago.

RIM faces further dwindling smartphone market share in the run-up to the launch of the next-generation BlackBerry 10 release, aimed for the first quarter of 2013, but some analysts believe the new range of QNX-based smartphones will not launch until the end of the three-month period.

Nokia's now-defunct Symbian platform declined the most in share, according to IDC, by more than 77 percent year-over-year. That said, Symbian's decline comes as a blessing for Nokia as it continues to plug the Windows Phone platform through its 'special relationship' with Microsoft. 

On that note, the biggest gainer of all the platforms is Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. Year-over-year it has seen a 140 percent increase in share on shipments. However, in spite of Nokia and Microsoft's relationship and the ongoing push for Lumia sales to bring up the Windows Phone share, the Microsoft mobile software still comes in fourth-place after Nokia. IDC pegs global shipments of Windows Phone-powered devices at just 3.6 million for the third quarter.

In the coming quarter, it's likely that Symbian's continued decline along with a range of new Windows Phone 8-powered smartphones could switch the third- and fourth-place around and see Windows Phone in fourth place.

Image credit: IDC.