The smartphone market is quickly boiling down into a two-party system, so to speak, with both iOS and Android picking up a whopping 92% of smartphone shipments over the last quarter of 2012. In 2011, 32% of smartphone shipments consisted of other operating systems, like Windows Phone, RIM’s Blackberry, or Symbian. But in the last year that number has shrunk, to the point where only 7% of smartphones shipping are not iOS or Android, and it seems unlikely to rise again.
In the same time period, about 20% of smartphones shipped were iOS devices, as compared to 70% of devices shipped being Android. That may make it seem like Apple is losing a lot of market share, to Google’s operating system. And that may be true, but let’s not forget why: not only do Android phones tend to be cheaper (which means device makers can make and sell more), but there are also dozens of Android devices available from nearly as many companies, as opposed to Apple’s relatively small (and, of course, exclusive) product line. As a platform, Android is shipping more smartphones than Apple is. But comparing the two isn’t necessarily the best comparison, especially as a factor of Apple’s success in the smartphone market.
Regardless, this report shows that the smartphone market in general is more mature than ever: there are currently two big players in terms of smartphone operating systems, and it’s going to be harder and harder for anyone else to gain a foothold in the future.